Enjoy the Glimmers and Spurts
My good friend Deb Dana’s book Anchored was published last week by Sounds True. It’s a very user-friendly guide to calming the nervous system and returning to ease and contentment in times of stress and distress. Perfect timing for our world today.
In Anchored, Deb explores the importance of catching glimmers as we go throughout our day, the moments of uplift that are always present if we know how to look for them – the joy of watching dogs chase each other or children pretending to be pirates, the awe of noticing even one flower on our daily walk or the satisfaction of really, really tasting the first sip of morning coffee. And Deb offers in clear, accessible fashion the science behind how these glimmers work so well to provide a respite from the stresses and distresses of daily life, even when there is still hardship and heartache to contend with.
In re-emerging from the pandemic, I’ve found that spurts are essential, also. A burst of enthusiasm, a glimpse of wonder, a momentary sigh of relief and gratitude. Dacher Keltner, founder of the Greater Good Science Center at U.C. Berkeley, cited in the recent Sounds True Activating Hope Summit the research that the most reliable and immediate way to come out of despair is to do something kind and generous for a neighbor. Go to the grocery store for them, help them clean out the garage or weed the garden, give them a ride to the doctor when they can’t walk or see. For me, the joy of taking my next-door neighbor of 24 years out to dinner for his 80th birthday. Generosity from me perhaps, but a spurt of great fulfilling joy for me.
My friend Eric read this poem at our most recent Gourmet Poets Society, from the collection Good Poems for Hard Times edited by Garrison Keillor, which for me expressed both glimmers and spurts:
You Can Take It with You
- By Josephine Jacobsen
2 little girls who live next door
to this house are on their trampoline.
The window is closed, so they are soundless.
The sun slants, it is going away;
but now it hits full on the trampoline
and the small figure on each end.
Alternately they fly up to the sun,
fly, and rebound, fly, are shot up,
fly, are shot up up.
One comes down in the lotus position,
the other, outdone, somersaults in air.
Their hair flies too. Nothing, nothing,
nothing can keep them down. The air
sucks them up by the hair of their heads.
I know all about what is happening in this city
at just this moment,
every last grain of dark, I conceive.
But what I see now is
the 2 little girls flung up
flung up, the sun snatching them,
their mouths rounded in gasps,
they are there, they fly up.