Just Life

And | March 2020.

I just finished reading a few of the OLW updates y’all shared today. This past month hasn’t been what any of us anticipated. And yet.

We’re opening our minds and hearts in new, often uncomfortable ways. And we ARE doing it. And most importantly, we ARE showing up for ourselves and each other with kindness, honesty, generosity, and love.

A few of us seem to be more comfortable showing these feelings to others than to ourselves … if that speaks to you, please consider this post your permission slip to … take care of YOU. It’s like the opposite of that video we’ve all seen about the value of social distancing (you know the one, where there’s the trail of matches and a fire, and one of the matches steps back from the trail and fire stops…), you not taking care of you means you can’t take care of the next person.

(…and now back to the post I had planned to write. well, sort of.)

Honestly, this word has been really hard for me to get my arms around. It’s more a state of mind for me – a way of approaching the world, if that makes sense – than a set of actions, habits or behaviors I can embrace. It’s those intentions I laid out (with painstaking care on the felt board 😉 ) back in January. It’s being open. present. hopeful (yes, even that).

It’s also about letting go and making room. for everything. and right now, that’s maybe the hardest thing ever.

I mentioned on one of our Zoom meet-ups (which by the way will be continuing on Sundays at 2pm ET – details tomorrow) that my Friday morning small group was reading Pema Chödrön’s When Things Fall Apart. The subtitle is “Heart Advice for Difficult Times”. Chödrön writes from a traditional Buddhist perspective, which put me off initially. Peer pressure can be a good thing and I was encouraged to just read it. Two chapters in and I am grateful for that push. With a hat tip to this wise woman, I leave you with these two thoughts:

“The most heartbreaking thing of all is how we cheat ourselves out of the present moment … life really is when we let things fall apart and let ourselves be nailed to the present moment.” (pp 4-5)

“The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” (p 8)

Stay safe and well, my friends.

And a big thank you to Honoré for bringing us together to share these important stories.



  • Juliann

    I am going to dwell in my thoughts about my word on paper this month because my word and the current conditions of life are making me feel a bit more vulnerable. I do so appreciate how you are making room for all of this AND inviting us to join you.

  • karen

    my focus is here and there and all over the place. However I rejoice in the time I do focus on my creativity and the joy it brings me. I keep track of what I do each day and see where I am spending my time. This documentation helps.

  • Kym

    It’s certainly an “AND” kind of time, isn’t it? Thanks for sharing your word and your thoughts, Mary. XO

  • Kat

    Both of those quotes are powerful. It is not so much the fear of the unknown (I am not worried about that) But, rather the frustration of wanting to help, wanting to fix, wanting things better for those I love… and not being able to do them.

  • Sarah

    Letting ourselves be nailed to the present moment sounds a bit violent but yet very relevant for these times. I’m truly convinced that the way we will get through this, at least emotionally, is to be present and open to what we have in our lives and to live fully in each moment.

  • Bonny

    Fear and uncertainty are ever-present, and like Kat, I wish I could do more for those I love, but surrender needs to be present. One of my favorite Pema Chodron passages: “The journey to enlightenment involves shedding not collecting. It’s a continual process of opening and surrender, like taking off layer after layer of clothes, until we’re completely naked, with nothing to hide. But we can’t just pretend, making a big display of disrobing, then putting everything back on when no one’s looking. Our surrender has to be genuine.” Thanks!

  • Carole

    I have that book right now on my Kindle and I’m excited to read it during this time of crisis. I think you are sharing beautifully about your word.

  • Alexa

    There is much wisdom in Pema Chodron’s thoughts; surrendering and letting go is a life-long journey in many faiths. I always enjoy your thoughtful writing, Mary.

  • Karen

    It’s hard to think of a title more appropriate for this time than When Things Fall Apart. I, too, have had difficulty getting into Pema’s books, but they were library copies and I didn’t have any encouragement to keep going. Once the library reopens, I may try again. Thanks for sharing the wise words.