Island Blog – Runkled by the Mighty Hacker

Well we all do at times, feel runkled, creased, all runnels and sideyways, slanted and holey like a web created by a spider with seven legs and with gout in two of them. Wonkychops in fact. All the flies would just fly through.

That was me, or is it ‘I’? I would have to check with my Pa and he is busy in Heaven these past many years so maybe not, not if I want a quick response. I guess it’s a long old way and if St Peter has a problem with the Arrivals gate then what chance do whispered questions have? Being a mail deliverer up there must be a very full time job.

To be hacked in the way I was hacked, my emails, bank account, social media and so on felt personal. If I lived in a city or even on the mainland where everybody seems to know nobody, I suspect it might have been more alarming, but I don’t live in an alarming place, am not open to the threats, the real and realistic fears of those who do. No. I live in a wild and glorious place but this information means nothing whatsoever to a cyber criminal. Beyonding the immediate fear of this invisible enemy, I sit up straight and think like an intelligent woman. It is random, it is not random at all, but it is just a wake-up call to the me who has become a tad comfortable in her choice of connections. It doesn’t matter where I live, where anyone lives. The invisible enemy is watching, waiting, offering the chance to click on or to not click on at all. I have come to this place now, the notclickingon place. Not that I ever did, no. Even a link sent from a service provider turned my head to a No swing. But somehow this hacker managed to get into my Amazon account, to change my login details, ditto my email address and that is/was/is deeply scary.

However, I am not going to let this confound me for long, even if I did feel like the spider with seven legs plus gout for a few days. The hassle is one thing, a not-thing really because hassle is life and life is hassle but it felt personal and threatening. I thought ‘I don’t need this in my widow-ness, but who the heck does, widowness or no widowness? Nobody. The wind left my sails and I doldrummed but as any sailor knows, this is not a state to allow for long. Even without oars, I have arms and hands. Even without knowledge enough I can watch the sky, listen to the wind, soften my panic enough to allow a reconnection with nature, with all she is whispering to me. I can find a new way, a different way, a simpler way to move on. And so I have.

I am not on Facebook for now and the peace is gentle and ordinary and I know it, recognise it from my own olden days at Tapselteerie, where there was no television reception, no such thing as the interwonkyweb, no mobiles, no social media. Like many of us I have enjoyed what the aforesaid(s) have to offer but since the Mighty Hack my thinks are shifting. Instead of just going along with all of it, or some of it, I have pulled back to base, not the base that was but a new base, one created intelligently, consciously, mindfully. Instead of living my life vicariously, I am choosing empty space, for now. I watch my old fingers type this out and chuckle. I will not dash to Facebook to find likes or comments and please forgive me for this my loyal friends. It teaches me something, this not dashing thingy. Did I rate my own self on the number of Likes? Maybe I did. In a lonely life, it makes sense but not the right sense. Sense is a doing word, not a being one. A sense of self is a choice and that is what my sisters in feminism (which does NOT mean a hater of men btw) would have known and taught all the way back to inhibiting corsets with enough lacing to rein in a six of wild horses. I had floated away from sense, following the rule of Now, the overwhelm of social media that brought in a wry acceptance. It is as it is, and it is, it is, but that doesn’t mean I stop conscious thinking. Which I obviously had.

So, here I am. Bowed somewhat, straggled and rickety but rising in a new shape. And I am thankful the Mighty Hacker shook my foundations. I sincerely am. Because, in life, although such a Stop when we think we are chuntering along known tracks, through recognisable countryside, heading for an expected station is confounding, it is a very good thing to find ourselves alone in the dark and the rain in a place we don’t recognise on a moonless night and in a freezing wind. Only in this place of fear and doubt do we encounter Reality and his partner, Change. Only then. Nobody really wants either of them but that doesn’t stop them and they come when they come, when the syrup and honey of easy-know living has gotten into our bones. I now believe it’s a gift, a compliment if you like. It is almost as if the Mighty Hacker has clocked this sweet confection of a mindless life and has said Oh Hell No! This woman, man, is sinking, is circling in a doldrum, is accepting the 7 leg gout thing. No! Stir her up, him up. I have plans for them.

That’s what rises me. That’s what lifts me. And the Mighty Hacker has no power over me. Or you. And, for now and for a while, I will watch the wind temper the pines; I will hover over my wildflower garden like a mother bee; I will stand at the beginning of yet another path, walking slow, listening to the stories on the wind as she shifts and changes; I will listen and I will hear. But as I do, I will also accept the way it is as it is. And the runkles? Well, I have a sturdy iron, should I decide to employ it.

