At the beginning of this year, I committed to making 12 resolutions – one per month- rather than one big, ominous resolution for the whole year. So far, so good. I have been slowly checking little things off my big list, even when a global pandemic called Coronavirus reared its ugly head earlier this year.
But that’s not the story.
This month I was looking for something inspirational…something comforting in this time of unknowing.
I found it in the form of 60’s music! I watched some incredible documentaries that made me feel great. These films feature music that helped me forget about Coronavirus -albeit temporarily.
The list is endless… Once Were Brothers (Robbie Robertson and The Band), The Last Waltz (directed by Martin Scorsese and hailed as one of the greatest documentary concert films ever), David Crosby: Remember My Name, Echo in the Canyon ( a documentary about the ‘California sound’ featuring The Byrds, The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, The Mamas and Papas) just to name a few.
I asked myself why I was suddenly craving this genre of music.
It was….comforting. The lyrics, the music, the collaboration, the comraderie – the ‘hippiness’ of it all.
It seemed like a simpler time. A kinder and gentler moment in history.
But was it really? The Vietnam War, The Civil Rights protests, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, the Cuban Missile Crisis, etc. etc.
It wasn’t a kinder and gentler time, at all.
If anything, it was uglier and more violent.
Perhaps, underneath the trampled protest signs, bullets and bloodshed were the seeds of peace, love, forgiveness and creativity. Catalysts at the crossroads of folk and rock.
If they could create then, we can certainly create now.
As Bob Dylan once said, “Behind every beautiful thing, there’s some kind of pain.”
These are definitely challenging times. Many of us feel helpless. Some of us will write, sing, dance or even tell jokes! Because, that’s what we do. That’s how we cope.
At the very least, it will comfort us in the minute and, who knows? We just might create something beautiful.
Rock on. Be safe.
I decided at the beginning of 2020 that I was going to make 12 smaller resolutions – one per month- rather than one resolution for the whole year.
I started off the year with a small goal. I was going to watch less CNN. I know. Reach for the stars, Judy.
Then COVID 19 hit.
Lately, I’ve been watching so much CNN, Wolf Blitzer should have me on as an expert guest.
Like many, I was in shock. The self-quarantining didn’t help.
Everything I tried to do, I felt like I was in a spacesuit.
Daily life seemed heavy and cumbersome.
Being asked to do nothing was like being asked to do everything.
Where to start? How to start? Did it really matter?
Slowly, the confusion started to clear.
Like Sandra Bullock in Gravity, I found a manual.
Everyone’s manual is different. Here’s what’s working for me – so far. Ask me in ten minutes.
Step #1 Give Yourself a Break
Be patient to yourself. Be kind. Our minds have funny ways of turning on us.
You know you’ve got demons when American Horror Story starts contacting YOU for script ideas.
Don’t beat yourself up in this process.
As Drag Race’s Rupaul says; “If you don’t love yourself, how in the hell you gonna love somebody else?”
Step #2 Find Your Routine
This situation ISN’T normal so stop trying to do everything like you used to.
Take a look at your old routine and figure out what works NOW.
Put the rest in the co-pilot seat.
Consider ADDING something to your new routine.
Pull up a You Tube Video and learn a new recipe or a new language or heck, pull up a Bob Ross video. Who doesn’t love Bob Ross??? Omg, is painting this easy? Could this be my new profession??? Not. Those happy little trees are happier without me.
Step #3 Exercise
Beg your dog to go on yet another walk with you. Give thanks for all those happy little trees.
Step #4 Laugh- a lot- and don’t hoard toilet paper
Find something that makes you pee your pants laughing. May I suggest Episode 5, Season 2 of ‘Barry’ on HBO. That’s all I’m going to say.
Speaking of peeing your pants, don’t hoard toilet paper.
Have you ever watched Survivor, Alone or Naked and Afraid?
Does anyone EVER bring toilet paper to the island as their luxury item?
If they did, they should get their tiki torch put out.
Don’t be a loser.
#Step 5 – Reach out
In a time of social isolation, this seems contradictory.
Practice doing one thing for someone else every day.
Phone, write a short email, or make a small online donation to one of the many non- profit organizations. If you live in Toronto, may I suggest City Street Outreach?
One year from today, it will change who you are. If it doesn’t, it will make a small or big change for someone else.
Hang in there, Earthlings.
Our blue marble needs a break.
With the help of our true heroes – doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, cashiers and SO many more – we will get through this and get another crack at getting our mission right.
