Week of June 21, 2020

TEST TIDBITS:  ADJUSTING AND THRIVING IN OUR “NEW NORMAL”

Feeling depressed, anxious, frustrated, angry, lonesome and uneasy?  There are good reasons for us to feel these emotions—our easy, breezy early spring has bloomed into the reality that we are living in new times and must adjust to survive. We still have an environmental crisis on our hands.  The pandemic, upsetting enough on its own, has put a spotlight on inequalities in every aspect of our common life.  On top of that, the long- repressed racism in our country can no longer be ignored.  This is a lot to deal with at one time.  How can we move forward with adjustment and resilience and hope?  This, of course, is a huge question and not easily answered.  However, there are a few things we can do to set the framework of adjustment to this “new normal”.  The following list of suggestions come from an article written in the New York times by K. Wang, added to in the Creation Care Newsletter by Dr. Keith Shiffert and given an “earth steward” emphasis here.  

  1.  We all must accept and flow with the changes needed because of the pandemic.  Good hand washing, physical distancing and mask wearing in crowded places will continue to be needed.  Fighting these restrictions will result in more distress.  Based on good science, the best course is to gracefully accept restrictions to stop the spread of Covid-19.  As to the environmental crisis and the social unrest, we can choose to use our emotional responses as “energy” to spur us on to do the work of finding SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, realistic and time-lined) solutions. Think about writing down your feelings and emotions.
  2. We can learn or re-learn good self-care actions.  We know that good sleep, exercise and diet are important in our health and in our resiliency.  We can practice deep breathing and meditation and prayer.  We can be out-doors more and be aware of God’s creation. We can keep a balanced diet of incoming news.  We must keep informed, but not obsessed with the news.  Finding reliable sources is important.  
  3. We can take pleasure in the small things in life.  Keeping a gratitude diary is helpful.  Reach out to others, write a note, do some kind things like sharing books or lists of favorite movies.  Now is a perfect time to learn how to identify plants, flowers, trees. Etc.  Look for the “ecological trail” in your observations.  Keep reaching out to family and making sure that, despite restrictions on hugs and kisses, they are loved.
  4. Now is the perfect time to contemplate our “wants and needs” lists.  We might discover that baking bread together is tastier and more fun than going to the fast food place.  We may find we like to stay at home more or really enjoy a new hobby—all ways of living that could impact our spending habits and the environment.
  1. Finally, having worked on using our emotions as motivations.  It is time to take some actions.  These actions might begin with deeper study, opening the checkbook to organizations that work for eco-justice, writing your political leaders about concerns (for example—asking for new infrastructure projects to include sustainable energy projects)

Or willingness to serve on boards and joining organizations that work for the common good.  For the education part here are a few websites to consider.  Please go to www.episcopalchurch.org>creationcare , www.episcopalchurch.org>creationcare>eco-justice , www.nationalgeographic.com, www.sciencefriday.co (has kids activities, too), www.fore.yale.edu (articles and information on the Yale Forum on Religion and ecology).

A prayer guidance from the Book of Common Prayer:

                 Direct us O Lord in all our doings with your most gracious favor and further us with your continual help; that in all our works, begun, continued, and ended in you, we may glorify your holy name, and finally, by your mercy, obtain everlasting life; through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

EARTH STEWARD Action:  Follow steps one through five above.  Take one day at a time.

SOURCES:  The Creation Care Newsletter by Dr. Kent Shiffert. Your can find the newsletter by going to www.epen.org