Categories
Life People

Hugs

I find myself doing a lot of this these days: Yay! Oh no… and Hooray! Yikes… and Woo-hoo! Uh-oh…

I’m not unique in this; everybody I talk to has similar feelings. We’re living in times of extreme emotions.

Even if we shield ourselves from the news, avoid social media, stay away from the TV and internet, we can’t ignore the ups and downs of our own lives. For most of us, that now includes some type of impact on our jobs or our health (or both) – if not to us directly, then to someone we know, someone we love.

When I’m feeling overwhelmed or uncertain, my go-to comfort is a hug. I’ll take a hug, or I’ll give a hug. Or both.

It doesn’t fix things, but it does help. It centers me, slows me down, and reminds me to breathe. I stop thinking about what’s going on in my own head and, instead, focus on the person on the other side of the hug. In that moment, everything is better.

Right now, real hugs aren’t always a good idea. But the value of that kind of emotional connection hasn’t changed.

So, if you, like me, are feeling a little bit of emotional whiplash right now, caught between hope and worry, optimism and skepticism, courage and fear, this cuppa is for you. Come back whenever you need another one. I’m happy to share.


Categories
Good Life People

Taps

If you think about a U.S. military funeral, you probably think of Taps.

Taps originated as a bugle call to tell soldiers it was lights out, time to go to sleep. The 24-note Taps that we’re familiar with today originated from a Civil War bugle call called Extinguish Lights, which was a French tune. General Daniel Butterfield wanted something a little different, and so he and a brigade bugler, Oliver Wilcox Norton, revised it. Their version was made the official version after the Civil War.

This year, many of the traditional Memorial Day tributes have been cancelled. However, “Taps Across America” gives us a creative option to recognize those who’ve fallen in service to our country.

At 3:00 p.m. local time, you’re invited to sound Taps from your front yard, your balcony, your driveway – wherever you are. The idea is Steve Hartmann’s (of CBS Evening News). More details can be found at this link: https://www.cbsnews.com/amp/news/how-to-participate-in-steve-hartmans-taps-across-america/?fbclid=IwAR2nyvVVv2rAIor84_0Ivci21h96FLfV32-tQ0eIvUXy5z4GHaPvLfvhnCw

I don’t know how to play a bugle or a trumpet, so I won’t be able to sound Taps. However, I will step outside at 3:00 today and listen. Perhaps one of my neighbors will play. If not, I will still appreciate that moment, knowing that there are people elsewhere who are playing.

During that time, I’ll think about the meaning of those 24 notes. I’ll think about duty, and honor, and sacrifice. I’ll remember what today represents. And I’ll gratefully share in this collective spirit of thanks – of sincere, heartfelt respect and appreciation – for those who’ve given all.

Categories
Life

Heroism

There are many ways to describe heroism. I like this one:

“Though much is taken, much abides; and though
We are not now that strength which in old days
Moved earth and heaven, that which we are, we are;
One equal temper of heroic hearts,
Made weak by time and fate, but strong in will
To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”
-Alfred Lord Tennyson

Categories
Adventures Life People

Courage

CBS All Access is creating a new limited series based on Stephen King’s novel The Stand.

I read The Stand when I was in high school. It was my introduction to the world of Stephen King. Like many others, I was hooked – and for years, eagerly dove into each of his new books as soon as they were released. It was scary stuff wrapped in vivid adventures, the kinds of stories that created a rush of adrenaline and made you check under the bed (and in the closet and behind the curtains) before turning out the lights.

After my first son was born, however, I stopped wanting to read them. Becoming a parent changes the way you perceive fear. Every dangerous or terrifying scenario, even if only in a fiction novel, becomes a trigger for late-night worry and anxious overthinking. You empathize with imperiled characters in new ways. Monsters don’t seem as imaginary.

Then an interesting thing happened. As my children grew older, I found myself wanting to re-read some of my SK favorites. The Stand was one of them. Weirdly, I found comfort in the characters and the plot, despite the awful premise and the disturbing descriptions.

What changed? This time around, the fear didn’t take center stage. Instead, my attention shifted from the scare to the relationships and the resilience. The people and their perspectives, their experiences. The way they came together, and faced the impossible, and prevailed. I found hope in the story.

