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“Where there is no vision, there is no hope.” – George Washington Carver

Another press conference, another cycle of change… 

Shock – this isn’t happening.

Denial – this is b.s.  They say that we need 60-70% infected – so let’s just infect people and get this over with, it’s not that bad.

Frustration/anger – fear of the future… blaming – how am I going to pay my bills, my business is drying up, my kids can’t play sports.  Anger at the leaders of the states, the country. Anger at businesses that are deemed as “essential”; frustration because if you are an essential business you are so overwhelmed and are working more than ever and are at complete burnout; anger at whatever triggers you.

Depression – numbing, I can’t do this another month – drinking, comfort eating, sleeping.

The thoughts, emotions, feelings of – this sucks. This isn’t fair.  This is a crock of sh…  Look at the other states, they are opening up.   Essential workers get to WORK, they have a paycheck coming in.  Why did some people get the stimulus money and we didn’t?  Such a gamut of emotions.

Normal… what is normal?  When will we get back to the way it was?

It’s interesting to watch not only others in the cycle of change, yet to see it in myself.  When COVID19 was named a pandemic, the utter shock, fear, hurt for others.  7-8 weeks later, it’s as if we are becoming numb to what is going on.  We just want to get back to “normal”.  Yet what is normal?   It’s our habits, patterns, routines… it’s what we know, what we expect – the usual, typical, standard.  It’s what feels good. It’s what feeds our dreams, our vision, our goals.

A friend of ours was saying he hates the term “new normal”.  There is no such thing as normal.  Life is full of ups and downs and what we make of it, is our choice.  As I contemplate this, I understand what the term “normal or new normal” means.  I just need to know and want to know HOW to operate in this world, my space, my community, my business.

According to Wikipedia  Hope  “is an optimistic state of mind that is based on an expectation of positive outcomes with respect to events and circumstances in one’s life or the world at large.  As a verb, it’s definitions include: “expect with confidence” and “to cherish a desire with anticipation.”

As we scramble to find our place in this “new world”, can we expect with confidence and anticipate good things are going to happen and if so, WHEN?  The question that rolls around in me is what value can I bring?  We, along with the majority of small businesses that are “nonessential”, get to redefine ourselves.  Restructure, shift, pivot, adjust, recreate.  It’s scary, it’s exciting, it’s overwhelming, it’s frustrating.

How can we have hope if we don’t have a vision?

I am reminded of the Etch-a-sketch toy.  We create, draw, and then it gets “shook”… it’s a blank slate all over.  Sometimes we have a beautiful creation and someone “bumps” the etch-a-sketch and we lose what we created.  Sometimes, we don’t like what we’ve created and we shake it to start over.   If we shake it, we are in control.  It’s our choice and it’s easier to start over.  If someone else bumps it or shakes it, they did it “to me” and just took something away from me, which creates anger, frustration and oftentimes we quit.

Today, as I am “shook”, I look at our state, this country, this world and I want to see with eyes of understanding, to have a heart of compassion, to be a helping hand, a shoulder to cry on.  To breathe hope even though it feels like hope doesn’t exist right now for many of us.

Hope says, “there will be a brighter day and a better tomorrow”

Hold on to your dream.   What are your dreams?  Just because it’s not happening now or the way you thought it would, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.   So often when we are in the midst of adversity and challenge, it’s a tool to help us see things differently.  If we can’t do it this way, what can we do?  We discover strengths, talents that we didn’t know existed and our dreams become even better.

Keep the vision in front of you.  Write it on a whiteboard, create a dream board, write it in a notebook.  Yes write, draw, dream, create.

Hold onto your lifeline.  What grounds you?  What gives you stability, strength, courage?  What are your values?  Plug into your faith, family, the things that give you strength.

Practice gratitude.  Even if you don’t feel like it, write down 3-5 things you’re grateful for.  Gratitude unlocks life.  I am grateful for the birds that are chirping, I am grateful that I have food in my refrigerator, I am grateful for technology, I am grateful for a new day… for my health. 

Breathe.  Take in a deep breath… do you feel that?  You’re alive!  And while there’s breath in our bodies, we have this moment, this time, this place.

Focus on the choices you DO have.  What choices do you have today that will help you hold on to hope?  To peace?   We get to choose our attitude.  We choose what thoughts we think.  We choose how we interact with our kids, significant others, our animals, parents, loved ones.  We choose what fuel we use to drive our bodies (food, drink). We choose our level of activity. We choose what we read, watch, listen to.

Today is a new day.

It is my DAY 1.

I choose hope.


Mary Belden-McGrath

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