If you asked me how my heart feels these days, the first three words that come to mind are tired, sad, and worried. There are other things there too—hope, excitement, love, curiosity, relief—but I’m much more practiced at noticing what feels difficult and heavy.
We generally know what’s making life hard, but how often do we take the time to notice what is helping?
Every year, Anne Bogel of Modern Mrs Darcy reflects on the question inspired by Barbara Brown Taylor’s memoir, Leaving Church…What’s saving your life right now?
I think about this question every so often. It’s easier to find an answer in some seasons than in others. I appreciate that Anne’s yearly link-up comes in February when winter has already outstayed its welcome and spring still seems impossibly far away.
Some years when Anne posts the question, I share my answers (see here and here ). Some years I don’t. I always think about it and, at least until I forget again, it shifts the way I see my life.
As always, there are plenty of things I can add to my list once I take the time to think about it. I’ll highlight two of them here.
Reading is comfort, enjoyment, and learning for me. My book budget cannot even come close to keeping up with my book consumption and picking up a fresh stack to bring home from the library never ceases to be both exciting and calming.
The library is also my favorite place to write. It’s where I practiced consistently carving out time to do work I wanted to do in a way that felt supportive. It’s where I learned that I am absolutely capable of following through for myself.
When the libraries closed in 2020, I struggled to keep up my habit of regular focused writing time. These days, I’m remembering that I can always come back to myself to begin again. When the chores and worries of life seem to crowd everything else out, I can support myself by going to a beloved place with a purpose…where the only other thing I have to do is decide which books will come home with me this week.
Watching Myself on Video
I’m a writer and I’ve been blogging since 2014. More recently I’ve been experimenting with putting down the pen and getting in front of the camera. This is saving my life in a number of ways—some hoped for and others surprising.
My inner kid, who loved performing but was too quiet to get parts in the school plays, is thrilled to play with a camera and microphone.
My creativity had been feeling stagnant and the process of creating something new is sparking energy and ideas for things to make, articles to write, and more videos to record.
The aspect of recording and editing videos that’s surprised me the most is how the process is helping me feel more connected with myself and my body. I knew that speaking with my voice would feel different from sharing my words through writing, but I didn’t expect to feel more grounded in who I am.
In watching and editing the videos I record, I’m seeing and hearing myself from a vantage point I don’t usually experience. At first it felt pretty cringey. I was distracted by all the things I did not like about how I looked and sounded.
After a while, however, I’ve gotten more comfortable watching myself on video and even started to enjoy it. I’m discovering and learning to appreciate how I look, move and sound in the space I take up in this world. I’m gaining a fuller picture of who I am…beyond the swirling thoughts in my head.
I feel more warmth and tenderness as I watch myself try and practice something I wasn’t sure I could do. I am able to point to the videos and say to myself, Hey, that’s me! I made that!
( Check out my videos here )
Now I want to turn the question over to you…what is saving your life right now?