Easter 2021 Your New Beginnings, How to Identify if You Are Pushing Yourself too Hard and Fix It

Easter 2021, wow a great time to focus on new beginnings. For myself and many of my clients, last year presented the opportunity to focus on health and wellness. The other thing that had a big focus was distractions. Staying busy to stay distracted. If you found yourself in one or both of these camps, a big driver was just how overwhelming the world had become. That kind of pressure can push you in ways that could harm your health. And any decision you make can be challenging to identify if the decision is in your best interest. So, here are some thoughts on why you may be pushing yourself too hard today, a great cheat sheet to identify when you push yourself too hard, and how to fix it to ensure you are building your health and wellness.

The big thing that happened last year was the pandemic. The pandemic may have allowed you to take the time to get back in shape. What else were you going to do? Streaming television hadn’t released a new movie in over a year. You blew threw everything on Netflix, Hulu, Showtime, HBO, etc., etc. somewhere in the first four months of the shutdown. Restaurants, theatres, and other halls of the festive gatherings were closed. Pretty much it was you and your home. 

So, off to the fitness races, many people went, including me. I have an episode “Consciously Helping Your Heart Stay Healthy (Ep. 2 of Heart Health)“, which talks about some of the fitness challenges you face over 50. 

It’s weird. Everything is fine, then you hit 50, and the world does a 180. It’s that vitality thing – the glass is half full or half empty. What is interesting about that analogy isn’t whether it’s half full or half empty. The interesting point is you are at the halfway point, and every step will either take you above half-full or below half-empty.

So, let’s make your steps take over the half-full mark.

You know life is so interesting. When you were younger, it was about figuring out what your body could do. Pushing yourself to your outer limits, challenging your previous goals, go-go-go. You may pick up that same frame of reference when you start getting fit. 

In Chinese Medicine, that is the exact right attitude in the Spring of your life. Spring, our teenage years and early twenties, is about reaching out, pushing for greater heights. 

Summer, on the other hand, is about enjoying your vitality and finishing your best growth. 

The Fall of your life is different. Here, the focus becomes more inward. This is the time for you to get to know yourself. Fall is filled with more patience, more soul searching, more acceptance. 

The flavor becomes different. You are no longer demanding your body push for peak performance as you did in Spring. Nor are you relaxing into all your strengths as you did in Summer. In the Fall, you are taking all your learnings and integrating everything. You and your body are learning to work together in a way you never had to in the past. 

In Classical Chinese Medicine, you come into this life with a curriculum. A curriculum is something you want to learn, improve on, release…something you want to do with this life. To complete the curriculum, the seasons are guideposts to what you need to learn at different stages. Most of Chinese Medicine is a guidepost on how you can best live your life.

And here is where I start to wonder about life and people and me. The energetics of Fall is so different from previous seasons. This is a season of integrating your mind and body. What happens if you fail to change your focus? Do you die? Not always. But failing to change course for the Fall season usually does harm your health.

O.k., so what’s the point. In Chinese Medicine, approaching the Fall of your life in the same manner as you did the Spring of your life means you will miss a meaningful part of being alive. You will miss one of your life lessons. 

When you approach Fall, like say, Spring, you are basically failing to adjust to your new reality which could mean you accidentally do more than your body can handle. And here’s the thing, you’re busy. You’ve been crushing it, working out, managing your eating, changing your life. All that energy one short year ago was distributed over so many noisy activities: parties, restaurants, work, movies, theatre, travel. Now, that energy is focused on you. With nothing else to do, the level of intensity you can focus on yourself is surprising. 

Couple that self-focus with the pressure of the world today, and you can push yourself past your limits without notice. That is why I like my episode on “Consciously Helping Your Heart Stay Healthy (Ep. 2 of Heart Health).” It talks about one of the most significant ways you may harm yourself by pushing too far. This type of effort can overtax the heart leading to some type of cardiovascular event. The episode goes into depth on what to think about when you’re working out. 