Island Blog – There’s something about ‘dead.’

When someone dies you might think, well, that’s that, he or she is gone. I’ll be fine. I am sensible, practical la la la. However, I am discovering that this is not the truth at all. Yes, the person is dead and gone and I am not fine at all, or wasn’t fine at all for a long while. However, something comes alive from that death and it grows and thrives in so many unexpected ways. Beyond the initial shock come a swingle of emotions and they can last for as long as they last. Anger, despair, denial, acceptance, to name but a few and each one of these can burst into life within a single day leaving us exhausted, confused, beaten up. It isn’t possible for anyone outside of bereavement to fully understand, let alone feel these emotions. All they can do is to stay quiet, give no advice at all and to simply walk beside us as we explode into the sky or melt into a cold and dirty puddle on the ground.

But this ‘alive’ thing. What do I mean? I think the best way to describe myself is through imagery. Imagine, if you will, a desolate landscape, one that didn’t appear politely and over time but more as the result of a nuclear explosion. One moment I looked out on trees, flowers, seasons, skychange. I sat by running water, heard its song, watched birds fly overhead, geese migrating, sun rise and sunset. I was complacent in this, expecting my world to look this way every time I chose to look out of my window. I knew, even from behind closed curtains, the promise of a morning. Rain, wind, soft warm air, still waters or the spit and roar of wildflow over rocks. Then in just a single moment, all is desolation, all is grey and empty. I see no green, no landscape, no lift of hill nor fall of valley. The ground is flat and without character, without balance.

Over time I come to accept this new view from my windows. Each day is the same as the one before and here flickers the first flame of ‘alive’. I can see the little spark, watch that spark grow into warming fire. I reach my hands to it. There isn’t much warmth to be honest, but it is the first lift of orange I have seen in this grey nothing and I am keen to fan it into something more. Although the outside shows me same old, inside something is keen to live and I recognise it as the human spirit. I feel a lift in my heart even though all that I ever knew is gone now, and forever. But I am still here and the me in me has no intention of turning grey and flat, it seems. I rise and dress in colours. I decide to cook something delicious. I turn up the tunes and jig a bit around the kitchen. Each time I begin something I can feel the inner flames lift as a new breeze tickles them higher. Each time I begin something I am adding kindling to the fire. I am tending myself. I am saying that, even though the outside of me may stay grey and flat for some time to come, I am the fire of my future and the more I tend the alive in me, the more I realise that this need for living warmth came directly from a death. When the dead one wasn’t dead, I was as complacent as one expecting to see the same world outside my windows as I did yesterday, and all my complacent yesterdays. I took it all for granted without a question in my mouth. Now I have a zillion questions all flying out into the empty rooms like trapped birds. I open the window to set them free. One by one, they fly and as they do, as I busy myself with being alive, I glance out. There is colour, I see it, Look, over there! And there, and there. The grey is beginning to live again. As am I. Although the landscape will never look as it once did, I know now that this blank canvas is aching for me to get out there with my paint and my colours. I have no idea where to begin but that doesn’t matter anymore. If ‘dead’ is going to have any significant impact on me then let it be this inner, cleansing, warming fire of Very Much Alive.

Island Blog – You have to want to dance

There is a scowl in the sky this evening. The grey pushdown clouds point fingers. The Blue Ben bothers not and why would he, standing there all granite push-up shoulders and for centuries? It doesn’t mean he doesn’t notice. What we eejit humans don’t understand is the natural communication between the elements. Earth, Wind, Fire, Water. They were here and talking long before our ancestors arrived, whether from the sea or from Adam. It matters not.

There are times I feel very small as an eejit human, as a sudden ‘insider’, in such a huge story that tells of life so long before me that it means nothing beyond its echoes. And, to be honest, they are easily ironed or washed or swept away along with the dust and the creases. However, I am very busy noticing myself. Not in the mirror, no. But in my responses to whatever comes in, including my thoughts and my ditherments and my hesitations. I have to say that once I step into those footprints of acceptance I feel engaged with the oldness in me and with all the ridiculous crap that goes with oldness. I won’t say it is a fear-thinking thing because it is so very not. It’s in the bones, the creaks, the inevitable inability to lob a fence as I used to be able to do. It also isn’t about striving for that agility. No. I get my limitations, but I will not accept without challenge. Again, No. I just step up. I acknowledge that I will not be young again. I say that I know where I am and who I am and I will (don’t do this) always accept a challenge. I will dance the rest of my life. I am under nobody’s control, only my own.

