At the end of each of each of her podcast episodes, one of my fav’s, Jen Hatmaker, asks her guests “what’s saving your life right now?”. She credits the genesis of the question to one Barbara Brown Taylor. I was right now years old when I Googled BBT and discovered she’s an Episcopal priest and apparently one of the US’s best known preachers. Lord knows, I am always learning. Thanks, Internet.

Anyway, I love that question. I’m usually surprised by the answers. Some academic will pop off with “mascara” is saving her life and you’re like, yeah, Sister. *Side note: I have not reached the stage of the pandemic where any sort of makeup is saving my life. In fact, when I do go out in public now it is so rare that I am wearing makeup that I don’t even know who I am. I do admit that I bought a Ring Light for my video calls so don’t get any ideas that my vanity has subsided, it’s just a weird time.* Back to our story of the asteroid of the pandemic hitting our earth this spring. In this strange liminal stage, I find it especially important to continue to find the thing that would save my life right now. Because, Friends, that is a fucking moving target. 

Early in the pandemic it was Animal Crossing and reading way too many mysteries. It was all about escape. The whole family binged “Brooklyn 99” (no regrets) and revisited “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” – comfort food for the brain. As the days went to weeks went to months and the whole thing has spun out into this absolutely unexpected societal tsunami, I’ve found it increasingly important to meet myself each day and figure out what I need. 

Some days I wake up ready. Ready to embrace the day as it is. Centered, smiling and expansive. On those days, I write the words that make my heart sing. I move through the tasks necessary to move my life forward like a flowing water. It’s a full on Snow White singing with the birds kind of vibe. And I love it. I think I’ve had a total of four of those days this entire time.

But, other days. Wow. It’s dragging out of bed and finding the one thing I can do that day. The overwhelm and the sadness press in on me on those days. On those days my mantra is “all shall be well, and all shall be well, and all manner of thing shall be well” – a little Julian of Norwich for you. 

On the medium days, though, what’s saving my life right now? Were Jen to invite me on her show – which she has multiple times in my mind – and asked me that question, what clever thing would I have to share with her? 

Well, first I’d have to just give gratitude to my big three – walking, meditating and writing in my journal. Those always will be what’s saving my life. If you are suffering and don’t indulge in any of those three, I suggest starting with any one of those and adopting a daily practice. I spent decades insisting I had no time to any of these and well, Dear Reader, that was a stupid lie told to boost my own self importance. Thank God, I outgrew that. 

Podcasts are saving my life (see opening paragraph). Besides my own *insert shameless plug for Trust Tree Talks* I have completely gotten into all that podcasts have to offer. Whatever I’m curious about, someone has a podcast about it. I’m not much for the murder podcasts. But give me a good mental health, mindfulness or personal development show and I’m here for it. And planning for Trust Tree Talks, thinking about what I want to learn and what I’d like to ask our guests and hearing their stories. That is saving my life. It gets me out of my head. I love connecting with our guests and I always learn something from my episodes with Lisa. 

Books. Books will always save my life. I’ve crawled out from the barrage of mysteries a bit and am reading a broader range of fiction. But, I am being gentle. And nothing, NOTHING, post-apocalyptic. No, thank you.  

Monterey Bay Aquarium Live Jelly cam on YouTube is the shit. It’s mesmerizing to watch jellies float with gentle spa music in the background. Trust me on this. 

Family Movie Nights – with summer weather we invested in an outdoor movie setup and created the Patio Theatre in our backyard. There is nothing that brings more joy to my soul than gathering with my fam on the patio with popcorn and the full-sized candy bars I sprang for in case I needed to bribe the kids, and watching whatever grabs our attention. On the night we pressed play on Hamilton, I was high. I wish I could bottle the mix of joy and gratitude I felt when those opening notes sounded and take a hit off of it in the hard moments. Because, to be real, the evenings don’t always end wonderfully – movies that haven’t aged well, aggressive mosquitos and the call of friends on video games have all cut our together time short. But those moments as the night kicks off, man, they are the sweetest.

So, that’s a short inventory of what’s working for me right now. I’ve had sustaining video chats with friends and my coven, lots & lots of texts with friends both old and new (and some old that are new again), and conversations with my kids that delight me. Keep me laughing. Keep me sane. 

I’m curious, what’s saving your life now?