With the prevalence of news available to us all in a 24/7 cycle we are all witness, daily, to the unfolding traumas of this pandemic. Every single day we have access to the powerlessness and vulnerability of our families, communities, countries and world. We can quickly see what is happening – not just with COVID19 but also with every other form of trauma. Deaths are broadcast, shootings, climate impacts and much more. The flood of information is completely overwhelming.
On the one hand, I feel I must be aware of what is happening in the world and in my own community. To me a responsible citizen gathers information and makes decisions based on the knowledge and expertise that is available. And yet, the available information is literally changing moment by moment. All I can do is make the best decisions I can at any given moment.
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One of those decisions is to limit my interactions with this daily stream of information. It does not serve me to watch all the time. And it often takes an extra layer of energy to unpack what I have watched. I find myself exhausted by all the access to information. The overwhelming nature of the information is grief inducing along with the levels of stress it brings. The grief remains with me all the time – I don’t need more information to know that the heartbreak is everywhere.
As a sensitive person I know that I need to do other things to take care of myself. Do something besides expose myself to media meals throughout the day. To take care of myself I need music, quiet, and encouraging things to read and do. I need to be outdoors, walk, fill bird feeders, spend time in nature.
Yesterday I spent the morning spreading mulch. A neighbor generously gave me the remainder of his mulch load because he had ordered too much. It was a much larger pile than I anticipated, and I was happy to fork it into my wheelbarrow and push it around into my back yard. It was a task filled with just the right kinds of energy. The satisfaction of filling in spaces that have needed mulch for a while. The wonder of being outdoors in the sun working up a good sweat. The bliss of getting dirty. The joy of moving that gifted mulch into spaces that will hopefully thrive because of this blessing of moisture the mulch will bring. It was hard physical work that was fulfilling.
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Today I planted sunflower starts in larger pots. They have been growing on my kitchen table in order to protect their tender young shoots from being eaten. Hopefully, it will not be long until they are ready to plant in my garden. And I have made plans for more vegetables. I have inventoried the seeds I already have and am considering what else I might like to grow.
What are all these things about? To me they are a sign of hope. Planting seeds is an investment in a future I cannot see. A future that is unknown at any time for any of us. A future that under our current circumstances seems vastly vulnerable. We cannot know what the future holds. But I can plant carrots and squash and peas and onion sets and tomatoes. I can put seeds in the ground and hope to see sunflowers or cockscomb or holly hock in the future.
I can trust that even though I cannot see what is happening to those seeds, something will come. And in that hope, I have moved my body, stepped away from the news cycle, been outdoors in the sun and stayed in the stillness and the possibility of something new.
Want to learn how to plant your own sunflowers? Watch the video below form some great sunflower growing tips.