Healing, Health, poetry, Self Care, tough times, Wisdom

What to Do When You Don’t Feel Safe

Anne Lamott self care quote
Unplugging-Anne Lamott

This has been a frightening week, interspersed with personal trying periods, and a need to bury my head for a couple of hours at a time.

My daughter texted me after the tragedy in Nice, France.

iPhone text
Text One
iphone text
Text Two


I hated that she felt unsafe. I hated that I couldn’t stretch my arms across 1,000 miles and give her a hug, kiss her forehead. All I could offer her was to look for hope and to take a deep breath.

But I had to remember that feeling unsafe doesn’t mean that we are.

This was my reaction to feeling powerless, angry, and fearful.

I wanted to share the power of prayer with her, but she isn’t Christian or of any faith anymore. That in itself added to my sadness. But, also gave me the opportunity, later, to have a conversation with her about why I pray and how that helps me.

That night the news across all channels broadcast the tragedy. Soon there was another world event, the attempted coup in Turkey, and another, the sniper attack on police officers in Baton Rouge.

I had to keep the television off and stay off social media. My mind, spirit, and body were out of whack.

My attempts at ‘righting’ myself was to practice some self-care. I tried to find ways to relax and experience safety.

The garden beckoned. The Monarch caterpillars had decimated the milkweed leaving it a skeletal reminder of a once gorgeous fiery orange headed plant. Meanwhile, new butterflies showed off acrobatic skills over the remaining fronds of the second milkweed bush.

Butterfly acrobatics
Butterfly acrobatics

While watering the potted succulents I found that two blossomed with beautiful flowers. Being in the garden helped and somehow pushed me to go to the gym and exercise.

Flowering Christmas Cactus in July-Southern Calif.
Flowering Christmas Cactus in July-Southern Calif.

That evening I decided not to go out and sat in my backyard coloring. My sister gifted me with the adult coloring books a few months back. This may sound cheesy, but I felt a lot of pleasure wielding the colored pencils, so much that I had to go buy me a box of Crayola crayons, the giant 64 set box.

The next day, I read a mesmerizing book of poetry written by a man who had been a slave and put into the ‘service’ of a wealthy slave owner as a child of six years of age. Although his verses expose the cruelty of slavery, his poetry reflects the beauty he finds with his parents and his own world.

Book of poetry, cuban poet Juan Francisco Manzano
The Poet Slave of Cuba by Margarita Engle. Poetry of Juan Francisco Manzano.

Meditation via my cell phone is a life saver. I either go to Pandora and listen to Deepak Chopra or I go to the Oprah channel and listen to one of Chopra’s 21 days of meditations. (Many times they are free).

On Sunday, I attended church service where I’m a greeter a couple of times a month. As I passed out bulletins to numerous families, teenagers and the elderly, the smiles people gave after a “good morning, I hope you enjoy the service” enlivened me.

I wondered why I felt a new energy, and it dawned on me that although the people were heavily burdened, they were trying to live and do the best they could.

Over the weekend, I kept in close contact with my daughter and shared the photos above with her. I don’t know if this helped her but it sure helped me.

Do the best you can. Create your own safe space. Hugs. 




Encouragement, Strong Women, tough times, Wisdom

When the Going Gets Tough…

Some weeks are more difficult to get through than others are. Such was this past week:
It began with a ‘non-constructive’ slam of a critique on my last manuscript, spending hours online looking for an apartment in Paris, and feeling the stress of leaving my kids (and new boyfriend) for all of September. 

I know, not earthshaking catastrophes, but these events shook my emotions.

So when I came across this quote:

“When the going gets tough, the tough get going.” Dr. Shuller

My first thought was “yeah, that’s right,” until my heart spoke:

“When the going gets tough, the tough rest.” Mona AlvaradoFrazier 

It’s okay to rest, to power down, be still and feel. It’s okay to dedicate a little time for mourning. (Thank you to a friend who gave me this thoughtful advice after reading the slam critique). It’s okay not to be “strong.”

It’s not about having a tough skin. Even a rhino gets pissed off when stupid birds peck on its back for the hundredth time.
Tough skin needs a break sometimes too.

I’m taking a siesta for a couple of days, unplugging, to dedicate time to rest, heal my spirit, so I can tackle what needs to be done.

In fact, I started this morning. Here’s a few things I came across that made me feel encouraged, inspired, or laugh.


For writers:

Look at life from every angle:

One option:
To remember, next week:

To remember, always:

I hope you have a great weekend. Be tough, be strong and rest. 

Au revoir mon ami.