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by Lindsay Adams

This is the first monthly installment of our new column “Living Well” by Lindsay Adams. You can find more great thoughts and life tips by visiting livingwellwithlinds.com.

As we wrap up another week and head towards more holidays, a usually light and happy time for most, we find ourselves further restricted by the uptick in reported COVID-19 cases, and the restrictions that are coming as a result.

Is it even possible to be our normal, cheery, and optimistic selves this year, given the fact that schools have returned to virtual learning, more people are getting sick, restaurants are once again closing, and there continues to be so much uncertainty on the horizon?

All of this comes just as our country is heading into a season of gratitude and hope – two emotions that seem to be buried deep beneath our stress and exhaustion. But what if the timing of all of this may, in fact, offer us the perfect opportunity to dig deep into the most important things of life? What if this season, with or without the big family gatherings, served all of us up a huge portion of grateful hearts for all of the blessings that we have – the big and small things that have been overshadowed by the events of the past 9 months?

What if Christmas, Hanukkah, and Kwanzaa, these beautiful celebrations of faith and hope, were quieter this year? What if we were forced to be still, and lean into the truth of their meaning and the message they are trying to deliver? What if, in losing the ability to have things our way, we found something new… a new significance, an “a-ha moment” that gave us just what we needed to go the rest of this journey, however long it may be.

When things are spinning out of control, whether it be changes in our every day due to a pandemic, or simple things that just don’t go as expected, we are faced with a choice. Will we sit in angst and anger? And believe me, that is certainly an option. (No one can take that away from you!) Or, will we choose to view it a different way, decide how we want to show up for ourselves and others, and move in a new direction? But how? I’m so damn tired of it all.

Here’s just one thought. The reality is that even though we hope that tomorrow things will be better, we cannot live each day in hope of the next. Otherwise, we miss out on today. Well, “Today sucks!” you may be saying. That may be true, but it’s the gift we have been given, and our ongoing focus on what is coming next keeps us in a constant state of longing for something better. Again, “What’s the problem with that?” you may be asking.

Well, the truth is that eventually, our tomorrows will run out. Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but that’s it in a nutshell. And no one knows when it’s your turn for your last tomorrow. What if by being more present for today, today started to look different? What if all today was asking for was a little attention? What if we gave today – and not just the day, but the moments within the day – more focus?

Would we see more beauty and hope and less of the negative? Would we become more grateful because we took the time to see that blessings were all around us? And, would we find a stillness that only comes when we make peace with the “now,” that would not only bring us more joy but the people we come in contact with?

We’ll never know, but I say it’s worth a try. Time is moving quickly and before we know it, 2021 will be here. While it’s a pretty safe bet that most of us are happy to wrap-up 2020, let’s not be so quick to let these next few weeks just come and go.

The holiday season, no matter how you celebrate, has a gift for all of us. It’s the gift of quiet reflection, peace and ultimately hope. These gifts are there to be had in the stillness of the true meaning of each holiday, and pandemic or not, they remain. Do not allow what seems like the reality of fear, uncertainty and stress to keep you from taking time during the holiday season to experience those gifts.

Let’s collectively acknowledge that the COVID-19 Grinch has taken so much from us already, but it cannot take away our spirit. And let’s do ourselves the biggest favor of all by working hard to be more mindful of each of our moments in these final weeks of 2020. When we do this, we make space for the gifts of the season – love, hope, peace, and joy.

Lindsay Adams is a Firestone resident, blogger, and wellness resource for those seeking to bloom in their next chapter of life. Check out www.livingwellwithlinds.com for more great topics.