I will watch the new series; I’m looking forward to it. The cast looks great (Whoopi Goldberg as Mother Abigail! Alexander Skarsgård as Randall Flagg!). It will be interesting to see a new take on the tale. But I won’t be tuning in for the fear. Fear is everywhere. Fear is easy.

I’ll watch because I want to see the true story. The one that inspires me because it speaks of tenacity, empathy, trust, and hope. Fear is the distraction. The true story is courage.


Categories
Life

Deadlines

I’ve been thinking about deadlines.

Deadlines are helpful. They can define expectations and provide a framework for action. They give us a way to describe success. Even if we struggle to achieve the goal, who doesn’t love the feeling of completion?

Deadlines can also be misleading. They can provide a false sense of achievement, rewarding the end rather than the experience. Ask any student who’s pulled an all-nighter to finish a project. It might’ve been turned in on time, but it probably wasn’t their best work.

At their core, deadlines represent our drive to control time. But controlling time isn’t something we can actually do. What we can do is convince ourselves that elements contained within a period of time are the same thing as the time itself.

In the past few months, many of us have personally experienced new ways of working, communicating, organizing, connecting, and delivering. I suspect that these experiences will influence our perspectives about deadlines. We’ll still need them, but we may be less likely to accept them without an explanation of their value, their purpose. And, we may be more likely to propose alternatives or look for new options to measure success.

In the meantime, this cuppa reminds me that I have stuff I need to do today, and I’d better get started.



Categories
Life People

Delicious

Some books stay with you long after you read them.

I read Gilda Radner’s book, It’s Always Something, many years ago. From time to time, I re-read it, always finding new things to laugh about or a fresh nugget of wisdom to mull over.


In the book, Gilda writes:

”Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it, without knowing what’s going to happen next. Delicious Ambiguity.”

I like to start Mondays with those words – Delicious Ambiguity – in mind.

It’s comforting to know what to expect. But the flavor is found in the maybe, the possibly, the what if and the wow.

Here’s to a delicious week.

Categories
Life People

Dream

Last night on SNL, Tom Hanks joked that there are no more Saturdays; there’s only Today.

Pretty sure that’s why I dreamt last night that the official designation of “weeks” had been cancelled. There was some kind of new time measurement system.

I don’t remember much else about the dream, except that I was frantically trying to figure out how old everybody was under the new rules. It was very important work for some reason, and I was panicking because I couldn’t get it done.

This was the best cuppa for this morning’s mood.

Thanks, Tom.

Categories
Life

Choices

I tend to choose some cuppas more often than others.

The cute ones, the funny ones, the ones with special emotional meaning typically get used more often. Consequently, they end up at the front of the cupboard, quickly noticed.

It’s easy to forget the other cuppas that have gotten pushed to the back of the shelf. They are just as useful as the others; they just aren’t top of mind.

So, it’s up to me to reach back and find the ones that aren’t front and center, to find the options that might be a little worse for wear, not as obviously interesting, not as outwardly clever in their cuppa value. And when I do, I usually find one that speaks to me in a new way.

There is obvious value in making the obvious choice. However, if my goal is to broaden my perspective, the obvious choice isn’t always the best one.

Categories
Life People

Simple

It can be overwhelming to try and understand the complexities of human behavior.

Entire schools of thought have been developed to explain why we do what we do. Each of them brings to light new perspectives and considerations; each of them is fascinating and thought-provoking.

Sometimes, however, Maya Angelou’s simple truth is all you need.

”I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Categories
Life

Earworm

For as long as I can remember, I’ve woken up each morning with an earworm – a song stuck in my head, playing on repeat until it’s crowded out by the day’s activities.

Sometimes, the song makes sense because I was listening to it the day before or can tie it back to something else that created the connection. Most often, however, it’s a random selection chosen by the unconscious DJ in my brain.

This morning’s earworm was Yellow Submarine by The Beatles.This morning’s cuppa seemed a logical choice.

And now, you’ve likely got Yellow Submarine playing in your head. Perhaps you’re even humming along with the tune. It’s a happy little song. I’m glad I could share it with you today.