“It takes as much energy to wish as it does to plan.” –Eleanor Roosevelt
“Go to you bosom: Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know.”
micro: very small
view: extent or range of vision
macro: intended for use with relatively large quantities or on a large scale
A constant macro view can be exhausting—wasting our time and talents. Most days require us to narrow our focus, take a micro view, and determine where & how we can make the most difference to the people and circumstances we face in our lives.
Notice a difference in your perspective?
Source: Merriam Webster
As I age, it seems much of life is experienced within the gray areas of uncertainty. Thankfully, now at fifty-three, I’m finding not knowing is sort of interesting, perhaps even a bit wonderfully mysterious.
study in grays, June 18th, 2020
I’ve been reading Pema Chödrön’s book When Things Fall Apart: Heart Advice for Difficult Times, she writes about hope and fear—
“Hope and fear come from feeling that we lack something: they come from a sense of poverty. We can’t simply relax with ourselves. We hold on to hope, and hope robs us of the present moment.”
HOPE verb: to cherish a desire with anticipation, to want something to happen or be true
FEAR verb: to be afraid of, expect with alarm
Hope was on my mind, so this morning Dusty Springfield’s 1964 song—Wishin’ and Hopin’ popped into my head as did Emily Dickinson’s poem—Hope Is A Things With Feathers. Oh you brilliant, creative women…you’ve been homesteading in my psyche the last few days. Thank you, your timing is impeccable.
Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’
Plannin’ and dreamin’ each night of his charms
That won’t get you into his arms
So if you’re lookin’ to find love you can share
All you gotta do is hold him and kiss him and love him
And show him that you care
Songwriters: Hal David / Burt Bacharach—Artist: Dusty Springfield
All of this hope talk made me think about parenting, religion, and my childhood. My mother’s prayers for me when I was growing up were that I would eventually become someone or something else—an idealized version of the raw potential she saw in me. Please help Lisa stop picking her fingernails, overeating, cussing, being lazy, not caring about her grades, reading the wrong books, listening to the wrong music, drinking beer, or NOT believing the way I do.
I don’t blame her, this was her programming. I’m sure it felt quite loving hopin’ and prayin’ for my needed improvements. She feared who I might possibly become, and truly believed her prayers could turn things around for me. Her faith then required that she gave the God of her understanding credit whenever my improvements, no matter how barely detectable emerged.
I did the same thing to my children—always hopin’ they would become the best version of themselves. I guess I thought wishin’ for the hidden potential in them to emerge would reflect what a stellar job I’ve done mothering and flatter my ego. Damn, that was my programming too.
Emily Dickinson’s poem, Hope Is The Thing With Feathers reveals the unsettling nature of the never ending loop of constant hope…and never stops – at all -.
Hopin’ I believed would make all of my sleepless nights and heartache worthwhile. However, instead, what I’m finally understanding is that all of that motherly wishin, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ kept me from accepting them as they were/are in the present. I’m truly sorry Ellis, Lucy, and Willa that I did not learn this sooner.
Wishin’, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ doesn’t seem to actually be working in any part of my life now that I give it more though...and never stops – at all—thanks Emily for that reminder.
What if I practiced more acceptance in all areas of my life? What would that feel like? Complacent? Uncaring? UnAmerican? Untethered? Unbelievable?
Let’s experiment, take a moment…breathe, just let the word acceptance settle into our soul a bit…repeat it a few times. Thoughts?
What if right now in America we just quit wishin’, hopin’, thinkin’, and prayin’ for things to be different than they are? What if collectively we ACCEPTED that the God of our personal understanding is desperately trying to reveal to us that all of the political division, rage, wounded egos, destruction, inequality, brutality, greed, spiritual aches, righteousness, grief, and suffering requires our heart’s immediate attention right now and we can no longer keep hopin’ and prayin’ for it to magically disappear?
