Tag Archives: ukraine

LoveGram: Permission to feel joy

Hello friend,

I’m sending you big hugs and the word, “chrysalism” from the Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows.

This word means “the amniotic tranquility of being indoors during a thunderstorm.”

I’m sending you that feeling. That warmth. That safety.

I’m sending gratitude for any of us who may be healthy and safe.

(May I never take it for granted in my life.)

***

In today’s audio LoveGram, we talk (again) about what it is like to feel joy when others are suffering.

We talk about what it is like to hold it all.

We talk about being a human being living in a world that is so heart-achingly beautiful and at the same time, so heart-breakingly sad.

We talk about letting our joys fuel us to help others. (We fill up our own wells, so we have plenty to give to others.)

Click here and scroll down to listen. 

***

I hope you will lie down someplace comfortable or sit in a cozy chair with your tea while you listen.

Rituals and small comforts are so important. Give yourself that today, okay?

I love you and I send you big hugs.

Seek Celebration — even in dark corners,

Xo

S.

P.S. In case you really need something uplifting to read — and not just to listen to — did you catch my story the other day about what kind of love and connection is possible in just six minutes? Here’s that link.

P.P.S. Of course, there is also the beautiful book I mentioned in the first line, “Dictionary of Obscure Sorrows” by John Koenig.

A moment of love in the darkness

 

Hello Sherry,

I wish this were a happier time in the world, my friend.

I wish there weren’t bombs and fires and families separated and so much uncertainty about so many things.

I’m sending out love to you, to your family, to your neighborhood, and to this worldwide community.

Let us be love.

I know that we’ve opened our hearts time and time again. And so many scary things have flown in.

I know, too, that those sweet little beating hearts of ours, want to beat in and out with love, with light, with tiny joys.

We are built to be resilient. 

We are built to whisper words of hope.

Let us open our hearts and find ways to give our time, money, and resources to those who need it.

***

In last Sunday’s LoveGram, I read you a piece of writing that has to do with joy and generosity.

Some of you wrote to ask if I would send the actual text. Thank you. And, of course. (And by doing so, it fits in with the theme of repetition I was musing about in that LoveGram! Let’s not always be chasing after new things; we can revisit our own reflections/wisdom over and over to anchor it in!)

What follows (below the tiny stars) is a free-write from a prompt shared in a Wild Writing Group I’m in. I had set the timer for 15 minutes and was surprised by what came forth.

***

Sherry’s Free write:

Although the poem didn’t speak to me, Laurie did. You know how that happens, right? You click play on the video, you listen, and your little pumpkin heart squeaks, “That. That. I want to talk about that.”

Okay, you say, patting its head, looking directly into its eager eyes. Okay.

Laurie said, “We’re letting go of our shallow aspirations.”

I say, “Whaaat? No way.”  I’m gathering all of my shallow aspirations and building them a house. I’m collecting shallow aspirations and lining them up in my china cabinet, dusting them off regularly, proudly showing them to dinner guests.

I can’t wait to wear that jaunty little burlesque hat with the big feather sploosh that Maya surprised me with a few years ago. The one with a tiny string that goes under the jaw, so it can sit askew on my head.

I can’t wait to don the black and red fingerless lace gloves, the beaded purse, the little lacy anklet socks.

I can’t wait to waltz with Ian at the Edwardian Ball.

I can’t wait to sip cappuccino at the ferry building, the sun bright in the sky and all the tourists smiling because they are alive and the ground is solid beneath them. I can’t wait to hear the cheerful clang, clang, clang of the trolley.

I can’t wait to use excessive amounts of those lavender bath salts Tricia gave me. I can’t wait for the bath to be extra hot. I am aspiring to use the soft white washcloth my mother embroidered with colorful flowers.

My shallow aspirations are all lining up.

They are dialing my number all day long. They knock on the door and sing silly songs while they wait for me to come to them.

My shallow aspirations are wearing my pink combat boots and the cherry blossom hat. They’re putting on colorful gloves and a furry coat. They’re riding the tandem bicycle at Golden Gate Park. They’re waving to strangers and smiling big, even beneath the mask.

My shallow aspirations are walking from one magnolia marker to another in the Botanical Gardens. This white one from China. This purple beauty from Nepal. This hybrid of white and pink created by a man in 1908 who had an eye for making more beauty.

My shallow aspirations take long deep breaths, noticing how one magnolia is cinnamony and another more sweet.

My shallow aspirations invite me to dinner. They put out the linens and use the fun sun napkin rings. They light candles. They make silly signs that make my family laugh. They giggle. They fart out loud and blush wildly. They strip the bed and wash the sheets and sprinkle sweet powders. They use all the best things that we’ve always saved for good.

