RECOGNIZE *** REINVENT***
Today is the first day of spring 2020! Called the March equinox or vernal equinox, it is the season of new beginnings. Traditionally celebrated on March 21, spring of 2020, according to the Farmers Almanac, is the earliest Vernal (Spring) Equinox, to have occurred since 1896. The term Vernal translates to “new” and “fresh,” and what that means is that our hours of daylight grow slightly longer each day since the Winter Solstice in December, ( the shortest day of the year -in terms of light). The vernal equinox marks the turning point when daylight begins to win out over darkness.
The advent of spring this year probably feels very different for most of us. Usually, I’m super excited about the spring equinox, but due to the condition that we find ourselves in with COVID-19 find it difficult to get excited. With longer days and warmer weather, it’s usually the time that I, along with many other people, begin to unfurl from the cold dark winter, attack spring cleaning chores, take long-awaited spring break and vacations, and plan summer outings and events. Instead, many of us find ourselves, unfortunately, with the majority of the world in quarantine or under restrictions. It helps to think of spring and daylight winning over darkness.
While provided with this unexpected, indefinite interruption to day-to-day life and activities, it’s an excellent time to just chill! We can use this downtime to recharge, rethink, reflect, and appreciate what’s important. Spring of 2020 will no doubt be recorded as the year that COVID-19 brought the world to its knees. But just like winter, darkness gives way to the light of spring; we must find a way to look forward to the brighter days that will prevail and welcome spring!
The World Health Organization (WHO) recently declared that the coronavirus outbreak is a global pandemic. According to them, the virus has spread to more than 121,000 people from Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States.
The virus is spread like a common cold, and precautions and prevention are similar to those of a cold:
**ADDITIONAL RECOMMENDATIONS ARE:
It’s our government’s responsibility to provide us with pertinent information. There isn’t too much that we, as individual citizens, can do to circumvent the outbreak. But it is paramount that we exercise caution, perform due diligence to maintain a healthy body, mind, and spirit, by eating a healthy diet, protect your immune system, and remain positive. All in all, it is essential to maintain a state of well-being so that we can continue to live our best lives with caution.
We know that 2020 is a leap year, but did you know that once the leap day is the 29th, that the sum: 2 plus 9 equals 11? Which, according to numerology (which I’m inexperienced in) equals 11, which is a master number. The number 11 has a special spiritual significance and indicates an extremely high spiritual enlightenment and awakening. Under its energy, we grow, feel inspired, creative, enthusiastic, and optimistic.
The year 2020, with its extra day, is the perfect time to seize the opportunity to step out of our cozy, comfort zone, which in turn can provide a higher chance to expand our horizons, make new connections, and land in new situations. We’ve gained an extra day in the year to take advantage of opportunities that abound.
We’re already into the second month of 2020, not only a new year but a brand new decade! Many of us made New Year’s resolutions/goals to do or accomplish certain things to better our lives and possibly of those around us. My goal for 2020 is to live a life with no regrets. After scrutinizing my 2019 thoughts, deeds, and actions, I recognized an important area that I fall short in is “filling buckets. ” I read the book, “How Full is Your Bucket,” last year, and the authors use a “dipper” and a “bucket” as a metaphor to explain that” each of us has an invisible bucket, which according to them is either “emptied or filled.”
In life, we all know people who are happy and positive, but others who are grumpy or negative. Happy people usually fill our buckets and make us feel good, while cynical individuals tend to make us feel sad and empty. Our daily choices impact our relationships, productivity, health, and happiness, and we are at our best when our buckets are overflowing, and at their worst when our buckets are empty. The same is true with others. Every day we have the opportunity to fill other’s buckets, which in turn helps to fill our own. It’s like the idiom, “what goes around comes around.” We set something in motion, either positively or negatively, every time we interact with others. Filling buckets can be as easy as:
*Shining a light on what is right – compliment or recognize what you notice is right, admirable, or positive in another person.
*Giving unexpectedly – look for opportunities to give to another – gifts don’t have to be tangible. It can be a gift of trust or responsibility. Sharing something personal, a hug, or something as small as a smile may fill a person’s bucket.
*Reversing the golden rule – do for others what THEY would like. Bucket filling must be specific to the individual.
In 2020, I plan to seek daily opportunities and make conscious efforts to fill no fewer than five buckets with positive interactions, which in turn will help my bucket overflow with positivity and optimism.
During a recent tutoring session, my young tutee’s lesson was to analyze the poem, “The Clock Man” by Shel Silverstein. After perusing the poem, it hit me like a ton of bricks that time on earth is not infinite. Not that I didn’t know that there is an expiration date for most things, people included. The poem helped to reinforce the fact that time is short, we can’t turn back the hands of time, and that time will inevitably run out.
As is customary at year-end, we reflect on our behaviors, deeds, and life in general over the past year. Some of us make New Year’s resolutions, others set goals. For me, it will be a combination of both as I move into the new decade. One thing is for sure, I plan to pounce on every opportunity that arises for me and make the most of the time I have. Most importantly, from now on, I strive to have “No Regrets!” when the clock runs out.
“Time flies when you’re having fun.” and while it’s been a year and a half, it seems like just yesterday that I disassembled and packed up my classroom for the very last time. I traded my long, daily mundane routines of academia and weekends that passed far too quickly for time to release, relax, and reflect.
By changing my routine, I’ve slowed down to make my days more meaningful by creating unique experiences for each one. I engage in greater mindfulness and focus on savoring each moment of my daily activities, as well as holidays. Not that I don’t plan and look forward to the future, the adage of “live for the moment” is my key to slowing down the quickly passing years.
I don’t know about you, but I’m going to miss summer and those long sunlight hours and late-night outings! It’s my favorite time of the year. Don’t get me wrong; Autumn is a beautiful season, as the leaves change colors, but its somewhat problematic for me to enjoy it when I know that winter, along with long dark days, is soon to follow. I don’t think I have Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD), which, according to the Mayo Clinic, “is a type of depression that begins in the fall and continues in the winter months.” However, about 15 percent of Americans have SAD, and it’s more common among women who live in locations that receive less light during this time.
I do detect a change in my mood when the weather becomes colder and days grow darker. The shorter days make me want to slow down, stay inside as much as possible, and hibernate. It is the perfect time to regroup in mind, body, and spirit, and this year, I plan to prepare for the change in season. This year, in addition to my customary slowing down, I plan to incorporate a few other ways to weather fall consciously: a fall detox, boost my immune system, and I’m considering dry body brushing for the very first time. Stay tuned to find out how they work out 😉
The roses were from one of my closest and longtime friends, Arlene (Mimi), who was one of my travel companions to London and Paris. Our friendship has been unwavering from the moment we met. We’ve been through marriages, relocations, illness, separation, and loss of family members. We’re friends because of our mutual respect, interest in one another’s experiences and thoughts, as well as a sense of connection.
Years ago, we traveled to the Bahamas and Bermuda. For years after, in each ensuing telephone conversation, we spoke about the need to plan a trip abroad. So, when I decided to take the journey to London, Arlene was the first person I called, and without hesitation, she was ready to go, and so we did!
Friendships can be more challenging as we grow older, and quality friendships are essential to our general happiness. It has been proven that people with good friends often feel happier and are less stressed. The presence of strong bonds may foster overall health and happiness… more than even family involvement and support!
Arlene and I have a quality friendship that is sustained because we take the time to share and develop new memories together, not just reminisce about the past. We continue to have fun … laugh at each other’s jokes and folly’s and enjoy life together.” Arlene’s note read, ” world travelers for life.” I say that we are lifelong friends, and “Oh, the Places We Will Go!