by Sheena Brown
I’m just going to say it, things are weird. Things are so weird. Life feels more like an over-plotted film than real life. Every day brings more information – changing information, misinformation, and sadly, more dissention on what is right and for whom. It’s exhausting, mentally, emotionally and physically. There are only so many cat videos on the internet, people, and certainly not enough to distract from this dissonance.
How a straight-up public health crisis turned into something that managed to divide us along political party lines, through friendships, and even families is baffling. At the heart of it, as strong as we are all trying to be it seems we all really want the same thing – a break.
The world is shifting. No amount of our Appalachian affinity for pretending it away is going to do the job. But longing for a break need not break us apart. The world is loud, especially now. Everywhere you look or lean there are voices with something to say. Some offer statistics and science, some opinions and absurdities. Some are voices chanting the same sentiment they have been trying to get rightfully heard for hundreds of years.
What is your voice saying? In times like these, it’s hard to know. We can find articles or sound bites to support any position. We can be convinced by friends or by fear to make choices out of alignment with our true selves. In this moment, the importance of finding your center and grounding yourself – in yourself – makes a bigger difference than you imagine.
So rather than summer survival, let’s talk sanity survival.
- Breathe – “Smell the flowers, blow out the candles.” This is a mantra I use with my son, which works just as well for adults. The power of three deep breaths is severely underrated.
- Listen – We all have things to learn. To quote my late grandmother, “We don’t know all there is to be knowed.” And we don’t. Listening helps. That doesn’t mean we have to agree but being open to actually listening to others is huge.
- Let go – That doesn’t mean give up or give in. Just let go. Sometimes we try to control more than we are able to and that should be our cue to step back and release. Letting go feels like the opposite of progress, but it frees up time and energy to work on the things that we can.
- Be kind – There are moments and situations that call for outcry. Some require firmness and boundaries, but most of the time there is room for kindness – toward others and ourselves. We may not agree, we may feel inflamed by each other, but we can make the choice to be kind.
So, in this historical moment which feels more like a buffet of struggles than the picnics we hoped to have, I invite you to choose connection over division. We are built for connection, even though the current uncertainty makes it even harder to swallow. These things seem small in print, but small is not insignificant.
Want to learn more about these techniques, or anything really? Your local public library can help. Stop in during open hours, or check out crcpl.org to utilize our new free Book Match service. You tell us what you’d like to learn or read and we’ll do the rest.
Sheena Brown is a Public Services Clerk for Chillicothe & Ross County Public Library.