There are scowls. There are fabulous starlit nights. There are cold wet mornings and sunshine afternoons. There is that moment when the sunset blows poppy red, and suddenly in a dawn when a new daffodil takes the breath from me. I am watching myself. I say that because it is so easy to keep flopping onwards without noticing ourselves. I know because I have done just that until I clocked my flopping and turned around to question why. It whirled me around and back till I looked at the old thinking and saw it cobwebbed dark and without the spin of a live spider. It takes mindful thought. You have to notice and to question. You have to want to dance.

Island Blog – Along the Way

On my road to recovery I learn many surprising things, see much through a different lens, complete old puzzles that I had thought missed an essential piece for decades, the very one that would show me the whole picture. It bothered me, this missing piece thingy and I would find myself going back over and over again, my fingers digging through the dirt for that chunk of gold as if I believed everything would be just as I remembered it way back when my ass was pert and my feet fleet. It smiles me now, for nobody can piece together their past from where they stand now. Not nobody. And also I recall recalling memories with himself and seeing that ‘what are you talking about woman’, a statement not a question on his face. He wasn’t there apparently.

When I say recovery, I don’t mean me coming back to me because I will never be that me again and because I have nobody to remind me of that me, I am free to build, foundation up. First off I need to find that foundation and I now believe that this is the hardest part. When there is a ‘we’ in the mix, there is discussion, argument, tantrums, acceptance and solution, not least because the digger is revving impatiently just a hillock away and costing money. So ‘we’ decide and there it is. It begins.

It is the same within a shared life, sometimes tantrums, sometimes arguments, hopefully acceptance and solution, but nonetheless, each ‘I’ affects the shaping of the duo dynamic. When he is in this mood, I keep clear. When she is slamming doors and honking horns, I look out at the birds and say not one word. And so on. We change each other without even knowing we do. We can tear down and we can build up and most of us do a bit of both, but as we grow above the foundation we alter each other, smoothing down edges, rounding them into a learned shape that works, even if only as far as the next volcanic eruption.

Alone is not lonely. Alone is powerful and free and scary at times. Nowadays there is no other close enough to perform any shaping manoeuvres on the one of two. Just the ‘I’ is left, an ‘I’ with complete autonomy, absolute freedom of movement and thought; a singular soul who can, and has, felt both utterly bereft and warmly supported. Happily, if this person is curious about life even if he or she finds the whole thing terrifying, he or she will find others along the road, surprising others. In my afterlife I have met with kindness I never expected, such as offers of help and then those who actually see what I need just by walking by and who turn up to do the job. I could think that this is just the way islanders think, the community strong and bonded through winter gales and no ferries running but I don’t believe that. I believe, as I always have, that although this world is broken, she is beautiful because of her people. Of course there are those who choose greed, corruption and worse and who’s actions cause terrible consequences but they are in the minority. They do not define the human race. I see community and kindness everywhere because it is everywhere. And I for one am a very grateful beneficiary of that kindness.

We all have some kind of shit flung at us, but along the way we will find those who give of themselves just so we can rise and shine once again, and in a shape we are still working on but one we rather like the look of.

Island Blog – Finding me on Sundays

I’m not sure I like Sundays. I notice more things I don’t want to notice, such as nobody here and nothing on the cards and the wrinkles on my fingers and those bone-age knuckles that would need no ‘duster’ to take out a big man, had they the strength. Saturday, now, passes like a slip of a thing when Saturdays were always more of a yahoo. I don’t think that helps.

Sundays in my young past were a hair wash/get ready for school panic; or a back to work dread. Saturdays were always better. No preparation angst rising like indigestion. It was just a yahoo with crazy plans and sauncy clothing and opportunities, even as a daughter/married woman/wife, when me and him would often suddenly book a dinner table somewhere, just because it was Saturday and Sunday gave enough room for the aftermath. Now Sundays offer the same but without the Saturday fun. Doesn’t really work for me. Funny that I am still stuck in that life calendar.