Cardiovascular events are more common over 50 and much more common when you push yourself too hard. It doesn’t just have to be working out. It can be working too hard or anything else that moves you too hard.

So, here you are in Fall, and I want you to complete this season successfully. So, I’m going to give you a cheat sheet. It’s my cheatsheet too. I am just as prone to slipping up in the Fall season as some of my clients. So, here it is:

  1. First, start to acknowledge your strengths. Strengths change as you age because you learn more about life. A couple strengths can be:
    1. You actually have a lot of patience. So much more than you did even a decade ago. 
    2. You have more flexibility today and can find resources to help you.
  2. Begin to use your strengths on yourself.
    1.  Allow yourself to be patient with yourself. The minute you feel yourself “pushing for more” (this comes in so many flavors), let go. So, if you’re saying each workout has to be THIS MUCH BETTER, you’re pushing yourself. You want to get better but think about non-linear goals. In my episode, “Lose the Impossible Weight in 5 Minutes a Day – Breaking up Phlegm,”, I start talking about goals that are not linear.
    2. You are finally at a point where you can focus on yourself in a way you never could earlier in life. You have the flexibility and the knowledge to find resources that can help you attain your goals. Take some time to figure out what you want to work on over the next six months to a year and find a professional who can safely help you attain your goals.
  3. Use technology
    1. In my “Gadgets to Help You Stay Healthy” playlist, you’ll find gadgets I use that can help you reach your targets, whether it’s weight loss, eating better, learning to relax, getting in better shape. 
  4. Realize you are important and act on it.
    1. I thought I was doing this, but I wasn’t. This is where you do things for yourself. And you know what? I’ve always found that I value something more if it was a bit of a stretch for me to get it. So here are two significant changes I made in my life around this item. First, I started investing in technology gadgets that could help me obtain or maintain my health because they could reduce time spent and improve health. Second, I started investing in other professionals who could help me get to my goals. You don’t have to be a one-person show, and when you start valuing yourself enough to invest in yourself, you’ll find your path there is much smoother and quicker.

O.k., so there it is, a simple four-step cheat sheet to help you identify when you are pushing yourself too hard and how to fix it by changing your mindset so you are in stride with the Fall season. Hopefully, this will help you stay healthier, happier, and active!

My Second COVID 19 Vaccine – the Health Improvements I Experienced

If you’ve watched my Youtube episode on my first Moderna shot, I mentioned that there were some weird positive things that happened with the first shot. But, I wanted to wait until after the second shot to verify it wasn’t a figment of my imagination.

Well, it’s been over a month since my second vaccine shot, and by now, you’ve probably heard about the positive side effects of the Pfizer and Moderna vaccine. Well, for my clients who have been able to obtain one of these shots and me, it seems to be true.

Getting the vaccine is a personal decision. Yet, if you got sick over the last year and a half, you may want to assess if getting one of the mRNA vaccines might be an option for you. Most importantly, the Pfizer and Moderna are mRNA technologies. The Johnson and Johnson and the AstraZeneca vaccine are different technologies and use an adenovirus to transport the vaccine into the body. The positive effects I experienced with the mRNA vaccines may not be experienced with the adenovirus vaccines. In fact, there is no guarantee you’ll get any positive effects with any of the vaccines. But, here is my anecdotal story of how the Moderna mRNA vaccine impacted my life.

If you want to understand why I chose the mRNA over any of the other technologies, check out my Youtube “Genetically Engineering Vaccines to Fight COVID-19

So, I’m going to go over three things. First, did I have COVID last year, and did you have COVID? There wasn’t any testing available. Well, the second part talks about long-haulers. If you think you had COVID, long-haulers syndrome is a very real complication of COVID. Lastly, the impact of the vaccine on me. I’ve got each section labeled so you can pick any section.

DID I HAVE COVID LAST YEAR?

