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Finding Joy in Turbulent Times

Let’s face it, our country is going through some extraordinarily complicated times, isn’t it? Everybody’s stressed to the max and feeling on edge. With all the chaos, it’s hard to know what tomorrow has in store for us. What’s sad are the families divided by their blue and red loyalties.

That divisiveness doesn’t make for much “oneness” in our lives. Lately I’ve been wondering what we can do to feel a sense of ease and joy, not just for a fleeting moment, but for a way of being, every day.

I have an idea! When you’re sick and tired of hearing the news or when everyday life gets to be too much, head out to your garden! Now more than ever, it’s time to get down to earth.

We’ve all seen the reports extolling the emotional, physical, mental, and social health benefits of gardening, but did you consider gardening is the perfect antidote to stress and politics? 

I’m convinced being out in Mother Nature, surrounded by all her beauty, can have an immediate impact on your mood. If you don’t have your own garden, visit a nearby public garden or go see a friends garden. 

Last fall, I visited the Mendocino Botanical Garden and fell in love with their begonia collection. Each one was so vibrant, and OH! the colors made my heart sing! I hope it does the same for you!

To find more joy in your life, I recommend reading The Book of Joy with Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu. It is a beautifully written book that exemplifies how these two extraordinarily spiritual men find peace in their lives despite the controversy that continually surrounds them. I love this quote from the book: 

“Any possibility of joy requires an acceptance of reality.”

That’s so true because the first step in making any kind of positive change in your life begins with accepting “what is.” Without full acceptance for whatever is going on in your life, you’ll go around in circles, like having one foot nailed to the floor. How about this for an idea? Take that nail out so you can find another way to get it done.

Let me ask you this, my friend: How do you respond with grace and ease, to the chaos that surrounds you? We all have our ways and these times are teaching us to carve out time each day in three ways:

1.     Get serious about self-care. Taking conscious care of our well-being has never been as important as it is right now. Get that facial. Schedule a massage. Treat yourself to a gorgeous bouquet of flowers. Take that trip you’ve been putting off. Then you can reflect that self-care outward to include the environment and the world around us.  

2.     Every day be out in nature. Even if it’s just for a short walk. People are craving to be around beauty and Mother Nature does not disappoint! If the weather is lousy, bundle up. You’ll be glad you did! 

3.     Last but not least, once a day get still. Get to a place of neutral, like the neutral gear in your car. Turn off the TV, silence the chatter, and just “be” for twenty minutes. 

Full admission here… with everything going on, I’m meditating twice a day to stay in a place of calm. It takes time, but it helps me be my own “island in the storm.”

TIP:  Download the free app Insight Timer. You’re bound to find something you like. They give you an astounding 32,000 meditations, music, and bedtime stories, designed to get you to slow down and breathe

“Sometimes silence is the best answer.”
– Dalai Lama

Trust it. We will get past this divisive and stressful time. You know you’re not alone. Everybody’s going through it; reach out to your community to spread some joy. Maybe the words to this song will remind you…

We get by with a little help from our friends. 

My hope is that this blog will help you somehow cultivate and harvest your own wisdom in ways that truly serve you and your community. 

First stop: Be in nature. It’s the best place to find the peace and joy. We all deserve that in our lives.

Toni Gattone

Toni Gattone

Adaptive Gardening Expert & Inspirational Change-Agent.Toni’s enthusiasm is contagious. She is passionate about empowering gardeners with practical, how-to information. While gardeners of all ages and abilities appreciate her work, she especially enjoys working with modern elders, boomers and seniors who are growing older and yet want to live bolder lives. Her posts are information rich, with helpful resources, that will keep you coming back for what’s new. Toni is a caring and compassionate gardening guide and cheerleader, and oh by the way, she’s very Italian.

4 thoughts on “Finding Joy in Turbulent Times”

  1. Thank you for this Toni. It is so timely, but also great advice and reminder even if times were not so turbulent as they are. Centering and quiet peacefulness is imperative in our busy, noisy, crowded lives to be our best and make the best decisions.
    Just a side tip; “The Book of Joy” can be found in audio version. Keep up being inspiring and supportive.

    Reply
    • Thank you Janet, for the tip about The Book of Joy being available in audio. It is such an inspirational book, I think I’ll download it so I have it with me when I’m out on walks in nature or working in my garden. We can never have too much joy!

      Reply
  2. Closed Until Further Notice by Louise Moises

    My favorite café closed until further notice,
    I worry about their ability to survive
    the charming Vietnamese women
    who have learned my name,
    memorized my order.

    We keep each other safe from the spread of the virus
    hiding in our homes.
    Where is the virus hiding?
    On the tables of the café,
    in between our fingers,
    in strands of our hair,
    on doorknobs,
    in cracks of the sidewalk
    in the air, in our fear?

    My favorite café is closed until further notice.
    I miss the buzz of activity:
    school children arriving to order power drinks
    and ice cream cones: bubble gum flavor or chocolate.
    the table of three grey-haired women
    escaped from the Senior Center
    unwrap sandwiches, share conversation,
    their laughter bouncing off the walls,
    the lady from the nursing home around the corner
    who arrives at one each day, she scoots herself
    in a wheel chair, digs into a sack around her neck,
    finds enough change for a small bag of chips,
    serious businessmen meet to discuss stock trends
    ordering only coffee. They take up precious space,
    students with open laptops,
    nannies with someone else’s children,
    postman sorting mail,
    cop on his beat…
    All once gathered at my favorite café
    Now closed until further notice.
    I look forward to the day
    when the sign comes down
    torn to tiny shreds by the
    sandwich making hands
    of my Vietnamese friends.

    Reply

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