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  • Writer's pictureSJ Marcotte

These Are Days

We are one human family. We can argue about the facts. We can vent about the ways in which we believe some are overreacting or under-reacting. We can complain. We can huff and puff. We can hoard. We can blame. OR we can PIVOT (that word keeps coming up over and over today in my world) toward compassion.

I've started several posts this calendar year. Admittedly, and obviously, I haven't completed them. Life has a way of getting in the way of our best-laid plans, doesn't it? Writing a STRONG BEAUTIFUL WOMAN post has had a little forward arrow on my weekly planner page since January 5th. At first, I felt guilty. I mean, it's hard not to when you commit to a passion project that you desperately want to gain traction. Other weeks I just felt like "oh well, other things were just more important". Today I feel a tugging at my heart to reach out with words - to put them down - maybe just so I can see them reflected back. In the off chance, you need them to - this one's for you, for us.

These are days, aren't they?

No politicizing here. No reflecting on the state of current affairs. No predictions. No reiterating of best practices.

I mentioned to my mother-in-law last night (if you know her, you know she's one kick-ass STRONG BEAUTIFUL WOMAN) - anyway, I mentioned that the waiting really stinks. You're likely waiting for different things than I am, but maybe not. In some respects, we can probably all relate to the anxiety that binds in stomachs, that catches in throats, and weighs heavy on hearts. My MIL didn't hesitate in her response. "It's what we do when we're waiting that matters." TRUTH! I am taking that and running with it today, because ACTION really does make a difference.



"Really, SJ?" I can hear it. Nope, I'm not playing Pollyanna. I simply believe that music has power. Join me in singing along to a favorite tune. Who cares about the quality of your singing voice - go for it! It probably comes as no surprise that today I've been singing THESE ARE DAYS by 10,000 Maniacs. And after typing these last few sentences, I've got HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING in my head, too (I'm partial to the Pete Seeger version). If you aren't game for singing, go cue up your favorite feel-good tune. Music is a great unifier, a universal super highway to the pleasure centers in the brain, and a way to process and release emotions.

"Positive emotions dominate musical experiences. Pleasurable music may lead to the release of neurotransmitters associated with reward, such as dopamine. Listening to music is an easy way to alter mood or relieve stress." -from Music, Emotion, and Well-Being | How does music affect the way we think, feel, and behave? READ MORE



In an effort to provide something actionable and valuable to my students and clients today, I stumbled upon this timely reminder about grounding ourselves when anxiety sets in.

Turns out Catherine has lots of great stuff on her site.



We are one human family. We can argue about the facts. We can vent about the ways in which we believe some are overreacting or under-reacting. We can complain. We can huff and puff. We can hoard. We can blame. OR we can PIVOT (that word keeps coming up over and over today in my world) toward compassion.

Here's my short list...

  • Assume best intentions

  • Be kind

  • Listen

  • Have empathy

  • Validate feelings

  • Check in on people

  • Offer support

  • Extend grace

  • Share



Regardless of your faith perspective, perhaps we can find some point of agreement here. (If not, that's okay, too)

One of my favorite authors, Anne Lamott, says this about prayer:

“Prayer means that, in some unique way, we believe we’re invited into a relationship with someone who hears us when we speak in silence.”

(Maybe that someone is simply you)

Breath prayer is an ancient practice. It's rhythmic in nature and connected to - you guessed it - our breath. A breath prayer is a few syllables in construction - a short message of intention, a need, a plea, a reassurance, a message of gratitude - that can be recited silently during one inhalation and one exhalation, and then repeated. It can be done anytime and anywhere.

If you're conscious and breathing you can join me in some breath prayers.



Today is what we have folks. For all practical intents and purposes, right now is the only time we get. I'm guilty of hanging out in the past and obsessing about the future. I'm fully aware that I get stuck in both ends of the continuum and I've been gently reminding myself about being present - right here, right now. The past? Yeah, we need to reflect on it. The future? Sure, we need to plan for it. AND, let's not forget about right now.

A long conversation over coffee with a "soul sister" last month circled around this topic. (I'm featuring this STRONG BEAUTIFUL WOMAN here next week, so stay tuned for her perspectives!). "Life is always in session," Michelle reminded me. If we're not tuned in to the here and now, life still goes on (in endless song, above earth's lamentation - that's from HOW CAN I KEEP FROM SINGING, I told you I can't stop singing it now), and we're simply missing out on the only time we get to, well, BE PRESENT for it - to act or be still or simply be. The GROUNDING exercise above helped me reel back into the present moment today.


  • Noticing others

  • Being aware of our body

  • Breathing more fully

  • Experiencing sensations

  • Tasting and savoring food

  • Making eye contact

  • Being in awe of nature

  • Making a connection

  • Moving around

Hey, truth be told, I'm always going to be a sucker for escape into a great book, a wandering daydream, or imagining of an alternate reality when life gets stressful...and those are gifts, too.

Part of me wants to keep going because...



But right now, I'm going to bed!

So, what are you adding to the list?




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