I’m holding tight to all my shallow aspirations. I give them pet names. I put them in all my pockets. I kiss their tiny, sea-shell ears. I listen when they whisper at night or on the bridge.

I write down their poems. I learn to speak their language. I ask them to plan parties and when they do, I nudge them to play all the rollicking piano tunes.

My shallow aspirations fold up the rug, kick off their shoes, and dance — each to their own unique beat.

My shallow aspirations crowd the house and make joyful noise. They drop pastry crumbs on the floor and turn the music up louder and their dress straps fall off, revealing lacy purple bras and silky other underthings.

Let go of my shallow aspirations? Oh, no. Never, my dear.

I’m writing love letters to each and every one. I’m buying them train tickets to my house. I’m putting flowers in all the guest rooms. I’m stocking up on pinwheels and poetry. I’m holding each one tight as she arrives. And whispering “yes, yes, yes” to every single one.

Because, my friend, you must know this: when the terrible winds kick in and the rains come, when our neighbors’ swimming pools fill with tears, we must be strong enough to bail and bail and bail. 

We must grow our arms even longer to hold up everyone who can no longer stand. 

We must make enough food for those who are hungry and sew clothes for those who are cold.

We must taste a little bit like sugar. We must smell a little like lilac.

We must play the music of their ancestors and crochet rainbow love around their sweetest hearts.

We must grow gardens of all our shallow aspirations so we can gobble them up to fuel ourselves for the impossible mission ahead.

Let those shallow aspirations be the jumper cables for our clunker car hearts. Let them turn us into honey to sweeten oceans of bitter tea. Let them make us into snow white butterflies who flit by, bringing winged hope to those who cry for help.

***

“We must grow gardens of all our shallow aspirations so we can gobble them up to fuel ourselves for the impossible mission ahead.” 

I believe that we cannot deprive ourselves of joy, even when it feels shallow against the backdrop of so much suffering. 

I believe our joy fuels us to help others. 

What do YOU think? What is YOUR experience? 

Thank you for being here. Side by side. Holding hands.

Seek celebration — even in the dark corners,

xo Sherry

LoveGram: Love as Fuel

Hello beautiful friend,

I am thinking of you and sending love.

As I’m writing this to you, we’re continuing to receive heartbreaking news from Ukraine. It can be so hard to hold all the emotions that arise during times like this when we know that so many people are living with violence and fear.

The truth is, as we know, that we live on a planet where there is always so much suffering.

We live in a world of paradox — there is so much beauty, goodness, and love. And there is so much violence, hatred, and fear.

How do we navigate all of it? How do we balance taking care of ourselves, our families, our friends, our communities, and the wider world-community? 

When I wrote to you on Friday I shared with you that I thought a long time before sending out my email. I walked. I meditated. I waited. I considered. I took a long pause.

Then, I shared with you what seemed true to me. I want to share it again, here, not only for those of you who missed it, but because part of my LoveGram today is about the value of repetition. One of the ways we anchor in reflections and insights is to repeat them to ourselves.

I think all too often, we want shiny new everythings — and we forget that it can be extraordinarily helpful to take the time to revisit something over and over so it becomes part of us, not just a fleeting fancy.

***

In a world full of bombs and killings, how can we even think about anything else? How can we consider celebration?

After much thought, I came to the same conclusion I always do, which is that in the face of violence, grief, and hatred, LOVE can be medicine.

LOVE can make us generous. LOVE can fortify us so we can be there for others. LOVE can give us strength to take right action, whatever that looks like for each of us. 

When heartbreaking things are happening in the world, they can be a reminder to us to live our love out loud even more.

I really believe that if we allow ourselves to feel love, appreciation, and celebration — no matter what — we remind ourselves of our humanity and we can find the strength to support our worldwide community in previously unexpected or unseen ways. 

LOVE can open us to new frontiers of generosity. Let’s go there, together.

The world needs us.

 

**

You’ll hear this theme echoed in my audio LoveGram today.

You’ll also hear some of my writing from this past week — a piece that speaks to directly to the question of “Who am I to feel such joy and love in the midst of so much suffering?”

(To listen to the audio, just click over to this page, scroll down, and hit “play” on the audio player.)

 

***

My dear friend, I know that the past two years have been filled with grief, loss, loneliness, and disappointment.

I understand.

I also know that this is exactly why we all must fortify ourselves. We must inhale all of the love, appreciation, beauty, and joy that we can.

The more we lift our own spirits and create energy, the more we have to give to people around the world who are suffering.

I’m here for you.

***

I see your generous heart.

I see the love you have ready to give in so many ways.

Now is the time to take any step that feels right to give your light, your time, your money, your support, your heart.

Don’t hold back. Be generous with yourself, your loved ones, and the beautiful strangers of the world.

Seek celebration — even in dark corners,

xo Sherry