O.k., why do I say, “If you got sick over the last year and a half, you may want to consider getting the vaccine.” Well, because the flu hasn’t been around. The flu season from Oct 2020 to Jan 2021 has had 132 hospitalizations and 292 deaths. The 2019 flu season had 35 million people getting influenza. There were 404,646 hospitalizations and 21,909 deaths. So, if you ever wanted to know what you could do to reduce your chances of the flu, wash your hands and wear a mask.

So, if the flu hasn’t been around and you got sick, you got to wonder what it was? That was the question I was asking myself when my husband and I got so deathly sick beginning of last year – before the pandemic was called.

At that time, there wasn’t any testing available. And by the time the COVID antibody test became available, it was five months after I was sick. With the lack of available science, I resorted to logic to determine if I had COVID-19.

I know my immune system. I don’t get the flu unless there has been a mutation in the flu virus – not a drift. A drift is a minor change in the virus. A mutation is a significant change making it a different virus. This was the H1N1, and I already went through that party and wasn’t expecting to be sick. So, I can’t tell you the surprise I experienced when I did get sick. It made no sense, and I had a hard time believing it was just H1N1.

But that wasn’t enough. I needed more information. I watched that mutated strain of the U.K. COVID-19 virus. It took that virus three weeks to transmit to 22 U.S. states even though the U.S. had travel restrictions.

Well, the first documented case of COVID-19 was something like December 1, 2019. The first ban on travel from China came eight weeks later, on the last day of January 2020. So, it had a much easier time transmitting.

And, in the middle of December 2019 the second wave of the flu started hitting the U.S. It was a very virulent, highly contagious H1N1 strain that hung on for weeks or months and had people flat on their backs. Now, COVID-19 likes other coronaviruses and the flu is a coronavirus.

And I’ve always wondered about the death rates. Well, this is just a hypothesis that myself and some of my Western medical friends have been kicking around. It could be that COVID-19 is dose dependant. The larger the dose, the more virulent the virus. And population matters when it comes to dose. China commonly has large cities of over 11 million. Bejing has 20 million people. New York is our largest city with a population of 8 million. In these cities, the virus can quickly shoot out of control. In our more spacious regions, the virus can get out of control, it seems to take more effort.

O.k., based on all that, it may be reasonable to assume if you got sick last year, it was COVID.

LONG-HAULERS

Wow, all the stories on long-haulers, right? Creepy, yet distant from you. Long haulers have debilitating, lasting effects of COVID that seem to be progressive and can end in death. It’s like it turns on an aging switch consuming your resources until you pass away. If your normal life expectancy is 80 years, COVID will help shave off 10 to 20 years.

The focus on long-haulers has been on those who have debilitating symptoms, and it started with those who had post COVID heart issues and died months later from some significant heart event. But, what if long-haulers is for everyone? My clients, including myself, have mentioned that they never got back to their pre-illness health.

My husband and I were on Chinese formulas for eight months. Our immune system was weak. Something out of thin air would attack us. It always felt like allergies where the sinuses would plug up, the head would feel heavy, and we felt tired. Overall, we would get tired easier. Our digestive issues became much worse. The body aches increased and begin to seem unmanageable.

My clients, my friends, and my colleagues, all were saying the same thing. No one had returned to their peak, pre-illness, health, and everyone was feeling just a little off or a little tired or a little something. And it had a progressive nature to it. Given more time, it would get worse.

I got the COVID testing. I got the antibody test, and everything came back negative. Yet, something didn’t seem right…

This was when I started to hypothesize that many people received some form of long-haulers.

THE VACCINE

So, with that background, my husband and I rumbled on down to the nearest vaccine administration site that would let us get the vaccine and got our shots.

The day I was headed down to get my first vaccine my body aches were going into overdrive. I could feel knots in my back forming. Getting the shot was easy, and I just remember the indifference of the person administering my shot. It wasn’t like she was for or against the shot. I knew she got the shot. But she had an interesting detachment to whether or not I got the shot.

In a universe that currently has an opinion on everything, I found her response interesting and unexpected.

