May You and Yours Be Well

Although there is some overlap between the research and artifact of my doctoral project on female aging and my welcoming you to the weekend with a few thoughts each Friday, I find at certain junctures that the split in focus and concentration between the academic writing and the artistic production already required by the PhD is further ruptured by this email/blog post, and this time is one of those intersections. I plan to say hello again on Friday, December 8; until then, I’m thinking of the gatherings in my home, neighborhood, and country in the weeks ahead, the celebrations with our families and friends of light against dark, of harvest against famine, of the embodied divine.     

As the days shorten toward the solstice and the pace increases toward the holidays, I encourage you to find moments of peace and restoration in quiet contemplation, away from the noise and the busyness of conflict and commerce. In just twelve minutes of resonant breathing (5-1/2 to 6 seconds breathing out and an equal amount breathing out, in successive rounds, preferably through your nose, with mouth closed), you may be able to dissipate anxiety, restore equanimity, generate gratitude. In four to five minutes of dangling (standing with feet hip distance apart, bent over at the waist, hands clasping opposite elbows and dangling over your head toward the ground), you may be able to lower your heart rate and reduce your blood pressure. Slow down enough to hug and kiss your beloveds, maintain eye contact with them, marvel at their beauty, express your love. Maybe close your day by sipping a warm mug of something soothing, soaking in a warm bath or shower, banishing blue screens at least an hour before.

Three years ago around this time, I posted about our pandemic Thanksgiving and the creativity, gratitude, and love of the holiday, despite its being just four of us at the table and not our usual 20+ deeply cherished folks. Last year, we ferried plates of food upstairs to a couple in the family, who were isolating themselves behind closed doors because of an active Covid infection, protecting the most vulnerable members of our group. This year, my whole heart wants for mine, yours, and theirs—all of ours, all of theirs—protection from threat and harm and distress as well as resilience and hope in the face of it. Let us center and strengthen ourselves first and then meet each other’s sorrows with enduring support, carving out spaces for shared joy.