It is spring again.
The earth is like a child that knows
poems by heart.
It is spring again.
The earth is like a child that knows
poems by heart.
Rainer Maria Rilke
When people talk,
Most people never listen.
Feel your emotions
Live true your passions
Keep still your mind.
Geoffrey M. Gluckman
Be still each day for as much time as you can spare.
Your life will be changed in powerful ways.
© Copyright Martina McGowan, MD
“As long as I am breathing,
in my eyes, I am just beginning.”
No one will ever need to remind anyone who is alive today, what an ‘interesting” year 2020 has been. There are, of course, many other terms we could use to describe it. There have been many terrible things that have happened this year- tragedy upon tragedy, personal, political, and pandemic-related.
There have been good things, but those tend to be overshadowed by the bad, and the not-so-easily reconcilable.
Dealing with 2020 has been like dealing with a bad or derailing marriage. If you haven’t been party to one, or directly affected by one, then you’ve probably borne witness to at least one. Raw nerves have been exposed. Important issues that we have not taken care of nor dealt with continue to plague us. We continue to try to sweep them under the proverbial rug. And, somehow, we are continually amazed that they keep coming back to haunt us.
Personally, this year I have missed human contact because of the lockdown.
Also, Watchnight will not happen this year. Another missed opportunity to gather with community to jointly reflect on the year that we have just completed, and to
renew focus for the year ahead. A time when good things, bad things, evil things, sinful things, and good deeds are all laid bare on the altar of contemplation. While considering, with prayer, how to make the year ahead better.
But, as we come to this time of year, as we do every year, it is a time of making choices for the transition.
We can wallow in the carnage that was 2020. Or we can choose a different path. Rise and walk a path that reflects and demonstrates our human resilience. We can rise above all that we have borne witness to this year, by choosing to embrace life on slightly different terms, the new normal.
For many years I have chosen a single word “mantra” for the the year. Last year, my word was “Be.” And, despite a sometimes very rocky 2020, with all its ups and downs, turmoil, missteps, and challenges, I think it turned out to be a pretty good year for me to get past “Becoming,” and finally “Be.” But that is for another day.
For this year I have chosen- Embrace
Embrace all that life drops at our doorstep
The good times, and the bitter times.
Embrace the sad times, and the madcap and the maddening times.
Embrace the tearful times, and the terrifyingly terrific times.
Embrace the ebb and flow of all tides that come to us and learn from each.
Embrace the peaks and valleys of this leg of our life journey.
Most importantly, embrace each other and hold tightly.
Remember at every moment that this “may be the last time,” and treat it as such.
Accept things as they are.
Or do something to make the situation different.
By choice, let go, or keep, what does not serve you well.
Pursue and embrace the things that are of value.
We can face anything together.
© Copyright 2021 Martina Green McGowan, MD
We cannot do great things on this Earth,
only small things with great love.
2020 has been a bizarre year by any standard. I don’t think I need to rehash all of them here. And, some events are still unfolding, slowly. But, some good things have emerged as well.
We are approaching the year’s end and this is often a time for reflection and preparation.
Thanksgiving always seems a bitter-sweet holiday for me. A time to remember to be thankful and kind and gracious. But it is also a time (or perhaps a season) when people are filled with sadness and loneliness. As I was growing up, we had great (in number) family gatherings for most holidays, often at my mother’s house. Lots of cooking and good smells and good times. As I have grown older, many of those people, including my parents and my sibs, along with a whole host of others, are no longer alive. They are remembered and missed. This is part of my holiday sadness, but I have others that I can share the joys of “now”.
I am grateful for every person who has crossed my path. I am grateful for every experience, even though I may not have enjoyed them or understood them at the time. I have learned something from each. I am grateful for new friends, acquaintances, and opportunities to continue to learn and to grow.
But there is another side to the sadness of holidays. And that is that the world is full of people who are alone, as well as those who are lonely. Trust me, they are not the same. Some of us are alone and quite content with our situation most of the time. While many are alone because of circumstances within or beyond their control and are far from being content. Still, others are alone because they have built rock-solid walls of protection around their hearts and are afraid to let anyone in again, because they cannot forgive another, or grant themselves forgiveness.
Everyone knows someone who would probably be thrilled to have someone reach out and touch their lives with some small act of kindness.
This is generally a season of hope. Be mindful in extending a little more love, offer a little more hope and grace to the people around you. Not because someone told you to, but because you possess the ability, capacity, and humanity to get it done.
Because of COVID-19, more people will be alone for the next few days. This will be a new way of doing things for them. All the more poignant because it is a “holiday” in which families gather. If someone is on your mind or your heart, why not give them a call or do Facetime with them?
Remember that every person we encounter is struggling with something.
Protect your own peace,
Be a blessing,
@ Copyright 2020 Martina Green McGowan, MD
Approaching the Twilight…
As we edge toward
The twilight of our lives
Let us remind ourselves that
We are still the heroines/ heroes of our own stories
We often offered our best
Remember the tender care of others at our weakest
And the graces we bestowed when at our best
Forgiving ourselves our greatest fears
Most of which never came to light
And occasions when we were at our bravest
Leading the good fight
Look back at the times we felt most uncertain
But look too at the comfort we brought to others
Let us not ruminate too long
On being a host/ess of disease and infirmity
Of failing bones and noisy joints
But move forward in joy and balance
Enjoying the wisdom that time has bestowed
While we have time
While we yet press on
Let us remember to commemorate the lessons learned in bitter disappointments
And to celebrate the sweetness, the triumphs,
That is life
© Copyright 2020 Martina Green McGowan, MD
Photo by Bowen Chin on Unsplash
It does not matter if it is a bad job, a broken New Years’ resolution, or a diet that has gone off the rails. There will be times we will consider quitting. That is not to say that quitting is always a bad choice. Sadly, we have all been taught to believe that quitting is equivalent, or on the same level as a complete failure. But, as we get older and hopefully wiser, we can clearly see that there are a few activities or relationships that are simply not worth continuing. It is important to arrive at your decision to quit or continue actively and consciously, rather than making a reflexive decision.