Well, a half-hour later, I was all shot up and on my way home. I had been noticing since about 15 minutes after the administration of that shot my body aches were reducing. In the car, I turned and looked at my husband and said, “You know, all those body aches and knots I had coming down here…they are reducing.” I could actually palpate the knots and felt they had reduced by about half. My husband’s comment was, “Makes you wonder what you had.”

Sure does…

Over the next week, my body aches subsided and disappeared. That was weird because I had the aging and personal sports abuse body aches. My feet were a problem due to decades of riding Dressage and Jumping. I hadn’t been able to run for years. But, I could now.

My stomach problems reduced significantly and I took that opportunity to wander over to my favorite fast food joint…that I hadn’t visited in three years because of my stomach pains…and get a burger and fries. I could eat more crap again. I started sleeping again and wasn’t so wiped out and fatigued.

Of course, I wasn’t going to skip the second shot. The first shot was such a surprising shot of vitality both my husband and I raced to our second shot. The second shot reaffirmed the first shot. It wasn’t near as amazing because I wasn’t near as messed up.

O.k., in Chinese Medicine, if you have a physical change, you have to have an emotional or mental change, and I did. It wasn’t even a subtle change. It was just a change. I saw things differently. The world became less black and white and more shades of grey.

Remember the health care worker who administered my first shot? I was interested in her expression. I was interested in her indifference to whether I got the shot or not. I think that is part of the shades of grey because I feel her indifference. This shot really worked for me, but I don’t really have a buy-in to whether you get the shot or not. I think that indifference is why it’s taken me so long to even talk about my second experience with the mRNA vaccines. I wouldn’t have talked about it at all except in my episode, “My First Covid Shot,” I promised to talk about it.

So, there it is – my second COVID vaccine. What a wild ride! Good-luck to you and your decisions.

“I’m Not Done,” Tucker 21

I have this handsome orange kitty named Tucker. He’s 21 years old. You know, in Chinese Medicine, they talk about the Fall of your life where you get to reap the rewards of the life you lived. I was watching Tucker the other day, sleeping in the window. He was passed out and very content. This was his life, and he was finally letting himself enjoy the Fall of his life.

I bring this up because it hasn’t been easy getting to 21. Tucker has cashed in on his nine lives. It started when he was 18 years old, and he started losing weight. Then he refused to eat, became constipated, and I just thought everything was done. As humans, we hear this from our doctor’s enough, “Oh, you’re getting older. These things happen.”

I have clients who refuse to go to their doctor because their doctor will tell them. “Oh, you know, you get knee pain when you’re older. Don’t be so active.” “You’re getting up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom. Yes, that is what happens when you get older.”

You know, in Chinese Medicine, these are not normal signs of aging. Because I’m talking about Tucker, if you want to get more input on how Chinese Medicine sees aging, check out my blog:

Anyways, that was what I was telling Tucker. Then my husband told me I had to do something because Tucker’s constipation was so bad. O.k., it’s always a little tricky figuring out what to do with animals because they don’t talk to you. They just look uncomfortable.

I looked at everything and thought about IBS and constipation and was able to pull something out of Chinese Medicine. The neat thing about animals is they respond so much faster than we do. It’s like they have these bodies that lack all the toxicity we are carrying around.

Sure enough, within one day, he responded and was feeling better. This meant that since I was treating him for IBS, he was sensitive to his food. I spent the next month testing out different foods to see which ones he could eat. Over the last couple of years, every once in a while, something would happen, and Tucker would look like he would pass, and my husband would ask me to do something, and I would.

The thing is, you can’t believe how stressful that is. I mean, I really feel obligated to fix Tucker. So, you know, I try something, and I obsess over it and micro-manage his responses and change things up based on what happened. It’s exhausting.

Well, last month his partner of 19 years, Monkey, finally called it quits. Monkey, another boy cat, was done. We wrapped him in a blanket and took him to the vet. Tucker followed us to the door as we left with his companion.

Monkey just laid with me. We stayed with Monkey, holding him and talking to him until he was long gone. Then we came home without Monkey. Tucker was at the door looking for Monkey. I think Tucker thought we would always be able to save them. But, you know that just isn’t real, and Tucker fell into a depression.

