“What greater wisdom can there be than kindness?” Jean Jacques Rousseau
Just over the weekend, I was trolling or rather, scrolling through my emails when one headlined “Productivity Tips,” caught my eye. Since, like many of us, I wasn’t feeling too productive, I decided to check out the video it featured . I’m so glad I did! Because it wasn’t about productivity at all. It was about not feeling productive.
It was an honest, candid admission by a writing coach who prides herself on being a highly productive, overachiever about how she just couldn’t pull a productivity tip out of a hat. She’d run into a technical snafu on a project, she was worried about her little son who’s especially vulnerable to the Covid-19 virus, she was feeling overwhelmed.
With all this going on, she really had only one bit of advice to give: Be kind to yourself. And that’s what she was going to do herself that day: Instead of a forced march toward a goal she’d set for herself, she was going to give herself a different day. She was going to take a break — and later that evening, she was going to call an old friend and watch a movie with her and they were going to talk about it over the phone and just have fun. How wise!
In this same spirit, along with doing our best to help each other through these trying times, let’s also be kind to ourselves, let’s also help ourselves as we would a friend:
Let’s be kind to ourselves when we’re not feeling all that productive. If we can’t push through it, let’s just give ourselves permission to take a break and go back later. More often than not, just relaxing and having a little fun will help us get back on track.
Let’s be kind to ourselves when we’re feeling forgetful. Focusing takes a lot more energy these days, doesn’t it? So if you are not on top of everything — if you seem to be more scattered and forgetful, simply be OK with it and go on. I forgot to post a poem I love for this Father’s Day weekend — it just completely slipped my mind. It’s OK, Karin. It’s OK.
Let’s be kind to ourselves when we our usual strategies for keeping anxiety at bay don’t seem to be working. Keeping busy is a way of coping with anxiety for many of us, including the writing coach I mentioned. And myself. And maybe you, too. But sometimes these tools we use don’t work. When that happens, why not admit it and try again later?
And so, because I forgot to share it this weekend, but love this poem, here it is:
My Father’s Hats
Sunday mornings I would reach
high into his dark closet while standing
on a chair and tiptoeing reach
higher, touching, sometimes fumbling
the soft crowns and imagine
I was in a forest, wind hymning
through pines, where the musky scent
of rain clinging to damp earth was
his scent I loved, lingering on
bands, leather, and on the inner silk
crowns where I would smell his
hair and almost think I was being
held, or climbing a tree, touching
the yellow fruit, leaves whose scent
was that of a clove in the godsome
air, as now, thinking of his fabulous
sleep, I stand on this canyon floor
and watch light slowly close
on water I’m not sure is there.
Wishing all fathers of our hearts and memories days of sunshine and joy. Write on!