This is my 3rd winter without him. Although I am, mostly, okay about ‘tempus fugit’, it feels like I am fumbling about, my fingers combing through the times, the timeline, and bringing up nothing more than seaweed or old hair as from a drain. Even as I grow into someone I never knew, nor recognise, I have this pull back to the past. Let me go there, let me have what I had; that sort of nonsense thinking. But, nonsense or not, it is how it is. This bereavement/grieving thing has no shape, no tidelines, no dateline. It is the weirdest of all times of my life as it is for anyone else who knows what the heck I am talking about. There is an identity loss, that identity having been set in place decades ago, refined, pruned, nurtured and encouraged to bloom. It will never be easy to ignore that, nor to walk away. New identity? What on earth does that mean? But, we find it, I am sure, because so many have.

And I am ready to love Sundays, to learn and to find a new me, no matter how hard the work.

Island Blog – Call them by their Names

This island night, I hear of another name, suddenly moved into the past. Just like that. She was a woman I met now and again, and one I always saw as strong. Strong, hmm, means something else up here in island life. It means tough against pretty much everything. Atlantic slice winds, sudden have-tos in the middle of something else, like baking or feeding a babe or just sweeping the floor. As woman here you need toes on your toes, ready at any moment for the ice swipe of out there to save a cow from the bog in mid February when the hail is ready to take you out, when you can barely stand on a rock face that doesn’t give a monkey’s about whether you succeed or fail, but you are always ready. She was.

She was, and is, Jeannie. Others who I remember this night also need naming. So, here I go. Jessie, her twin sister, Donnie her husband and Angus her son; Kirsty, Katy, Helen, Kathy, Amy, Willie, John, Mouse, Jonnie, Belle, Blind Katy, David, Hughie, Eck, Katy, Bert, Chrissie, Sonny,and so many more; folk I met when I moved here as a complete idiot and who became my kindly guides. As an incomer, back then, a welcome was not expected. I get it, now. However, island west coast folk have big old hearts and I met those hearts. They may have laughed at us but they didn’t block us out.

Hey Jeannie. I am so glad I met you. I saw, in you and Jessie, strong women with attitude. From my protected life, women like you stood out, literally. Tall and booted up, in the ring, in the field, in among the shit of stock farming in sometimes cruel conditions. You showed me that being woman is not a thing to be taken lightly, nor restricted to domestic duties. I smile as a I write this, because without knowing you changed me, you did. Thank you.

Island Blog – Thoughts, Red Speeders and Me

Thoughts are always busy I find. My head is a freeway for them. Sometimes I fly above the chaos and stare down, mystified. How can one small head allow such mayhem? I mean, I am watching speeding, overtaking on the inside, collisions and fatal hesitations. It seems to me that all of these rushing thoughts want to get my attention, regardless of how much damage each one does in order to achieve it. If I focus on one, that red speeding one, the one that tells me about yet another failure or shortfall for which I am solely responsible while the rest blur into a rainbow mist. The red one won. I no longer notice the well behaved thoughts, the kindly ones, those driving carefully and with no intention of upsetting anyone else, especially me. Why are they so well behaved, enough that I don’t notice them much, if at all? They are the ones who are not out to pull me down but instead to build me up. Is it that I think them boring? Is it that I have not heard enough uplifting encouragement from the older humans in my life that I think it is ok to ignore these guys? Well, maybe but that is no authentic reason to be stuck in that belief, be it true or imagined. Hell no. I am a radiant, powerful human being who chooses to live life with joy and pleasure and I have met Joy. She’s a keeper.

I flick the red speeder away and decide to notice the good thoughts, the ones down there running on kindness and consideration, joy and pleasure, love and happiness. I watch them change gear a lot, slowing to allow another to overtake, pulling over for a big truck to pass, stopping often to allow a break for anyone else involved. There are many of them now that I look closely, as many as the speeders, the takers and the critics. It seems that what I choose to pay attention to is up to me and my vigilant looking, the picture below me, around me, within my head. Hush! I hiss, suddenly overwhelmed, and there is a slowing down, a hold up, a line of thoughts stuck bumper to bumper with no chance of moving ahead until I clear the blockage. The kindly thoughts just wait patiently, turning to make sure others are not scared or stressed. The red ones shout and yell, hit the wheel, swear and stomp about like fools achieving nothing and yet, and yet, these are the ones I believed in just a few moments ago; the pretenders, the nothings, the past voices that have been dead and therefore no threat for a long time now. Was I giving them the kiss of life? Eeuch! I am so stopping that and right now.

