Nourish Your Soul

Have you grown weary of the pandemic? It’s going on and on and on. Dirty politics is everywhere. And bad people, angry people are showing their ugly everywhere. People suffering injustices and hatred are trying to make their voices heard—everywhere. How do you hang on in such trying times? You nourish your soul a little or a lot every-single-day.

Outline of a person's head with a radiance around it from he sun shining over a forest in the background perhaps it looks something like this when you nourish your soul

Society tells us that women suffer the emotional arrows of life more acutely. But your gender or the gender you choose, the color of your skin, your religious or ethnic or cultural lives—none of that means you don’t suffer. We are all hurting one way or another. Please read these quotes with your own pronouns of choice, your own gender, your own self in mind. I hope this collection of quotes can help nourish your soul a little today.

No Matter How Dark it Seems

There is some good in this world, and it’s worth fighting for.

J. R. R. Tolkien

A lesson for all of us is that for every loss, there is victory, for every sadness, there is joy, and when you think you’ve lost everything, there is hope.

Geraldine Solon

You Can’t Control it All

You may not control all the events that happen to you, but you can decide not to be reduced by them.

Maya Angelou, Letter to My Daughter

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

Henry Ford

See the Good

image of wisteria flowers in the foreground with a bridge over a creek in the background.

Lighten up on yourself. No one is perfect. Gently accept your humanness.

Deborah Day

You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.

Buddha

If only you could sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person. 

Fred Rogers

The very least you can do in your life is figure out what you hope for. And the most you can do is live inside that hope. Not admire it from a distance, but live right in it, under its roof.

Barbara Kingsolver

What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

Make Time for Self-Care

Keep taking time for yourself until you are you again.

Lalah Delia

There are days I drop words of comfort on myself like falling leaves and remember that it is enough to be taken care of by myself. 

Brian Andreas

Self-care is never a selfish act—it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others.

Parker Palmer

As the quotes have said, self-care isn’t selfish.  Self-care can be a ritual or any of 21 ways to be kind to yourself.

Remember Hope

image of a rainbow in a blue sky with white clouds--a symbol of hope to nourish your soul

Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness.

Desmond Tutu

Hope is important because it can make the present moment less difficult to bear. If we believe that tomorrow will be better, we can bear a hardship today. 

Thich Nhat Hanh

Just as despair can come to one only from other human beings, hope, too, can be given to one only by other human beings.

Elie Weisel

Nourish Your Soul

Food for the body is not enough. There must be food for the soul.

Dorothy Day

Don’t ask yourself what the world needs, ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.

Howard Washington Thurman

When you recover or discover something that nourishes your soul and brings joy, care enough about yourself to make room for it in your life.

Jean Shinoda Bolen

Remember Love

Love is the capacity to take care, to protect, to nourish. Thich Nhat Hanh

It seems simplistic. And maybe it is. But when the situation becomes too much love yourself enough to nourish your soul. Do it every day, but especially during when life is hard. Make room for those activities that feed your soul. That self-nourishment will get you through whatever difficulties you face. 

Pearls of Wisdom From Science Fiction

No matter what we experience in life there is always someone who has shared a pearl of wisdom that we can apply. The same is true of our pandemic life today. Here are some pearls of wisdom from science fiction books and authors. 

A space shot of sunrise over the blue planet is in it's own way is one of the pearls of wisdom for pandemic life

Beware

At war

Or at peace,

More people die

Of unenlightened self-interest

Than of any other disease”

― Octavia Butler

Nobody dares to solve the problems-because the solution might contradict your philosophy, and for most people clinging to beliefs is more important than succeeding in the world.

― Michael Crichton, State of Fear

The monsters don’t live in the belly of the world like they all say. The monsters live inside of us. We make the monsters.

 Kameron Hurley, The Stars are Legion 

All governments suffer a recurring problem: Power attracts pathological personalities. It is not that power corrupts but that it is magnetic to the corruptible.

― Frank Herbert, Chapterhouse: Dune

Arrogance and Conceit are the mother and father of a closed mind.

Richard Nance, “Journey of the Chosen”

Just as every villain imagines themselves a hero, few heroes see when they’ve become the villain.

― Nicholas Tana

Fire is catching!” I am shouting now, determined he will not miss a word of it, “And if we burnyou burn with us!

Suzanne Collins, Mockingjay

Never let your sense of morals prevent you from doing what is right.

Isaac Asimov, Foundation

We need not to be let alone. We need to be really bothered once in a while. How long is it since you were really bothered? About something important, about something real,

Ray Bradbury, Fahrenheit 451

I, for one, bet on science as helping us. I have yet to see how it fundamentally endangers us, even with the H-bomb lurking about. Science has given us more lives than it has taken; we must remember that.

—Philip K. Dick, The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick: Selected Literary and Philosophical Writings

You have attributed conditions to villainy that simply result from stupidity.

Robert A. Heinlein, The Green Hills of Earth

 “If you think this Universe is bad, you should see some of the others.”

