It’s a Sunday today, and I am busy.  I’m working, even though I really try hard not to work on weekends. All I see for the month of January is endless Zoom meetings, and I’m trying to get some paperwork done before I don’t have any time to do it.  I sat at my desk, looking at my to-do list and trying to decide what to tackle first. I decided instead to procrastinate just a few minutes longer and open an email.  It contained this quote from Rumi:

What in your life is calling you, when all the noise is silenced,
the meetings adjourned… the lists laid aside,
and the wild iris blooms by itself in the dark forest…
what still pulls on your soul?

It made me stop, for just a second, and quiet my mind. It’s been far too easy this past year to lose sight of what is truly meaningful in life. We have all struggled way more than usual to stay focused, productive, sane, even upright. Those of us who are lucky enough to still be working, have attended to our work from the comfort, or craziness, or loneliness of our own homes. It’s been a slippery slope into survival mode.  At the same time, we’ve all been trying through a kind of fruitless alchemy to re-create the usual boundaries and rituals that we associate with work, family, friends, and play.

It hasn’t been easy for anyone. Many have suffered tremendous loss. For many of us, it’s a lot of little losses that have added up through the year. I tackled the first few months of the pandemic through sheer willpower. Although there finally does seem to be a light at the end of the tunnel, I now get to learn what it really means when willpower doesn’t work so well anymore.

Exhaustion from chronic stress can lead to all kinds of strange behaviours. Poor judgement, little patience, or trying desperately to connect with others through conflict instead of love, are just a few. When you find yourself devolving into old habits, remember that now it’s about resilience, perspective, the courage to keep going and even excel when we just don’t feel like it. These are the qualities that will get us through until we can connect with others again in all the ways we miss.

I hope you will take some time this month, the first month of a new year, to quiet your mind. Remember the small things that truly move you, and take comfort in them.