So how do I do that? Well, sadly it is not a one stop decision, although it is at the one stop part, but thereonafter it is a daily watchdog thingy. Whenever I notice a red speeding thought, one that tells me about my failings and my mistakes as if they define me and confine me and align me with hopelessness and haplessness, I will not give them focus, no matter how pretty they are, how alluring. It amazeballs me that I am so ready to tell myself how much I have failed and fail still, but I read that it is a common human condition, as common as the cold. Our brains are the most powerful thing known to man, more so than any amount of technology we know about now and any of it we will discover and develop in the future. We are so incredibly powerful. My doctor once said to me that physical disease is not our killer. Our brains are, or, rather, the way we let them control us instead of us controlling them. I think her wise even if the whole thingumajig of daily noticing of red speeders makes me yawn because, like everyone else, I want lovely things to happen to me just because I am a magnet for good and because I care about others and la la la. Nonetheless, we all have a job to do and never more than now as we tire of isolation and fear, of what the hell and where do we go now even if we are brave enough to do the ‘go’ thing?

I piddle about with upbeat courses, affirmations, mirilations and striations. I swither and dither on the edge of wastelands, of brokenness and lack looking out at the pretty lights in the distance, ones I haven’t walked towards for years. I swale and fail, I rise and fail, I falter and halter but by heck if by noticing my thoughts and taking over my lunatic brain until it gets my message, until it sees me standing on the dust path with my stop hand up, my focus on the kindly thoughts, the uplifting ones, the beige ones, then, I am going to stand. If I do it every day, every time I feel myself louded out by the naysayers then just maybe, the red speeders, the bully thoughts will see a radiant, powerful human being who chooses to live life with joy and pleasure, and will eventually feel lonely enough to book in for a respray.

Island Blog – Fallout

I refuse to fall out of love. Just saying. We need to be in love, always and forever because it thrills us into life and fire and fun and music and hope. There are a million drudge days, ordinary greys than never lift into geese, tired times, hopeless fear, no tomorrow in sight. We all know these. But I am a thrust light in the dark and even for me. I will rise. So will you. It’s not an ‘if you want’ thing. It just comes unbidden.

There are times I hate that thrust light. Times I want to hide shadow like and hope nobody sees me. Then I wake one morning and that damn light is beckoning me towards hot tea and a morning I have never seen before. Life moves us on in a kindly and patient way. It might piss me off but it still moves me.

I refuse to fall out out of love. With life.

Island Blog – The Best View

Heavy rain, like water bullets, straight down rain, none of this fluffing fallshift of soft water dash against my face. This was a wetting. I watched the opportunity for a while. I considered my cloaking, my ineffective coveration, my footwear, and pulled back. I pulled back long enough for even the Pull Back to raise its eyebrows. Are you going or are you planning to spend the day lurching towards the window like a catapult with old pants elastic?

I don’t like the old pants bit and it stirred me somewhat. I stand taller. Ok, I say, I am offski. Before the old girl in me can catch up I am footed and rainproofed and attaching the wee dog to her lead. Door open. We are out. Good grief! This rain is pelting like reproval. It is so straight down I turn to yell (and regret it) Bend Somewhat! It is either deaf, the rain or determined. I sigh, open the gate and head for the wild place. The track is jiggling water in potholes, the rain-off sloughing like a serpent down into anywhere that’s down. Water always seeking the sea, the river, the outfall, the easy way to go. I am not doing ‘easy way’ but I am not water, I remind myself.

As I wander, because I like the whole wander thing, even in the rain, I observe. The chestnut tree is hanging low, branches so huge and so powerful are bending. I look up and say hi. On and more trees, bowed in fragility and yet still so strong. The wind rises and rises puffing and luffing, lifting, playful. It wonders me as I see massive wood limbs holding life-giving leaves, reach out way too far from the body, from the mother trunk. And yet there is power there, control and the fabulous knowing that that ancient trunk is holding you, holding and holding.

The leaves are already turning, I see the beech leaves twisting at the edges and giving in to copper. I hear the woodland choir, led by the wind. At the shore, where I walk every day to remind myself of not where we began but where so many hundreds, thousands of others began their beginning with us. The chance to see whales. I can smell the excitement even now as I wander in a past land, through gorse, popping seeds and noisily, where the seaweed lays across the out-tide rocks, copper, flaxen, lime, blood and where a heron squawks at me and lifts in lazy flaps; where oystercatchers fly above the tide, turn to me, catch the sudden sunlight and turn into fluttering pearls; where the chance of seeing some wild thing lifts a head above the water in an hour’s watching. We yearn for the wild encounter. We always did and we always will.