1. Hit the pause or reset button.
2. Step back from the situation.
3. What is the worst that can happen?
4. Consider taking a new tact.
5. Why are you really thinking about quitting?
6. Consider the times you have quit before.
7. Sometimes we just have to carry on.
Take a moment before making a hasty decision. Take a time-out. Go outside and breathe for a few minutes.
Quitting is not a decision to be taken lightly.
Before making the decision to quit, consider all of the consequences and all of the fall-out.
Speak with a trusted friend, and consider your history.
In some instances, quitting is final.
Avoid creating long-term difficulties to alleviate short-term stress.
Give yourself the necessary time required to make the wisest decision possible.
Cutting away the deadwood, the unserviceable branches, the lovely, but deadly and dangerous weeds is grueling work. But it’s not the trees or plants that we are talking about, is it? It’s the people in our lives who seem to take so much more than they give. Or, those few that we are not even sure why we are still friends. Were we ever? Yes.
People float in and out of our lives. Some pass out of the light because of changes in their circumstances, sometimes the changes are in ours.
But, as we get wiser, whether it stems from age or experience, we become a little more selective about what we will allow. We learn that everyone we meet on life’s journey does not have our best interests at heart. We often learn this the hard way. And there are some who genuinely do care about and for us; treasure these. Some people are on a totally different page or agenda. Sometimes, we just drift apart through no one’s fault. Sometimes we lose interest in the activities and realize that this has been our only connection.
It is that annoying pull that we contend with for those situations and occasions that we still show up to, but we know it has become a habit or routine. We no longer feel invested in the people, places, or events. One, or all three.
We try to hide from the painful truth that we need to figure out how to deal with it all differently, or better, or not at all. Dare we choose to let them go? Yeah, that is a tough call and an even harder step to take.
It is hard interior work because it breaks our hearts. It is hard exterior work because it makes for uncomfortable conversations.
But, whether you choose to stay or to go, to keep doing what you’re doing, or to take a different path, Dearheart, choose to be honest with yourself. Things will never be absolutely perfect or easy, but stop telling yourself that something is what it is not.
Plans fail us. People often fail us. Sometimes we even let ourselves down. But, if we have an underlying belief in ourselves, and a compelling “why” we want to pursue our target, then we have a choice to make. Sometimes one that we must make over and over every single day of our lives.
We can choose to lie down and wallow in what’s going on, accept it is as fate, and stop whining about it.
Or, we can get back up, one more time, breathe deeply, and raise your banner high, and vow to continue to fight our good fight.
Focus on getting that done.
There are a lot of things stirring around in our minds and hearts. Let’s begin a conversation, to share and help carry the load.
What’s on your mind and heart?
(Martina McGowan, MD)
While you are here, sign up to keep up…
The most pathetic person in the world
is someone who has sight,
but has no vision.
Do you struggle with how to design and carry out a clear vision for your life? Does it seem that you are living day to day without a real plan and feeling like you have lost your focus? Here are a few tips to inspire you on how to develop a vision for your future:
1. Reflection time. Make some room in your over-burdened schedule to do nothing but reflect on your life. Having time to ponder how far you have already come and where you are now headed is integral to proceeding to develop your life vision.
2. Open your mind. Surveying your life so far may seem like a rather daunting process when you first sit down to do it. But, you must make time to fully acknowledge what has happened to you and determine whether you honestly feel that you are on the track that you want to be on at this time in your life.
This process will be a challenge, but the end result could produce one amazing life that is perfectly tailor-made for you.
3. Take notes. Think about what you have accomplished so far in your journey. What goals have you met? Write them out. Doing so will cultivate more thoughts of what you have already experienced in life and why. Are you still working toward those goals? Why or why not?
4. Be completely honest with yourself about any choices that you have made in the past that were diversions. When did you make a choice that prevented you from continuing working toward your “real” goal at the time? Looking back now, what do you think was your biggest mis-step?Did some of those choices turn out well? Why? Did they lead you down a path that you now see as more in tune with what you really want?
5. Set goals now. Make a new list of your current goals and wishes for the future.
Perhaps you want a promotion at work. What has to happen in order for that to occur? Create the mini-goals that will be necessary to do do in order for you to meet your main goal of getting that promotion. Leave nothing out. For example, if you need to complete two college classes, include those as goals.
Check off each smaller goal you accomplish as you work toward the larger, overarching goal. It will be a real boost when you do.
6. Post your life aspirations where you can see them regularly. Put them on your mirror, refrigerator, Smart-phone, electronic pad, and bulletin board. Put a copy by your favorite chair in your living room where you can re-read them often. In short, ensure your vision is right in front of your face much of the time.
7. Create a vision board. Use photos from magazines and write inspiring words related to the photos you choose to place on your board. Your vision board is a graphic reminder of what you are working toward single every day.
8. Decide whether that you are indeed living in “the right place.” Does your current home location meet your employment, personal, and financial needs? Is it possible to achieve your goals here? If not, seriously begin to consider your options. Are you willing to move away? If so, include on your goal list everything you must do to get ready to move.
9. Make your life vision a priority! In order to live out the vision that you have developed, you must keep your vision at the top of your list of priorities. Going forward, when making decisions in the future, consider the options that will support your life vision.
Developing your life vision will take time, reflection, and work, but the rewards will be great. Your life will be filled with passion and optimism once you develop your vision. Why wait? Start creating your vision today!
What would you add to this list of ways to get your vision back at the top of your list of priorities?