I read an essay this morning in the Wall Street Journal, written by Dr. Arthur Kleinman, a 79-year old man who is turning his isolation into a time of growth. He learned, while taking care of his late wife during her years with Alzheimers, to celebrate shared experiences, most of all the mundane tasks of the day.
During this quarantine time—one of complete isolation for him—he is now organizing his day around highly ritualized activities and giving himself over to them. He is looking for ways to grow rather than moping and sighing through his day.
He reminds us all that a plague is a moment to ask what life is for.
According to the great philosopher and psychologist, William James—as referenced in this same essay by Dr. Kleinman—people are a collection of habits. Habits (both new and old) can carry us ahead in an organized way. We can learn to become more present in our lives.
I know a lot of women who are struggling during quarantine.
Every day feels a bit like Groundhog Day.
What about you?
Are your mundane responsibilities—with little outlet for variety—testing your patience?
Do you have an opportunity to revisit your response to the mundane responsibilities of your life?
What can you lean into with a different perspective? Where can you find the joy in the habits and rituals of your day, both necessary and chosen?
- While you’re cooking, can you savor aromas, textures and tastes?
- While you’re picking up the clutter, can you appreciate the evolution toward the eventual moment of peaceful surroundings?
- Can you look forward to, with anticipation, your workout?
- Can cleaning the house—dusting, vacuuming and washing floors—represent a time for peace and thoughtfulness?
- Where can you reward yourself in your day? What do you most love doing? Is it finding 30 minutes to read a novel, purely as an escape and enjoyment? Do you want to relax into a favorite Netflix series?
Start saying no.
Are you intentionally saying no to habits during your day that rob you of better, healthier habits? Are you managing your consumption of the news? Do you pay attention to your scrolling time on social media? Where do time wasters creep into your day and steel away precious time for the things you continue to not get to?
Where can you add meaningful habits and rituals to your day?
Dr. Kleinman experienced joy in growth.
Are you missing out on an opportunity to grow as you count your days till the end of quarantine?
* Could you journal your experience?
* Take an online class?
* Learn a new skill?
* Write a friendly note—one per day—to your family and friends.
* Uplevel a room in your home?
* Fit in a new workout you haven’t had an opportunity to get to?
Where is your opportunity for growth?
Will you feel more joy if you’re growing?
**Perhaps you’d like to take action**
Join my “5-Day Reignite Your Life” Challenge. It starts on June 15, 2020. Sign up at www.aletanorris.com/ReigniteYourLifeChallenge.
I’m grateful for you.
Have a lovely week.