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Still Healthy, Still Grateful

I discovered a new dynamic to life. I caught myself trying to plan ahead and control the dynamic of a season that allows for no such thing. I found that I had forgotten how to be still.

Today’s entry comes from Alex Mărgău.

After two weeks of working from home with one to eight more weeks to go, I have probably gone through the five stages of grief as applied to a season of pandemic. I’ve felt tired, frustrated, bored, sad and finally at peace. I am sure many people can relate. 

However, I also discovered a new dynamic to life. I caught myself trying to plan ahead and control the dynamic of a season that allows for no such thing. I found that I had forgotten how to be still.

I gained a newfound sense of closeness to my family despite being hundreds of kilometres apart from each other. 

I drank copious amounts of coffee and rediscovered the joy of reading books, reducing my ‘To Be Read’ pile by a small fraction.

Despite the fact that I believe in a structured life, in planning ahead your week, sometimes — actually, most times — I find myself looking forward to the uncertain and its challenges. I think of the biblical figure of Abraham whom God simply told to pack up his things and go, with no indication as to which way, for how long, or to what end. I think of the answer he gave: Here I am

I meditate on what a work colleague taught me a few days ago while talking on the phone, an Italian saying darsi una calmata, translated as ‘to calm down.’ The verb is a reflexive verb, roughly translated as ‘giving oneself a calm.’ One should give himself/herself a calm, one should calm oneself. 

I like the idea of becoming introspective and not relying on other people for your heart to be still. It means that no human can bring from the outside of me something I do not already have lying inside. It means I cannot practice gratitude unless I am already grateful, even if still unaware of it. 

This is my main exercise now, to practice gratitude.  

I am still healthy, still employed, still grateful. 

I think of my father who is an ‘essential worker,’ caring for the poultry of the company he is employed with, making sure there is a supply of eggs and chicken meat. He and people like him are my idea of heroes. He was always my idea of a ‘super man,’ someone who knows how to do so many things and who always does what is needed without complaint. 

I think of friends who lost their job and I try to be present. 

I think of the planet’s ecosystems that are regenerating in the midst of chaos. 

Last but not least, I think of the difference between religion and spirituality as expressed in an image circulating all over the internet: “Religion is a guy in church thinking about fishing. Spirituality is a guy out fishing thinking about God.”

We may not be able to be ‘out fishing’ but we can still meditate on the things that matter and practice gratitude.

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