Yay for handy trash cans!

Dear President Trump,

With so much vitriol and sadness slamming us on the national front as we head into the Thanksgiving holiday in a couple of days, I think I want to pull in a bit and focus today on some positives.

You maybe saw this if you were up early when it was still dark and looked outside to the East in between Tweets– it was Venus looking especially huge and bright (i.e., close to Earth) fairly high above the horizon. I’m still not quite healed up enough to start running again after my fall last week so I took a route that I normally wouldn’t because it’s not especially well lit and the silver lining was that at a number of junctures I got incredible straight-shot views of the planet between trees and houses. It was really stunning.

The next thing was that on my way into the VA this morning from the car there was a lot of trash to pick up and since the VA is still maintaining several trashcans in our parking lot there was someplace to put it. Of course it’s actually pretty awful that there’s trash strewn about the streets around the VA and in the parking lot; I’m certainly not a fan of discarding your crap wherever. But the positive for me this morning was that it gave me something concrete to do when a lot of things in my life are feeling complicated and hard to navigate. Even if I can’t figure out how to fix X or even when I can’t actually fix Y, I can pick up some trash and put it in a better spot than where I found it. I did have to check myself to make sure that I maintained a good attitude about it and was picking it up because I was choosing to and not because I’m obsessed with the so-and-so’s who messed things up. It sort of parallels tonglen, doesn’t it? It’s really different if I’m choosing to sit with others’ distress than when I don’t have a choice and feel bombarded by it. Anyway, it was nice to have the opportunity to be constructive in this way and it’s something that will be reliably available for me to do whenever I need to feel instrumental in a simple kind of way.

The third thing was hearing from a colleague about how some vets with PTSD are really looking forward to connecting with family and friends over the holiday this week. What a joy to hear this. I hope they all have wonderful times.

May we be safe to regroup and focus on what we can control.
May we be happy for others when they are happy.
May we give ourselves breaks to catch our breath as needed.
May we find moments of peace whether connecting with the cosmos or a handy trash can.

Sincerely,
Tracy Simpson

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