We owe it to those who, sadly, will lose their lives to this virus.
At the beginning of 2020, I decided that instead of making one resolution for the entire year, I was going to make 12 smaller resolutions – one per month.
In terms of resolutions, it’s the best thing that I have ever done.
Number one, I don’t feel like a failure for quitting my yearly resolution after one week and, more importantly, it gave me an opportunity to change my resolution if I wanted to.
My resolution for January started very small. Replace watching CNN with groundbreaking documentaries. I made a few recommendations last month. I would like to add the brilliant ‘American Factory’ – produced by the Obamas and winner of this year’s Oscar for best documentary.
My February resolution was perhaps a little bit bigger and a little more important than watching less CNN. I decided to look after my health.
My problem isn’t that I’m unhealthy, my problem is that I’m almost too healthy.
I never seem to get sick.
I don’t know if it’s my strong Dutch-Guyanese DNA or stubborn Dutch-Guyanese disposition that doesn’t allow me to admit when I’m not feeling well. At any rate, I decided to make my health a priority for 2020.
Once I put ‘health’ on my calendar some amazing things happened.
I started going to appointments! What a novel idea.
My doctor nearly fell off of her chair when I walked into her office.
I started checking my appointments off my list one by one.
Happy to say, so far, so good.
I’m very grateful that I’m healthy.
The big bonus – I have peace of mind.
Do we not live in THE best, if not one of the best countries in the world??
Thank you, Canada healthcare system.
People, make your appointments. Look after yourselves!
It’s so simple and it can be life altering.
Stay tuned for next month’s resolution.
I’m actually looking forward to it.
So how are those New Year’s resolutions coming along? Already hating yourself for giving up Jan 2nd?
Did you know that, according to statistics, most people throw in the towel to becoming a better and brighter person by Jan 12th? Ouch.
So how can we make those resolutions stick in 2020? I recently read an article that suggested splitting up your resolutions into 12 monthly goals.
For January I set a goal of sacrificing my CNN screen time and committing to watch more documentaries. Yes, I would have to put away my Jay Tapper T-shirt and Don Lemon coffee mug for 31 days.
The results were immediate. I felt happier, more uplifted and confident that the world was not going to blow up – at least not this week.
There are SO many people trying to do good things out there.
Next time you’re on Netflix, check out the following docs…
The Game Changers
Whether you are an environmentalist, an extreme athlete, recovering from or prone to heart attack – this really is a film to watch.
One of my favorite quotes from The Game Changers:
“Someone asked me, ‘ How could you get as strong as an ox without eating any meat? My answer was, ‘ Have you ever seen an ox eating meat?’ ”
~ Patrick Baboumian/ World record holding strongman
Inside Bill’s Brain
Great doc on how Bill and Melinda Gates are trying to change the world for the better.
Fun fact… Did you know that Bill Gates is Warren Buffet’s bridge partner? Okay, not necessarily a FUN fact but interesting nonetheless. By the way, Warren needs to stop putting so much salt on his hamburgers. We need the ‘Oracle of Omaha’ to stick around as long as possible. Warren – check out The Game Changers.
On Yoga: The Architecture to Peace
Celebrity photographer Michael O’Neill travels the world to photograph some of the world’s top yogis and gurus in some of the craziest positions and with the most breathtaking landscapes.
Yes, the documentary inspired me to stretch but perhaps more importantly, you can see the impact of yoga and meditation on creating a happier and more peaceful planet.
On that note, so far so good for January.
I’ll let you know if my next resolution (getting healthier) survives until the end of February.
‘The smallest act of kindness is worth more than the grandest intention.’
#InternationalVolunteerDay (Dec 5th)
Thanks to EVERYONE who has donated their time and/or food/clothing/money to City Street Outreach or any worthwhile charity. #BeTheChange
I would like to use this newsletter to give a shout out to a couple of amazing local groups.
Again, if you live in the GTA and you have food, clothing or small housing items that you would like to donate, please let me know.
We will organize a pick-up. Right now, we’ve got two large groups (80 families in total) that we are trying to help on a weekly basis. Thanks to amazing sponsors like Cobs Bakery, Brick Street Bakery, Costco and Little Caesar’s Pizza that have stepped up to bat every week. Here is a little more info.
HELPING OTHERS: TORONTO HOMELESS
‘I believe the greatest privilege in this world is to use your freedom of speech for those who have no voice.’ – Ricky Gervais
There are some fantastic animal groups in Ontario who are always looking for help.
Speaking of Dogs