In this October Blog, I feel strongly it is important to speak out and honor our collective struggles and honor courage in facing the unprecedented challenges of this 2020 year of pandemic.
Initially, I had a very different message in mind … something like Fierce Focus, with an eye to closing the year strong. Honoring Courage is the message that sang to my heart. May it uplift and inspire you – and support you in moving forward.
Our focus in this newsletter is on courage -- acts of courage to face our fears and move forward in the midst of uncertainty and during what can appear, at times, to be a chaotic landscape.
I want to start with a solemn prayer and tribute to the 211,844 people in the USA and the 1,056,493 people worldwide who passed over this year after a struggle with COVID 19. (Data from Johns Hopkin’s University as of October 8th.) This is a personal and universally shared tragedy. I mourn with you and your family and friends.
I am writing to pay tribute to all families and friends who have lost loved ones this year – for whatever cause. Some people could not be at the bedside with their loved ones in their hours of need. For everyone, funerals, the grieving and bereavement process were a terrible trial. Our connection and our ability to share strength with hugs – has been taken away – for the time being.
I am dedicating this Blog to everyone on the front lines of this global COVID 19 pandemic for your acts of service, your acts of love: doctors, nurses, hospital staff, EMS, FEMA, people working in grocery stores, restaurants who stayed open for take-out meals, teachers and students adapting to remote learning and now returning to school, our nonprofits such as United Way, Salvation Army, volunteers at food pantries, firefighters, police officers and the public policy leaders -- and the list goes on and on. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Your acts of service, your acts of courage are, indeed, acts of love.
This year the 2020 Profile in Courage Award will be dedicated to coronavirus frontline workers. As Caroline Kennedy said in an interview, “What happened this year is we realized that we were seeing courage all around us in the extraordinary demonstrations of people putting their own lives at risk to help the rest of us stay safe and healthy.” Nominations closed in August and the winners will be announced later this fall.
Now, pause for a moment and reflect on the specific personal of acts of courage and love -- by loved ones who have passed, by people who are serving on the frontlines, and by ourselves. Please take time to honor yourself -- your fortitude, perseverance, persistence -- your courage. Often we honor others. Let us make the time to equally honor ourselves.
Let us honor our struggle. Let us honor courage. Let us honor love.
As I switched gears to craft this Blog – it is not a coincidence that my early morning meditation was with Deepak Chopra, Lesson 12 in the “Path to Empowerment,” where he intones, “The power of curiosity is what dives our spiritual awakening.” Chopra goes on to write, “The impulse to discover and explore is how we change doubt and the fear of the unknown into joy, freedom and appreciation.”
Honoring courage is the other side of the coin of facing our doubts and fears.
So how do we shift our thinking? For me, meditation everyday in the morning and evening. For others, perhaps music or dance. For some friends, poetry is the doorway.
I offer a poem by Mary Oliver as inspiration to those of us who carry on. May it light a candle in your heart -- in all our hearts.
Allow me to share how I read this poem, "When Death Comes."
I read this as a poem which honors our loved ones who have passed – this poem has been read as a eulogy at funeral services.
I read this as a poem which honors everyone on the front lines during this pandemic.
And most importantly, I read this poem -- out loud to myself – to inspire us all to honor courage, to live and love with no regrets, and to welcome with curiosity, the next adventure.
When Death Comes
“When death comes
like the hungry bear in autumn;
when death comes and takes all the bright coins from his purse
to buy me, and snaps the purse shut;
when death comes
like the measle-pox
when death comes
like an iceberg between the shoulder blades,
I want to step through the door full of curiosity, wondering:
what is it going to be like, that cottage of darkness?
And therefore I look upon everything
as a brotherhood and a sisterhood,
and I look upon time as no more than an idea,
and I consider eternity as another possibility,
and I think of each life as a flower, as common
as a field daisy, and as singular,
and each name a comfortable music in the mouth,
tending, as all music does, toward silence,
and each body a lion of courage, and something
precious to the earth.
When it's over, I want to say all my life
I was a bride married to amazement.
I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.
When it's over, I don't want to wonder
if I have made of my life something particular, and real.
I don't want to find myself sighing and frightened,
or full of argument.
I don't want to end up simply having visited this world.”
-- Mary Oliver
Wow... nothing to add.
Honoring courage and giving thanks.
Till next time, stay well!
May you be happy now and always
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