this just in

dear ones, (I am reposting this from my other site, Joyfuel.) I am now creating audio recordings for each of my posts in order to make my posts more accessible, and to describe images in each post.) To listen to the audio recording of me reading this essay click audio button above.

the world has turned upsidedown.

i’m holding many questions about how my love of humans, kindness, creativity and joy work may ripple out and be medicine in this world that mostly feels like it is holding its collective breath.

instead of pushing out a ton of content, instead of generating copious offerings here, I’ve chosen to slow way down. to try to remember how to breathe, literally.

in some ways i’m actively doing a lot in my immediate community: helping people stay connected and supported through technology. caring for multiple people by making any necessary trips as productive and meaningful as possible.

but mostly i’m trying to figure out what self-love and self-care looks like for me right now. self love and care means sacred kindness to me.

in mid march, when it became apparent to me that a global storm was brewing, i began watching the television news again.

early in my career i worked for a big news agency in new york city. i know how the sausage is made. i didn’t stay on that side of media, for many reasons.

long  ago i made a conscious decision to stop watching the daily news because i noticed that the news mostly immobilized me, making me even more resistant to showing up in the world to offer any gifts i might have to give. the news made me doubt that anything i did would make any difference to what i saw on the television. that was a grossly inaccurate telling of personal possibility.

for years i have depended on my closest friends to share important things with me, and I am grateful for the kindnesses they have given me, and give me still.

but back to now: since the world turned upsidedown i have been watching at least an hour of news each day, sometimes more for two weeks, until now.

last night i again watched the news in horror, in sadness and grief as the facts of the world were being presented, processed and responded to.

before we went upsidedown i cried most days if ever i were to catch the news, but now these past two weeks i have experienced a new level of personal reaction. i am dumbfounded and horrified. grief stricken.

yes. this is grief.

last night for several hours after i watched the news i noticed my heart racing alike the years i had panic attacks. my heart beat was irregular, it would beat for 3 beats, then skip one or two beats, then race two beats, then regular beat, then skip… over and over. this went on for several hours last night, my physical reality was making my emotional reality even more anxious and distressed.

i tuned into my body and breathed and tried to return my heartbeat to normal. i breathed consciously until I fell asleep on the couch. i gave myself extra sleep this morning.

my physical body was in fight-or-flight-panic-mode, which is a normal possible response to the great sadnesses unfolding in my community, state, country and world being presented on the news.

i didn’t realize how much the news was impacting my physical well being, and i am so grateful my heart sent me an internal news update, so i can adjust my own personal tuning.

today i am reminded all i can ever control is what i bring into my awareness, and how and if i choose to respond. do i tighten up and nearly stop breathing? or do i shift my focus inside to experience my breath, feel my feelings, allow my sadness and grief, and also be open to recognize how simultaneously the earth is supporting my being here and alive right now. it is my choice where i choose to focus, and how and if i choose to actively respond.

so i’ve decided no more news for me. not because i don’t care–but because now i care even more. turning off the news is what self-care and sacred kindness looks like for me right now.

turning off the news will allow me to be more present with my children as they are processing their grief for our hurting upsidedown world.

turning off the news will mean i have more to give because i have cared for myself.

turning off the news will gift me an open space to ask myself “how can i show up and use my possible gifts in service to the great sadnesses, grief and suffering of people represented by all the stories being reported in the news? how can i give and act in love for my community– my neighbors, my town, and you… beautiful human, part of the network of people reading my work on my web sites and through social media?

i will continue to pray for and honor the daily lives lost, and lean in to know that sacred number each day. i will still get the highlights and lowlights of the day, because unless i move to the woods, alone without an internet connection, i cannot escape (nor do i want to).

i am sharing this personal reflection  with you dear ones, because i want you to know i am here for you, contemplating how best to care for myself while contemplating how to offer things that might nutrify your sacred kindness. i want to discover together how we might use this time to deepen our sense of community through kindness, creativity and joy!

i am certain that even during this painful and uncertain upsidedownness, each of us can and must find ways to cultivate joy each and every day, and find time and ways for self care. even in the worst, most painful of situations,  joy awaits each of us in the painful cracks.

i believe in you. i believe in your birthright for joy. i believe in humans. so i ask:

What are you doing to take care of yourself?

How is your heart?

What does self love look like?

 (perhaps you’d like to use any of these questions as writing prompt? feel free to share your response in comments below.)

i’m hear with you, at a distance but connected to you in love for joy.

with love for your joy
❤ becky suzik


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