Welcome to my first blog of 2021, a year I’ve decided to devote to staying as positive, patient and strong as possible in the midst of ongoing challenges in our world. I hope, first of all, that this finds you well. And I hope you’ll join me in my 2021 endeavor. Here’s the plan. Each month this year, I intend to share three positive things and hope you will share back with me. They can be anything really – anything that lifts you up, gives you hope, makes you smile. As RM from that great Korean Pop (‘K-Pop’) band BTS said recently, “I kept repeating to myself, ‘We have to be happy, we have to smile,’ about life during COVID-19.
So here goes … my three positive things for January …
Rocks of Love
My friend Robin tuned me into the whole rock-painting trend on one of our ritual Sunday morning walks around our beautiful local, duck-, geese- and swan-filled pondside park. She spotted a white-painted rock under a tree with big green letters spelling out ‘Feel Good’. (A few feet ahead there was a similar rock under another tree that said ‘Poop’ – o.k. I guess some are more inspirational than others!) Anyway, a little more looking around, talking with others and researching made me realize that people are decorating rocks with peaceful, motivational and just happy images and messages, especially comforting during these difficult COVID times. Some ask you to pick up the rock and move it to a new spot. Some people pick up a rock and replace it with one of their own. Daughter Jamie and I designed the rocks shown here, which I strategically placed around town … at local parks, the library, the school and to add to a friend’s front yard collection. We also created a few special ones to put on both my dad’s and grandmother’s gravestones and I noticed others had done that for their loved ones. (Jim painted the one with the signature capital ‘B’ logo for my dad’s beloved Brooklyn Dodgers and Jamie painted the violin.) I have to be about the worst, sloppiest painter in the world, but it felt good to do it and I have some more rocks waiting. Plus,we got them at a beach near us, which I thought made things extra special – especially for dad, who loved the ocean.)
Books of Hope
I just love my little bookshelf in the little corner of my bedroom that’s become my little home office. It’s big on inspiration, hope, healing and strength … featuring the likes of Wayne Dyer, Eckhart Tolle, Pope Francis, Ta-Nehisi Coates and more. There’s The Book of Joy by Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu I just bought and look forward to reading. There’s Barack Obama’s A Promised Land I received as a gift and am halfway through, where he talks about looking at things as they are but also as they could ideally be in a more perfect world. There are some travel books for when I feel comfortable doing that again. And there are wellness and mindfulness journals galore. Singer/songwriter Patti Smith and poet John Keats are even there. It makes me happy just to look at it and I look forward to reading each and every one some day.
Buying for Good
Like many of us essentially home-bound COVID captives who are lucky enough to be healthy – but often lonely and bored enough to get into some bad habits, like obsessive shopping – I have been buying my fair share of mostly online products. Some I feel less guilty about than others as they have purpose. Like the drawer full of Bombas socks, where they give a pair of socks to the homeless for each pair you buy. I’ve joked about taking out a second mortgage for said purchases – they’re fairly pricey at $18 a pair – but they’re as comfy as they are charitable. And I’ve got all the textures, colors, patterns and styles (wool, lightweight, calf, ankle) to make me happy, as good socks always do (call me easily amused)! I also have a nice collection now of the 4-Ocean bracelets, where they take a pound of garbage out of the ocean with each purchase. It started with a gift from a good friend. Then I decided to go a little crazy buying several colorful varieties (along with a bracelet that protects Koala bear habitats, from a group called ‘Regrow’), plus a few t-shirts. There’s my Stony Brook University ‘swag’ where I feel good promoting my employer’s good name and helping keep their bookstore going (lol). And, finally, friends of mine recently gave me a membership to the National Wildlife Federation for my birthday (great gift, right?) along with the AMAZING large, super-soft fleece penguin blanket – how cool is that?
In short, sometimes it’s the little things that keep you going and keep your spirits high (or at least higher). As Sheryl Crow sings, “If it makes you happy, it can’t be that bad!”What have you been up to this month?