Let the seasons be. They are not as we once knew them, predictable and uniform, to a degree. They are wild now, and free. We have a hand in that but it is not the hand that gives up, that turns, that lifts in latent anger. It is done. We are here. We can dance through them, adapt and welcome. We can be a part of what is happening now or we can whine and criticise from the sidelines of life. Eish…….don’t do that. Engage. Join me in the frontline. We’ll get the best view.

Island Blog – Twins and Laugh Lines

I wake this morning at 4 to one big golden star. Not in my head but outside my window. The morning smells fresh and cool and I say a big thank you that I live in this peaceful place. Nothing but bird squeaks and chirrups, for now. Later, happy walkers will happily walk by my gate and we will smile at each other as they move into the wild places. They will marvel at my ‘ordinary’, maybe talk about how lucky I am to have that view every single day. I rise and dress, make coffee, plan my hours. For some time now, I have allowed foreigners in to my head, those worries and fears that rumble and twist in my gut. Winter coming. Loneliness. Missing. And others. I realise we all have these. Different shapes, different rumblings and twists, yes, but we all have them and it is easy, as I have discovered, to allow these foreigners to take root, to settle in. But once this realisation lights up the attic of my chaotic head, I can see the old cobwebs, the dust, the decay and I know I must needs perform a clean-up. It laughs me, the state of things. I can do this. I am strong, protected and safe, if I decide to think that way. The foreigner dolls I have pulled towards me of late need a frock change, a jolly good scrub and bows tied into their hair. A dash of lipstick, perhaps.

There is not one of us who isn’t fearful right now. I have not been especially selected for racks of gloom and despondency. My circumstances may not be yours but you will have similar feelings. And that is somehow reassuring. Instead of focussing on little me and my ‘stuff’, I can stretch my mind, rearrange it, clean up the foreigners and turn them into friends. Every fear has a twin and that twin is the stronger by far. I cannot deny whatever fear because denying its existence merely pushes it to the back row where it will always find its way forward again. Fear is healthy, in balance. Fear warns us of danger and we need that fight or flight part of our brains for survival. However, in our current situation, fear can grow meat on its bones, flesh up, work out, strengthen unless we are duly diligent. Okay, so I do feel a perfectly understandable fear of being alone through a dark winter. Where is the twin? Hiding, undernourished and abandoned. Well that has to change. Hallo, I say to the scrawny twin. Come into the light, let me look at you. It moves towards me. Ah, now I see you, you poor thing. I am so sorry I have ignored you for this long. The twin smiles at me, wide and beamy and I can see the gifts it brings me and hear the gentle questions. What do you love? What do you have? What are you thankful for? Good questions indeed and I will busy myself considering them all, making a list and reading it back. I will add to it daily. I am thankful for the smell of this morning, for my faithful little dog, for my home, my family, friends and the happy walkers. For Tapselteerie wild places always open to me, for my garden, the flowers, the space in which I am safe. You will have a list too, the twin to all you don’t have and don’t love, but remember that each one of those also has a twin, one you might have been starving unconsciously.

We can live unconsciously. It is dead easy and the danger of such a way of being is that is creeps in like mould, silent and corrosive until we notice and take action. Sometimes, and I know this place well, the darkness can grow. Life feels chaotic, unpredictable, alarming and overwhelming. There is so much ‘don’t’ and doubt and confusion out there for all of us no matter where we live or what scary changes we may be facing. To remain absent from really living whatever life we currently live will only result in nothing changing. But the good and wonderful news is that we are wondrously strong creatures, inventive and powerful, way more than we may think. By making just a tiny change, such as deciding that this day I will look at all that I do have, all that I do love, and my eyes will hold that looking even as the fears niggle and chatter. I will drown out their voices for they are not helpful, not at all, not today.

And then, I will repeat this exercise the next time a morning rises. My inner talk will not be all about covid and fears and doubts. I will notice if this happens, if the words begin to spill out of my mouth and I will laugh and swallow them down. It takes practice, this practice, but you will be astonished at how quickly it begins to flow naturally. It’s as if my brain is bored of them too. After all, what do they bring but sadness and a downturned mouth. I want laugh lines, not wrinkles.

How about you?