All you gotta do is
hold him and kiss him and love him And show him others that you care
by Lisa Lillibridge to treat or consider (a person or a group of people) as alien to oneself Merriam Webster I want to blame I need to blame someone else something else anywhere else for my inner tornado alienate vilify repeat easy breezy automatic, unconscious our world’s challenges far too complex and exhausting to metabolize entirely on my own quell my fears confirm my programming please just tell me who, what, and where I should other today my team’s constant drumbeat deliberate, unyeielding laboring 24/7 to justify their clouding of my inner knowing click, forward, like, share, and tweet fair and balanced the daily diary of the American dream all the news that’s fit to print immutable and distracting like a howling airplane baby poor mum damn baby damn mum poor baby othering seductive like an ice cold beer hot, salty french fries or another slice of chocolate cake how did I other today? those people are not my people that problem is not my problem that place is not my place alienate vilify repeat conformity is obedient and compliant far easier than looking in the mirror and down into my own heart I know I should not utter a word until I’ve walked at least ten steps in someone else’s work-boots sneakers high heels wing tips flip flops or bare feet but I do we all do and it’s destroying us
I’ve started writing my thoughts about the pandemic, sheltering in place, and the emotional & economic damage the virus is causing around the world, but I lately I’m very distracted.
Is that a cardinal? What day is it? Who was in that movie? Do we have chocolate chips?
Like my adored grandfather, Louis (and my big sister, Laurie) quotes have always provided a lot of inspiration when I feel a little stuck. Sometimes they work, other times, not so much.
Today, they proved rather effective. Ask me in 15 minutes though, and I might tell you otherwise…or barely remember crafting this blog post altogether. They were unattributed.
Every single thing that has ever happened in your life is preparing you for a moment that is yet to come.
Life is often a struggle, with little bouts of ease. I think we do a disservice, especially to our children, to teach them otherwise. We can learn from every life experience if we can wrap our heads around thinking this way.
- New neighborhood signs appeared
- Easter Sunday—showered, dressed up, food, champagne, and gin rummy
- Picking the banjo, walking with Jeff, trivia with friends, a porch visit with Ellis
- Walking with friends, Lillian’s Zoom birthday party, making bagels, oh,the greys…& the blues too
My great-nephew arrived in South Dakota. Welcome to the world buddy.
I’ve been thinking about how we will collectively remember this time in history. I decided to look back—photos, emails, texts, notes and more. Here’s a snapshot of my discoveries.
Now, these images show the mostly good memories of sheltering in place. I unfortunately, didn’t document my hissy fits, pity party days on the couch watching TV, dumping the remainder of the potato chip bag in my mouth over the sink, or the times I just drove away because my family was bugging the crap out of me.
I suspect many of you can both imagine and empathize.
- A snow day.
- My rehearsal dinner dress—circa spring of 1992.
- Jen Wool appropriately social distancing.
- A multi-day March headache.
- Beer and trivial pursuit with the girls and Jeff.
- Willa visiting Joanne and Bob.
- Ellis stopping by for a front stoop chat.
- Coffee time with Karen and Jeff.
- Making coffee time a little fancier with my Grandmother’s china and a vintage wrap.
- Lucy, Willa, and Jacob at Lake Winnipesaukee.
- A Govoni family cookout circa summer 1998.
- Things I wanted to do circa 1989…I either got distracted or thought leaving 20 blank was clever.
- A note from my Dad sometime in the mid-90s after I had moved to Vermont.
- Photos of a gorgeous house Jeff and I used to house sit when we were dating.
- The wallet of my great uncle, that I was able to return to his family.
- Below, notes on my phone I found funny and insightful.
oh, let me count the ways.
I have to confess, I never read Anne of Green Gables. I know shameful, but honest.
I think it’s the perfect NETFLIX streaming show for our time. I found the pace of the series with no electronics, hard work, beautiful scenery, and the simplicity of 1899 farm life so soul-filling.
Anne’s a rare breed, she’s solidly grounded in her convictions & has her head in the clouds. She can summon her imagination for pure fun or self preservation whenever needed. What a gift!
A grounded dreamer, could there be a more perfect hero for our time?
Viewers get to witness Anne’s resilience, unique intellectual curiosity, and compassion for others and herself grow over three seasons as she matures. Her childhood trauma and daily heartaches are her superpowers—thematically something I always admire.
Anne Shirley Cuthbert is who Pippi Longstocking might have become if she’d been sent to live with a kind, hard-working family in the country, by the sea and learned to be less of a bullshitter.
Anne with and E was created by Moira Walley-Beckett with keen insight into modern womanhood, the many types of love that exist and finding your place in the world without fear.
I truly believe I can show up little sturdier for the people I love and let my imagination go with more ease now after watching this series. Thank you, Amybeth McNulty, for your Anne—our Anne.
We’ve had a tragical romance of sorts while I binged the series and I’m now so sorrowful that it’s over.
Thank you Lucy Maud Montgomery for writing Anne of Green Gables, Moira Walley-Becket for putting your own spin on it and Amybeth McNulty for your interpretation of such a beloved character.