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Equinox…

Equinox…

…comes from the latin words aequus (equal) and nox (night) meaning an equal amount of light and dark.  These are special days to be revered, as they only happen twice a year.   Today, March 19, 2020 at 11:50pm EDT, in the northern hemisphere we will mark the beginning of spring (vernal) and in the southern hemisphere, they will mark the first day of fall (autumnal).  The Equinox is also a fitting and timely metaphor for where we find oursevles in these uncertain times.

Allow me to take a step back…330 days ago at almost exactly this moment, my life quite literally blew up.  I went to check on my beloved cute boy…he had self-quarantined at home for four days, battling the ravaging effects of last year’s version of the flu.  As I approached him lying in bed to cover his feet that he had tossed the blankets from, I noted the discoloration…panic set in.  I reached for him and he was ice-cold…my world, quite literally, went dark.  I have spent the past 330 days fighting for my own equinox.  Every day searching to balance my darkness – a gaping hole in my heart and life, great ambiguity and debilitating fear and anxiety – with just a couple more seconds of  light.  While I’m not quite there and some days still bring more darkness than light, I AM still standing…

Back to today.  I’m not a clinician, doctor, nor expert on anything but my very own life and I have loved ones that would debate that!  I have learned some things along the way that give me great hope…yes, even today.  Today, I choose to hit the reset button and I’m hoping you’ll join me for the journey.  Much like those lovely purple spring flowers I found in the woods last year, it’s time for growth…time to sow our seeds together.  The most powerful thing I learned is that the craft cocktail of equal parts:  being in community, proven coping mechancisms, and large doses of gratitude, make me a stronger and better human being…more equipped to move with greater ease from one moment to the next.  One of the greatest obstacles that stood between where I was and where I am was simply surrendering…acknowledging that the ONLY thing I have any control over is myself and the very same applies for you.

I have witnessed family and friends making gut-wrenching decisions, bearing the brunt of the trickle down on and in their hearts.  I think it’s safe to say that there isn’t a human being not suffering the darkness of today.  What you’re feeling and enduring is real, and I know it can feel like going from a bright sunny day to pitch black darkness in a millisecond.  Many times, I defaulted to retreating when things were ambiguous and scary, and for me, the ONLY thing this brought was more anxiety and more darkness.

Here’s what I have to offer…I want to create a space to be in community with you…to share my light with you and to receive yours.  This concept was cemented in my life when my father-in-law, TJ (Tudy) Bartolotta, held up his hand one day.  With his other hand, he moved each finger on the raised hand around noting their inherent weaknesses.  He then brought those weak fingers together into a fist, noting their collective newfound strength.  Folks, we are the same.  I hold out great hope that if we band together in new ways by leveraging the powerful tools available to us, we will not only weather this storm, we will emerge victorious as one humanity acknowledging our collective strength and kindness towards each other and our planet.

I’ll be posting here daily sharing the light that helps me balance the darkness of my days, and I’ll end every post in gratitude and with a nugget.   Today, I’m grateful for millions on the front lines – healthcare providers, first responders (EMT’s, fire-fighters, police officers), grocery store workers, delivery drivers, mail carriers, garbage collectors, those working to replenish supply chains best they can and countless others.  I’m grateful for every one of you choosing accept that we can all play a part in slowing and even constriciting the spread by practicing sound hygiene, social distancing and staying at home.  And finally, because it courses through my veins, I’m grateful for my extended family of hospitality workers…for those fortunate enough to still be employed doing the best they can with what they can access, all to offer you the comfort of a warm meal just as we have been doing for decades…and for those millions of hospitality family members who live paycheck to paycheck, and have been displaced finding themselves unemployed with no reserves, I send all of my love and light to you.

the nugget…acknowledging gratitude is powerful, offering to others it can be mindblowing for them…and for you.  Find one person to lift today.  Smile and say “hello” to a stranger on a walk.  Brighten your mailcarrier’s day by offering them a note of thanks and encouragement.  Order curbside pick-up food – while many are offering – I have a clear bias www.bartolottas.com.  I PROMISE that your time spent offering gratitude will boost you more than it will them.  I’d love for you to share what you did…I’m guessing that you’ll come up with some pretty incredible ways to express your gratitude.

In loving kindness, and until tomorrow.

 

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14 Comments

  1. Thank you for bringing light wherever you travel — and for sharing your grace, courage, and beauty with the world. ❤️

  2. Mike and I are ordering lunch from a local business. I am also inquiring at church as to whether I can assist anyone with groceries or errands.

  3. Beautifully said! So much to take in and then pass on to someone else who needs a smile, a gesture, a thank you!

  4. 4.22.19 – FOJ

    I feel like I have an intimate relationship with darkness. It took me many years to realize that we are all rooted in pain. That is what makes us common. It’s how we respond to that pain that makes us different.

    Thank you for continuing to lift those around you.

    CMR

  5. ❤️

  6. Thank you Jennifer. I am grateful for my church family who continues to inspire and bring God’s presence to so many during this challenging time. Just returned after dropping off two pans of chocolate brownies to them for their afternoon snack.

  7. Beautiful message!

  8. How very personally and brave to let us in on your struggles. I am so blown away by your words of encouragement during a time when you yourself are healing. It is because of individuals like you that I aspire to share my light and darkness with others. Keep fighting the good fight and inspiring others to do good for the community!

  9. Thank You Jennifer. So many times these past few days, I felt as if I was falling uncontrollably into the darkness. As hard as it is, resist the darkness and keep all in PERSPECTIVE. I am eternally GRATEFUL, that during this time, I am at work; assisting to provide a daily meal for those of our associates who have been temporarily laid off. I am eternally GRATEFUL , my husband, a two time cancer survivor, is safe working at home. We will get through this, no doubt stronger and better on the other side. Keep it all in PERSPECTIVE.

  10. Thanks Jennifer for opening your heart and mind out here! We need your courage and wisdom right now. As for me, I greeted each person that I encountered on my run this morning. We ordered a curbside lunch (a Bartolotta restaurant next week). And finally, I slipped my son, a hospitality worker who has been sidelined, a check to keep him afloat for awhile. All in all, a good day!

  11. Just the reminder and nudge I need to start making positive moments happen in my day, every day. I’m with you J!!!

  12. Thank you. Just what I needed this morning to brighten my day and keep positive

  13. Jen, thank you for your inspiring words and for using your gifts to make the world a better place. I’m grateful to begin this exciting adventure with you as our tour guide.


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