I hardly recognize the world we live in. Even though I attempt to shield myself from too much news, I can’t avoid the tragedies of political chaos, mass shootings, human suffering, cataclysmic storms and forest fires from reaching my ears. Then there’s climate change. It can cause one to live with low-level anxiety.
In order to give myself some level of relief, I have a few strategies. Writing is my first go to. The immediacy of pen to paper as a mode of expression is so satisfying. I may write in my journal, work on a poem or continue to write on a longer essay that I’ve been working on.
My art studio continues to be a refuge. It’s hard to think about anything else other than the design challenge I have set before myself. Playing with shapes, form, and color is a lovely distraction. Sometimes it’s just a way to let off steam- mostly for my eyes only.
Finally, I decided to try to make a difference at least on a community level. Our local (no kill) animal shelter is mostly run by volunteers. I love animals and since they always seem to be short staffed, I signed up. Every Friday afternoon after my weekly substitute teaching job at the high school, I head over to the Newberg Animal Shelter to feed, clean and hug lots of cats. I love coming in to see that my favorite dogs have found homes and many kitties have been adopted.
. At 6 PM I leave knowing at least here, I have made things just a little bit better.
Here’s a poem reblogged from my post “Reach for Happy” published in August 2017
WE HAVE A CHOICE
Shut off the news
and choose beauty
Let a song well up in your throat
and fill the air
Read poetry, write poetry
Bask in books with happy endings
Shun violent movies, media
and enjoy laughter instead
Treat yourself to lovely music
Watch the birds & look for bees
Sleeping in flowers
Hug your dog, your cat, your partner
or anyone you love
We have a choice