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A Time for Tenderness and Tending

Written by MJ Ryan, SheEO Development Guide

Image: @happywholeway

As we experience the ending of summer 2021 (or winter, depending on what hemisphere you live in), hopefully you’ve experienced a measure of respite from the onslaught of Covid. But, as Krista Tippet, creator of the On Being podcast and newsletter, writes in a recent email, “It hasn’t been the season of release and refreshment that many of us hoped for and needed.”  Some of us are locked down, others facing surges…It’s still not an easy time, despite our desire for that to be different.

Given that reality, I’d like to share some of the rest of Krista’s post for she describes so beautifully where I believe many of us are right now. And I encourage you to listen to her whole conversation with Christine Runyan that she refers to here:

“We’ve still scarcely been able to pause individually, much less communally, to metabolize the many forms of loss and disruption and learning that 2020 set in motion. These have continued. And the virus is not done with us. Terrible dramas of pain and danger are built into the state of the world right now. And the natural world, of which the virus is a part, is a source of deepening ecological grief in the very same moment that many of us have rediscovered our inborn delight in it, our belonging to it.

“I’m feeling called to name all of this inside myself, and with all of you. As Christine Runyan counseled in the therapeutic conversation I had with her — about the effects of the pandemic and social isolation on our nervous systems and psyches — naming even the hardest truths musters our innate agency to face and hold them. The truth is, the most ideal of summers [or winters] could not have restored the ease and equilibrium we desire. Yet a potential for tenderness — toward ourselves, toward others — is unleashed in a clear-eyed gaze at the unresolved ruptures in our midst. Possibilities for new life reside, in part, in holding the knowledge that the learning and work to which we have been called will not wait for us to be fully restored. As we are able, we must build practices of accompaniment, of tending refreshment — in equal measure to repairing and building and growing — into life, and life together. We must make the places and the pixels of our life together more vital, more replenishing.”

Krista reminded me that grief comes in all sorts of forms, not just during the death of a loved one. As I wrote about in Surviving Change You Didn’t Ask For, anytime something difficult not of our choosing happens, we experience grief. That’s why I was drawn to share this graphic—it outlines many but certainly not all of the losses that we may be experiencing.

If this describes you, whether from something on this list or some other loss, please be gentle with yourself. It’s truly a time for tenderness and tending.

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