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It’s okay to do nothing

I am cleaning the drawers in my desk. The task makes me feel productive—which makes me feel better. I have to remind myself that it’s also okay to do nothing. My husband, Jerry, read an article in The New York Times by a psychologist or psychiatrist who emphasized that message: All of us are feeling […]

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A gloomy day

I woke up Sunday feeling gloomy. The gloom surrounded me as I faced another day of stay-in-place during this coronavirus crisis. The gloom lingered until I took my afternoon walk and saw a friendly neighbor and some spring flowers starting to bloom. “Where flowers bloom so does hope,” Lady Bird Johnson once said. –Joy

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No man–or woman–is an island

“We are each other’s keepers,” writes William Falk, editor-in-chief of The Week magazine. “Deeper truths often are delivered in the envelope of a crisis. Falk quotes John Donne, who said: “No man (or woman) is an island. Every man (or woman) is a piece of the continent, a part of the main.”

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Waking dreamers

Edward Wilson, the biologist, explained why we sometimes feel stressed. “Humanity today,” Wilson said, “is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real world. The mind seeks but cannot find the precise place and hour. We have created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval […]

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Go easy, and be filled with light

The poet Mary Oliver speaks to me when I feel stressed. Here are lines from her poem “When I Am Among the Trees.” Around me the trees stir in their leaves and call out, “Stay awhile.” The light flows from their branches. And they call again, “It’s simple,” they say, “and you, too, have come […]

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Seat assignment?

I was packing for a trip to Vancouver when I noticed that we didn’t have seat assignments. And, then, when I tried to get assignments online, American Airlines wouldn’t let me. And, I tried to call American Airlines, and its computer told me that I needed to call back because the airline was receiving so […]

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Eat cookies

“Today I will live in the moment—unless it’s unpleasant in which case I’ll eat cookies.” I found this quote in the latest FemaleCreations catalog. I found it the day I felt a bit lethargic because I had eaten too many cookies the day before. I enjoyed the cookies, but I ate too many!

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Anger and other negative emotions

Presidents with great leadership skills learn to control their negative emotions, Doris Kearns Goodwin told an Arts & Letters Live audience in Dallas earlier this year. Kearns is the author of Leadership: In Turbulent Times. For example, Abraham Lincoln wrote many angry letters—and then never mailed them. And, when Franklin Roosevelt was preparing for his […]

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Take a break

December is always a busy month. I’m going to follow the examples of these past presidents and pace myself. Presidents with good leadership skills learned “to manage themselves,” Doris Kearns Goodwin told an Arts & Letters Live audience in Dallas earlier this year. Her latest book is Leadership: In Turbulent Times. • Abraham Lincoln went […]

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Perfectly imperfect

I often want everything to be perfect. That’s why I was delighted to find this quote in House Beautiful magazine. “The world needs more celebration of what it is to be perfectly imperfect,” says Christina Tosi, a James Beard award-winning pastry chef in Manhattan. –Joy

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