My husband and I were giving Tucker extra attention, and it was o.k., but losing Monkey seemed to have changed his desire to live. He slowed down on his eating. And then one day he didn’t eat. He was losing weight and looking haggard. My husband and I talked through this. I didn’t believe I could do anything this time because I couldn’t fix a broken heart.

The second day of not eating came and went. Memories of my mother stopping her eating came to mind. She decided she was done with life, and she stopped eating. I think I learned that, in the end, all the medicine in the world could help, but there is going to come a time when it will only be up to you to decide if you are going to live.

Tucker had made his decision, and my husband and I decided we could honor his wishes and take him to the vet. So, we bundled up the exhausted, emaciated companion of 21 years and headed to the car. I sat down in the car the closed the car door, swaddling Tucker in a soft blanket.

All of a sudden, Tucker woke up. This poor little cat who had been listless and lacking any interest in food woke up, started meowing and fighting to get out of the blanket. Clearly saying, “No.”

Back into the house, we went. I put him down, and he immediately demanded food and started eating. Afterward, he wandered back into the bedroom, jumped on the bed, found his favorite spot, laid down, and fell asleep, completely content.

Tucker decided he wasn’t done. Sure, he was 21, but he wasn’t throwing in the towel. The Fall of life can be the most rewarding and relaxing as you watch everything you’ve done in your life bloom. And that is where I found him that day passed out in front of the window basking in the sunlight, finally letting himself enjoy the life he has and has lived.

What is Vitality and Why Normal Signs of Aging are not Normal

You may have noticed that life has changed as you age. The energy you once had is not so abundant. You may experience a difficult time sleeping. Time may have introduced you to arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, or a host of other conditions. The actual energy that makes up your health is called vitality in Chinese Medicine. Here is what vitality is, how you store it, and how you use it. 

In Chinese Medicine, three things help determine the vitality you bring into this world: the genetics from your father and mother and nutrition during pregnancy. These three things set the foundation for the amount of energy you have in reserve. The reserve energy is called vitality. 

Vitality is kind of like a gas tank. Some people get a two-gallon tank, and some people get a thirty-gallon tank. The vitality gas tank is the back-up gas tank to your daily natural resources. You draw from this tank when life gets hectic, and your daily natural resources are not enough to get through.

The vitality tank is not static. You can make choices that will help you maintain and build the energy reserve. These are choices that help you take care of yourself. They can be choices like allowing yourself to get enough sleep, eating nutritious foods, so your body has the nutrients needed to function, or reducing negativity in your life. The positive emotion of love and joy almost supercharges the tank. I have an episode on my Youtube channel that identifies the Five causes of disease in Chinese Medicine. It’s these five areas that can help you donate to your vitality. 

But, the reality is life is an exciting explosion of sounds, sights, tastes, sensations, and smells. In your enjoyment of the comfort of life, you may make choices that mistreat and overwhelm your natural resources. And that is not the only way you can tax your natural resources. Life happens. Financial hardships, death, and other things can put you and your family’s survival and safety needs in jeopardy. They can take large withdrawals on your vitality.

You want to donate to your vitality, and let me tell you why. In Chinese Medicine, they say you have a limited amount of vitality. Let’s say you have 100 units of vitality. Throughout life, you’re going to make choices that change these units. 

Because vitality is more a black box than linear logic, here is a simple framework to think about vitality. Each choice you make in life either adds, drains, or keeps your vitality reserve tank equal. Throughout life, let’s say you make choices that drain 1/1000 a unit from your tank every day. This is that reserve you have to pull from to keep your body going when your body doesn’t have enough daily natural resources. An example of having to draw from the reserve is not getting enough sleep. To get through that day, you chug coffee and mentally push yourself. The coffee stimulated your body to use more energy than was available. That additional energy came from your reserve tank. 

Then one day, the tank is empty. You don’t have a back-up plan. When you overdo something, you no longer have a stash of energy or vitality to assist your daily natural resources. You feel like you hit a wall. 

