Getting Through a Tender Holiday

Getting Through a Tender Holiday

I made it through February, that tender month for me. I must admit, it was one of the best Februarys I’ve ever had.

What helped? Looking back, I uncovered this quote from writer and author Wayne Muller that may sum it up best:

The more spacious and larger our fundamental nature, the more bearable the pains in living.

Somehow that thought rang true for me.

It’s not easy keeping our fundamental natures “large and spacious” as Muller suggests. Sometimes we’re limited by the demands of home-life and work-life responsibilities, or fluctuating health concerns, or even the increasingly unpredictable weather! Circumstances beyond our control confine us and we don’t get to live our life the way we want to.

Life can become small and limited, and when that happens, pain is amplified, I’ve discovered.

But last month was a large and spacious one for me. Filled with both planned and impromptu activities, I spent special time with friends and family that kept my spirits up.

I thought about those experiences as I’ve been preparing for my upcoming Resilience Workshop presentation. I was asked to share the strategies I’ve used in getting through some tough times. Structure and companionship are two key elements I’ll be highlighting. Both are vital in getting through those deep valleys, I’ve learned.


Structuring our time keeps us focused and moving forward, reducing the time we may devote to navel-gazing or dwelling on our sadness. Spending time with friends brings the warmth of companionship, reminding us that we are not alone while giving us the evidence that others care.

More importantly, structuring and spending time with friends gives us an opportunity to enlarge our life view, and be both interested (in what is going on in someone else’s life) and interesting (by what we choose to share about ourselves).

When we show an interest in others by listening to what’s important to them, we broaden our frame of reference. In fact, what keeps our friends’ hearts full may buoy our own.

And, when we share with them our stories, we have the chance to be interesting, even surprisingly creative.

Have you ever noticed that you may tell the same story in different ways to different people? It may depend on the person or the circumstance, but when we change up our stories, we expand our thinking about the same event.

We can think wide, not deep. Maybe even swap the play-by-play for the highlight reel. All can elevate us to a larger perspective, the great minimizer of pain.

How about you? How do you keep your life spacious and large? Do structure and companionship help you, too? Tell me about it. I’d love to know.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Thanks for all the comments on Meredith’s thought-provoking question last week. We may include it in our next family gathering to see what wisdom we all can share!

P.P.S. What?! Honored to learn that Rethinking Possible has been named a finalist for the Montaigne Medal, a companion of the Eric Hoffer Book Awards that recognizes “the most thought-provoking books.” So excited!

Montaigne Medal, a companion of the Eric Hoffer Book Awards

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