A Newsy Holiday Check-In
Dear Long-Hauling Friends,
I couldn’t let the holiday season pass without saying ‘hello.’ So . . . hello! How are you? I mean that question for real. If you’re up for commenting or replying with an update, I’d love to read it.
The holidays can be hard. Winter is hard. I know some of you feel like you’ve lived in perpetual winter ever since getting sick. We all know that I can’t fix that or make things warm and fuzzy. But I want to acknowledge the reality of the cold and dark. Hang in there. Please hang in there.
My body is continuing to recover. I’ve started running again, and it feels like I’m flying, though the app on my phone seems to think I’m moving at a rather plodding pace. I’m ignoring the app and relishing how wonderful it feels. I am not fully recovered, but I feel more than content to live with the comparatively mild and manageable symptoms that remain. Long Covid is still a blotch of paint on the canvas of my daily life, but it is no longer the frame.
Now that my body is able to do so much more, I get to choose to be still, rather than having rest thrust upon me. I move slower and accomplish less than I did pre-Covid. Not because I have to. Because I want to. It feels like a kinder, truer, gentler way to live in this body and in this world.
Having stepped back from the Corona Cafe newsletter for a while now, I miss certain aspects of writing it. I miss the way it pushed me to really look at my life, sit with my feelings, lean intro growth, and then find words to articulate those experiences. I’m no longer in a place where it makes sense to wrap my feelings and growth in the frame of long Covid, and so the things I’m inclined to write now might feel less relevant to you. And then again, they might not. In some respects, illness is just like every other hard thing in life. The insights that are helping me to live fully into this life now aren’t all that different from the insights that helped me to weather the turbulent, still-not-entirely-finished storm of long Covid.
I’m creating a new space to share these insights—a Substack newsletter (free like this one) called “Sit Spot.” If you’ve been around for a while, you’ve heard me use the term ‘sit spot’ before. It’s a common part of forest bathing and consists of simply sitting still in a chosen place in nature, mindfully attending to your sensory experience. My preferred sit spot is in my backyard, beneath the branches of an eastern hemlock tree. When I practice sit spot (or forest bathing more generally), I often have the experience of words arriving unbidden, like leaves floating down from a tree and landing in my lap. As often as not, when my time in my sit spot is done, I find myself gravitating toward my journal or laptop, needing to write the words down. That’s where Sit Spot (the newsletter) comes in. I won’t be writing it on a regular or predictable schedule. But when time in my sit spot or elsewhere in nature inspires something new that feels shareable, the Sit Spot newsletter is the place where I’ll share it. Most emails will be a blending of nature observation with observations on the experience of being human. That means that just about anything is fair game: mindfulness, personal growth, relationships, parenting, our place in the web of being. Illness will undoubtedly receive the occasional mention. I anticipate that most emails will be short (probably shorter than this one). Since I’m planning to write as inspiration bids and time allows, I don’t know what the frequency will look like. Once a month? Twice a month? Probably not more than three times per month. I’m still working on my novel, after all!
If you would like to receive more frequent emails from me, then please subscribe to Sit Spot here. If you’d prefer to read the first email and then decide if it’s for you, you can do so here. I will still send out the occasional Corona Cafe post going forward, but I anticipate that I’ll write for Sit Spot with greater frequency. I’m grateful for our connection here, and I hope to connect with many of you there, as well!
I wish you light in this holiday season, no matter how much darkness might sit alongside it.