You notice this landmark event because that is the day when you start to have significant health issues. That is when you try to push yourself through the day with coffee and just can’t. You find yourself tired all the time and unable to do much more than get up, go to work, and go to sleep. This exhaustion starts pouring into other areas of your life. Too tired to cook, you swing by a fast food restaurant and grab dinner, lunch, or whatever. Receiving none of the necessary ingredients you need to fix and repair your body, you end up more tired. Because sleep takes energy, your sleep starts to deteriorate. The list goes on and on. 

And when the reserve tank is empty, it feels like you hit a wall. It’s incredible how much we use and take for granted this reserve. And let’s be real, most people are a little hard-headed. Hard-headed in the sense that you’ve been doing these things your whole life and never had a problem. Why can’t you do them now? So, you keep on doing them, thinking you’ll get a different answer or stubbornly demanding you get a different response.

But when that tank is empty, the wall is an emphatic “no.” No, you can’t do that anymore. The more you try to do the same things, the worse things become. Your daily resources have less and less to help you overcome whatever it is you are doing. You find a negative health cascade starts to happen. You start packing on the weight. It’s more challenging to sleep. You wake up to go to the bathroom. You’re tired all the time. Your blood work starts showing abnormal changes. 

Doctors and many people believe all these things are the normal progression of aging. If it is a normal aging progression, nothing you do will improve the situation. All people would have these symptoms. 

Now some people have maintained a healthy lifestyle their whole life and have always kept their tank full. As they age, nothing shows up. Or, they came into this world with a pretty big tank. So, even though they’ve played hard, they still do well. They still bounce back. 

That alone is the first clue the aging symptoms you are experiencing are not normal signs of aging. Instead, they are a typical sign of exhausting your vitality. 

Chinese Medicine has a very different focus from Western Medicine. Where Western Medicine focuses on suppressing the symptom to enable you to continue doing what you are doing, Chinese Medicine focuses on identifying the weakness, targeting behaviors you can modify to rebuild and improve your health. 

One of the foundational pillars of Chinese Medicine is Daoism. Longevity is a critical part of Daoism. When I read about Daoism and longevity, the focus was on how to live in balance with your environment. Your environment is your body. So, how to live in harmony with yourself to enhance and prolong your health. Nature was a resource to better understand how to live in harmony. Ancient China created all the herbal formulas, acupuncture, nutrition, meditation, and exercises to support the end goal of keeping your body in harmony to prolong your life. 

You usually realize there is a problem when your older, when your tank has been emptied, and now you have a decision to make: do nothing or do something. I have an episode on my Youtube channel, “Why Walking is a Good Thing.” It goes into more of the challenges you face trying to rebuild your health as an older adult. It also goes into a little of the mental mindset you need to rebuild your health when you’re older. Another episode, “Consciously Helping Your Heart Stay Healthy,” shares more wellness coaching tips on what it means to get healthy when you’re older.

The bottom line is getting healthy when you’re older is not about “getting in shape” like losing a few pounds or exercising more. Getting healthy when you are older is about rebuilding your vitality and getting some reserve resources back so you can start enjoying life again. 

To give an example, you can do those quick hit things like a fad diet. The minute you lose weight, you stop the diet and start gaining the weight because you didn’t retrain yourself. So, in essence, you gained nothing. And when you’re younger, usually only one part of your health is compromised to the point where it needs attention. When you’re older, multiple aspects of your health need attention, and it is not slightly compromised where a quick week-long fad diet will correct it. 

This means you can start rebuilding your vitality by changing something in any of the five causes of disease where losing weight is only useful if you change your diet. And you can’t do this short week or month-long thing and go back to business as usual. Rebuilding your vitality is about taking the time to make the lifestyle changes.

You have two choices. If you’re out here, you’ve usually made a choice to do something. That is the critical thought, “do something.” You don’t have to do everything. So, watch that episode on The Five Causes of Disease in Chinese Medicine and do something in one of those categories. Because the significant change when you are older is your getting healthier lies in each of those changes categories instead of just one. 