Philip K. Dick

Now it’s your turn. Have you found a quote or quotes that give you some guidance or encouragement in this time? They don’t have to be science fiction pearls of wisdom for pandemic life. Add your quotes below. Let’s string a necklace of wisdom.

May the Fourth Be With You

It’s May 4th and if you didn’t know, it’s the unofficial Star Wars holiday. Obviously, May the Fourth be with you is an interpretation of the Jedi slogan, May the Force be with You. But during this pandemic it has more meaning than ever.

Image of Yoda in a Star Wars tribute made of sand, a May the Fourth be with you salute

Star Wars may be escape fiction / movies, but that doesn’t negate the meanings within the story. Finding a purpose, friendship, banding together to overcome an adversary are themes in the Star Wars movies. The journey young Skywalker takes is about learning to be a hero. If you look, that’s what you see happening during this pandemic.

What Is a Hero

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary 

a hero is: 

a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities

a person who is greatly admired

the chief male character in a story, play, movie, etc.

So a hero is someone you admire. You get to choose your heroes and heroines.

A color sketch of Princess Leia, May the Fourth be with you

Who Are the Heroes?

First responders and healthcare workers (more than just doctors and nurses but aides and secretaries and housekeeping and food services for just a few) have had their day jobs transform into a mighty and heroic battle against a common enemy.

Every day folk (grocery store employees, delivery folk, folks in the food industry, and so many more) have also become heroes. But so have the thousands who have stayed home to help flatten the curve. Even if staying home wasn’t your choice, you did it. Thank you.

Don’t Call Me Hero

I know there are many who object to being called a hero. They seem to think the word loses its meaning by being tossed around a lot these days. They feel that too many people say the words and think that’s enough. I understand, they lack proper equipment and are “just doing their job.” But they remain heroes because they do their job or choose to stay home regardless of their fear. And the choice to call someone a hero is made by the person who does the admiring. So get comfortable with the word. You are admired. You are a hero.

May the Force Be With You

No matter what you are doing, or not doing, may the fourth be with you. May you band together in deeper friendships with all people, find a purpose, and find the courage to do what is right. And enjoy the reruns of any and all Star Wars entertainment. May the Fourth Be With You. And May the Force Be with You always.

A History Lesson for Pandemic Life

There is a history lesson for pandemic life near the end of World War I. People wanted to celebrate. But peace wasn’t the only thing in the air. The so-called Spanish Influenza of 1918-1919 killed many tens of thousands of people across the globe. Many of whom died because they went to a parade or a party celebrating the end of the war.

Image of emergency hospital during Spanish Flu epidemic, a history lesson for Pandemic Life
By Otis Historical Archives, National Museum of Health and Medicine – Emergency hospital during influenza epidemic Camp Funston, Kansas
(NCP 1603), National Museum of Health and Medicine
Public Domain

First Cases

It’s unknown where this influenza began its journey. The war raged on. Opposing sides didn’t share information.

In the fall of 1918, Spain reported they had a health crisis. That’s why the name Spanish Influenza came into use. Lucky Spain. But Spain isn’t where the virus started.

Some research suggested it may have started in the spring of 1981. In Kansas.

But no one knows for certain. Rumor and speculation filled in the blanks. The allies thought Germans released it as germ warfare. Others thought mustard gas had caused the flu. Still others believed the flu started in the trenches.

In a time when young men joined the armed forces, went to boot camp, then went overseas… the globe quickly saw the effects of the Spanish Flu. According to one source, half the U.S. servicemen who died during the war died of influenza. Not war wounds.

1918 Death Toll 

“The effect of the influenza epidemic was so severe that the average life span in the US was depressed by 10 years.”

Molly Billings

Different sources cite anywhere from 20 to 100 million people. Why is it so difficult to know how many died?

No surprise. Everyone focused on the war. Few paid attention to the flu. 

Out of necessity, medical science focused on the treatment and healing of war wounds. The fields of virology (the study of viruses) and epidemiology were relatively new and untested.

It ravaged the military camps in March and April of 1918. Very little containment or even acknowledgment of the virus happened. So the flu accompanied soldiers from all nations as they returned home. Then in the fall, Armistice celebrations brought thousands of people together to celebrate.

Those who do not remember the past are condemned to repeat it.

George Santayana

A Tale of Two Cities

Philadelphia held a parade to welcome their soldiers home. Over 200,000 people lined the streets to shout and wave. Three days later every bed in Philadelphia’s 31 hospitals held those sick with and dying from the Spanish flu. 

By the end of the week, more than 4,500 died.

By the time the city’s leaders closed the city, it was too late.

St. Louis, 900 miles away, reacted differently. Within two days of the first cases detected in St. Louis, the city started what is now we now call Social Distancing. The city closed schools, playgrounds, libraries, courtrooms, and even churches. They staggered work shifts and strictly limited streetcar ridership. Public gatherings of more than 20 people were banned.

The per capita flu-related deaths in St. Louis was less than half of those in Philadelphia.

Sign in a 1918 Navy Yard reads Spanish Influenza has endangered the prosecution of War in Europe There are 1500 cases in the Navy Yard 30 deaths have already resulted Spitting Spreads Spanish Influenza. Don't spit. A history lesson for pandemic life
U.S. Navy / Public domain

Social Distancing

Social distancing helps slow the spread of the disease. Slowing the spread of the disease keeps the hospitals and healthcare workers from being overwhelmed with patients. It buys time so that the healthcare system can treat the flood of patients and for researchers to develop vaccines and anti-viral therapies.

But the timing of when social distancing starts is critical. Philadelphia responded too late.

Social distancing must continue long enough to slow the spread of the virus enough. How long is that? I’m sorry to say that it depends on too many variables to predict.

Today

There is more than one history lesson for Pandemic life in the story of the Spanish Influenza. The National Library of Medicine has an excellent article and so does Stanford U. I am grateful for the science learned from previous tragedies. One of those lessons is that pandemics will happen. We need to learn from each pandemic and improve our responses. Wear masks. Wash your hands. Stay home. And be thankful and kind to one another and to our essential workers.

A Bump in the Road of Pandemic Life

Ugh. I hate it when a plan goes splat. I thought I had figured out this Pandemic Life. After all, self-quarantine wasn’t much different from my everyday life as an author. Oops. The road may look straight, but a bump in the road can make life difficult. Somehow Tuesday was my day to hit that bump. Everything turned upside down. No, nothing bad happened. I tripped over a lot of small frustrations.

LIke this image of a long straight road with a lot of bumps, A bump in the road of Pandemic life can leave you uncertain or worse.

A Bump in the Road

Tuesday was supposed to be productive. I have been writing and making progress on my novel. Not huge amounts, but 2-4 pages a day. I planned for 2 pages today. 

I hadn’t researched my blog post yet, but I’ve gotten my method down pat. It wouldn’t be a problem.

My monthly newsletter was scheduled for release on Tuesday. I wrote it a few days ago. It needed proofreading and images and it would be good to go.

And to prepare for new book cover designs, I’m redesigning the logo for my imprint, Rocket Dog Publishing. The image only needed a final tweak, and I could send it to my designer.

It All Went South

like this detour sign, A bump in the road of pandemic life means you're changing direction.

I’m not sure when things went south. Was it when I cut more words out of the WIP than I wrote?

Perhaps it was while I made the final change to the logo. The Photoshop layer went weird and I COULD NOT figure out what I did wrong.

Maybe it was when I wrote a 1,000 word long blog post about something not on my plan. And it wasn’t appropriate for my blog. What was I thinking?

Then there was dinner, a stovetop one pot meal. Easy peasy. Except I started it one hour later than I should have. And it heated up the house.

We had a very warm day outside today. Eighty degrees. Lovely blue skies. Lots of pollen in the air and a husband who’s allergic to every kind of pollen there is means no opening of windows. Time to turn on the AC. With the stove in high gear, the house grew inordinately warm. You guessed it, the air conditioner is on the fritz.

And when my husband said something without thinking, I got angry. Really angry. I replied in anger. I didn’t say anything that wasn’t true, but my tone was—um—not nice.

Time To ReGroup

Just like this slow down sign along a road, A bump in the road of pandemic life means slow down, regroup

Why am I sharing this with you? Not for your pity. Seriously, minor frustrations that add up to an outburst rarely rates a blog post. Except we’re in the midst of a pandemic. It’s changed all our lives. And if you’re like me, you think you’re handling things extraordinarily well. Until you aren’t.

Today was a small warning. I could keep pushing. Keep trying to get everything done. But that wouldn’t be wise.

There are stages you go through when dealing with a life-changing crisis. You can read about the different stages in a post written by a guy who’s seen many life-changing crises.

I had taken care of our security (first stage). We have shelter and food. And enough TP for now. *Smile*

Mentally, I’d given myself time to adjust. I accepted the fact that we had to change the way we did things. Made a plan. And it was working.

I knew I had to slow down. And I did. But I forged forward, forgetting to give myself more frequent breaks. Didn’t  allow for the mental disruption to continue longer than a week or two. And it surprised me when I hit more than one bump in the road of pandemic life.

Adjusting to a Crisis

Adjusting to a crisis takes time. And it isn’t linear. You’ll be fine this week. And not so fine next. Everyone’s adjustment period is different. But we all need to allow ourselves to have those disruptions. Forgive ourselves for not living our “normal.” For not being as productive as we expect ourselves to be.

There will be days when minor frustrations magnify. Heck, there are major frustrations too. They would bother us if there wasn’t a pandemic going on. With a pandemic? Sometimes those bumps magnify into mountains.

When you hit a bump in the road of pandemic life, give yourself a break. Step back. Recognize your stress levels. Look in your mental health first aid kit and use the tools you have there.

Take a Break

image of girl lying on a bed, relaxing
Vacation in self-quarantine

So, this is me. Taking a break. Stepping out of my plan, out of my comfort zone and sharing this with you. I hope that by sharing this, you’ll realize it’s time to take a break a little more quickly than I did. That you’ll forgive yourself and allow yourself time to recover when you hit a bump in the road of your pandemic life. Have you hit that bump yet? What did you do to cope?