Hello February

Hello February

Hello February!

And where exactly did January go to? I know life in many ways is still very limited due to the COVID pandemic, particularly in states like WA, but it feels like time is still flying by even as lockdowns continue.

I always look forward to February. First it is a short and sweet month — four perfect weeks made up of 28 days. When Leap Year falls every four years it is also quite unusual. February also bridges the seasons between winter and early spring. Once March rolls around we know we are going to have longer days, bulbs blooming, and some warmer days. So, February is that short bridge to early spring. Ah!

And then there is the sweetness that comes from chocolates, flowers, and Valentine cards. Do you celebrate? Granted this is often noted as a “Hallmark Holiday,” but I love to show my family and friends how much I love them with special cards and candies. I make sure to have fresh flowers on hand and chocolate of all types for a sweet treat here and there. I know it can often feel bittersweet if we are single or recently broken up with, but I believe there is still the opportunity to spread and receive all types of love if we put ourselves in the space of love — just love.

Finally, this is a month to learn as we celebrate Black History Month. And all of us have so much to learn about black history that is rich and enlightening to the historical context of our nation and how the past history is shedding light and perspective on today. This is the perfect month to pick up a book on a black historical figure or event and to grow in understanding. And don’t stop there with your own understanding. Seek to pass along what you learn to your family and friends – perhaps have a group of your friends and family commit to learning about black history and at the end of the month hold a Zoom discussion to learn from one another.

February is whisked in after the very first month of the year has taken its bow. It’s up to each one of us to make the most of the next 28 days that are ours to spend in many different ways. Here’s to learning, love, and hopping the bridge to early spring.

Happy New Year

Happy New Year

Happy New Year! How did it feel for you to turn the calendar from 2020 to 2021?

Most people I know felt a whole lot of relief and happiness as they saw the end of 2020 – a year that was full if unexpected challenged from public health to job insecurity to financial hardship to isolation and more. Even worse? It was all unexpected — a complete shock to ourselves as things unfolded and then dragged on and on — still actually dragging.

However, there was hope in turning the calendar a few days ago. We did end 2020 with seeing our healthcare workers getting vaccinated. Wow! Our US healthcare system may soon be completely secured from the pandemic. That is definitely hopeful — and we all know that we will have out turn sometime in the New Year.

With the vaccine there is also the hope that our lives will resume to normality — but I am left to wonder will it be a new normal? The pandemic has gone on long enough that people are making new habits, living their lives along different rhythms, and orientating meaning in a different way. Dare I say it almost feels like a return to olden day ways. We are at home most of the time, cooking our own food, spending time with our family constantly – not just quality time – discerning who we really want to share time with via Zoom, engaging with our children on a deeper level, and more. Life has shifted and it’s not all been bad — the break from our break-neck, fast-paced lives has provided us with a different way to live our lives.

How often do we get such a reset in our modern day?

Having had the reset, what will you keep and what will you discard when we are all vaccinated and life is ready to return to “normal?”

As we enter 2021, I am hoping a new normal takes hold that honors the best of who we found ourselves to be in 2020 under extraordinary circumstances and also allows us to bring these parts of ourselves to our lives as we resume normality.

Here’s to it!

Dear Therapist: August Already?

August already

Dear Therapist,

Even though we are in the midst of a pandemic, I feel like the year is moving by fast. Like wicked quick! It’s strange because none of this year feels like how an actual year feels, but what are some ways to enjoy August even as life and the end-of-summer rituals are almost non-existent at this point?

Sincerely, Pining for End of Summer Normal

Wow! August already. I agree — it’s been a strange summer, but that didn’t keep it from flying right on by. Seems no matter what the circumstances summer is a fleeting season of the year.

For me, August stirs up a late summer vacation, getting ready for school with shopping and all of the paperwork, and taking advantage of the last of the long, hot days before Autumn’s familiar routines settle us into the end-of-year.

My guess is there may be a lot of disappointment on all of these fronts this August. Parents and children may be preparing for the school year, but it is one that continues at home for most without the regular routines, activities, social interactions, and more. It’s just the family together continuing on – tough. Grieving what is lost for all of you is very important, while at the same time imagining new routines and ways of being in this together that is unique and offers some thing to look forward to this month.

Those late summer vacations have been seriously curtailed this year, but how about some day trips or local weekend getaways? At this point, any time away taking in life from a new vista is refreshing. Surely there is a park, beach, or hiking path nearby that will serve as a late summer refresher for you and yours. Making time to get away is important to mark summer’s end.

We may not be able to be with loads of people, but we can grill out, take long evening strolls, harvest the garden we may have planted, head to an ice cream shop, and other simple summer pleasures that keep a sense of time during this late summer.

Even with life upside down, the yearning for those traditions that mark this time of year is important. Keeping this in mind and getting creative about how you will do this will not disappoint.

August will come around again – hopefully, by then, we will find life’s normal pace has returned. Until then, hold on to the memories of past summers and create something new too.

Now is the Moment: Seize it!

It’s the month where we look toward January first and the New Year to turn a new leaf over on life with our new year resolutions. It makes sense, I suppose. January ushers in a whole new calendar year to try and “get it right” all over again.

Statistics and experts also tell us each new year that within three weeks we will be back to our old ways. Although our intentions are astounding, our follow-through often goes astray very quickly. I have always been puzzled by this as I am also one who succumbs to letting go of my own resolutions to better myself.

That’s why I don’t wait any longer for the new year to roll around. Instead, if there is something I want to change or add or delete about my life, I seize the moment and start right then and there.

No more waiting. Not even as this crazy holiday season is ushered in — now is the time.

If you think about it, now is really all any of us have in our lives. The past is past and we are not guaranteed the new year. This moment is the one that is most precious because it is the one we are in just at this moment.

So, my thought as December says, “Hello” to you and to me – is to begin whatever you want to begin today.

Right now.