So, that’s vitality in Chinese Medicine and why normal signs of aging are not normal.

Thanksgiving – What Do I Have to be Thankful For?

What a year. I reflected on the year because I’m not sure how I ended up at the end of the year. It seems like January was just an hour ago, which is weird because every day seems to last three days.  

The last time I remember feeling like days lasted forever while the year seemed to race by was when I was a kid. I remember waiting for Christmas. The Christmas tree would go up. My elementary school would have us practice for the Christmas program. Each day seemed like an eternity, and Christmas seemed so far away. But, the year, well, the year was just fine.

I guess I’m waiting again. I guess me and the rest of the country are waiting. Each day feels like an eternity, while the year feels like a flash.

So, I decided to think about why I was thankful. I have much to be grateful for. I am grateful for my husband and our life together. I’m grateful that where I’m weak, he is strong. 

He has better survival instincts than I do. We had planned to spend Thanksgiving in a rented apartment on the beach. He didn’t think it was a good idea. I just canceled. He has excellent survival instincts.

That brought up the pain of the pandemic. This pandemic is going to last as long as it is going to last. My husband and I have spent the last eight months at home. We’ve done take-out food a couple of times. But, other than the grocery stores, we haven’t been out. No vacations to the beach or the desert or the mountains. No splurges on clothes we don’t need. No expensive restaurants – our absolute favorite. And no movies.

I’m pretty proud of us. We’ve done it. We’ve learned a lot about ourselves. Who we were before the pandemic and who we are today are different people. I think we’re better. 

Before the pandemic, we were pathological consumers. Before the pandemic, I was always busy with nonsense. I had no time because I wasted time doing nonsense things. And, everything had to be so wonderful. I had lost pleasure with the simple things in life. 

The pandemic has forced time on me. It’s been painful, but my expectation of life has been returning to “normal” where I can see and appreciate the simple things in life. I stopped my pathological spending. I spent time reaching even deeper into Chinese Medicine. I’ve stepped up my meditation. All this means self-discovery is on overdrive. The simple living experience and the pleasure of a chilly fall morning or a crisp winter day have been reawakened.   

I don’t think I would have ever gone this deep into the medicine or myself without the pandemic. And sure, now it feels like I accidentally stepped on a slide and am on a wild ride. Yet, the ride is impressive.

Do you know what else happened? The pandemic gave all of us permission to wear face masks and make it normal. When this is over, I’m wearing a face mask during flu season because the flu has become so virulent and difficult to overcome. 

We may have gained another positive from the pandemic. When you are feeling sick, you might feel justified in staying home. Remember how frustrated you would get that a co-worker came in snotting and coughing all over everything. Two days later, you would have the flu, and it lasted for eight weeks. 

People may be more willing to stay home. And with the advent of work-at-home, businesses may be more supportive of keeping the sick home.

In Australia, this year, with masks and social distancing, Australia’s flu season was a tenth of the 2019 season, and total deaths from the flu were 34.   

I have to thank my clients. Without them, I wouldn’t have a business. With them, they have made a problematic year survivable. So, thank you for being there for me. And I got to meet new clients this year who were terrific and filled with new stories and new lives. 

Most importantly, my husband and I have managed to keep ourselves and our friends safe. I’m incredibly grateful for that. 

What I’ve come to realize is this year is not a normal Thanksgiving. It is a significant season marked by thanks and grace. This is a year where I’ve been introduced to heroes every day. Every essential worker, the grocery worker, the food processor, healthcare worker, and the civil servants that worked so others can stay home and safe, I am grateful to you. This year has reawakened my midwestern values of family and community. And this year has made me aware that nothing can be taken for granted, and I’m so grateful my family is safe.

There is still a road ahead of us. From the past eight months, my husband and I know we can make the next six months.

My wish and prayer for you is that you can keep yourself, your family, and your friends safe. Have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving.