3 Things That Bring Me Joy During These Dark Times

Hey y’all, jumping on real quick to do a CHECK-IN.

How are you feeling today? How is your heart? How is your mind? How is your spirit?

People have been checking in with me, so I wanted to do the same with you. My answer: MEH.

And guess what? It’s OK to be meh. To pause for a minute. To do nothing and not feel guilty. To breathe.

One of my fave quotes is “You do you, boo!” To be real real, I haven’t felt like doing much. I’ve been feeling low energy. I’ve been sitting, digesting, meditating on what is. Two pandemics and a deluge of news that makes me anxious.

So I’ve been quiet. I haven’t posted much or created any content lately because I needed to be still. I honestly thought, “What do I have to say that hasn’t been expressed in a way more articulate manner than the folks I follow on social media?”

Does anybody even care about what I have to say at this moment?

Those thoughts were answered three times this past week in three different forms: by phone, text and an old-school letter.

Three friends who do not know each other shared the same sentiments: You have such an important voice, your posts and content bring much-needed light into the world.

That was a huge sign to me. Here I was, sitting still, watching, observing, learning more about the two pandemics — COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement — unfold, thinking about deleting my social media accounts and pausing for a while on my content creation.

Then BAM, people messaged me to check in and let me know that my words lift their spirits. In return, their words have lifted me in a time when I’ve been feeling really down.

So, what is bringing you moments of joy? Even if they’re little moments? Here are some things that lifted my spirits and shifted my perspective as of late:

Take Action

These are three simple things that made me feel better. I invite you to try them and/or share what is lifting your spirits.

1. Check in and connect with someone you care about

A call, text or email could be the highlight of someone’s day. I’ve been sending voice memos randomly as well when thinking about a friend or family member. I find myself simply listening and holding space for people to talk about their anxiety — even on mundane calls with customer service peeps.

2. Old-school letter

My sister-friend Lily sent me a handwritten letter and included some gold (one of my fave colors) hummingbird stickers. I love me some hummingbirds as they are my spirit animal.

This simple, personal touch uplifted my heart and soul deeply. Another friend, Angie, sent some of her favorite things that have been bringing her joy as of late — a candle, a mug with the words “Hey boo,” art and baking supplies.

Both of these sentiments lifted my mood BIG TIME! Thanks, Lily and Angie!

I’ve also clipped some of my favorite house plants and given them to friends as a pick-me-up. The idea is a kind, thoughtful gesture — try it!

3. Help others, give back

Forbes quoted my life mantra: “Everyone has his or her own unique power. It is our responsibility to find that power and use it to the fullest capacity we can in the service of other people.”

I love storytelling and communicating, so I’ve been using my skills to spread light during these dark times. Examples include:

YOLO With ToLo: Soul-to-soul conversations with my soul brother Lonnell Williams (@3LWTV) about what matters most in life and seeing the good during seemingly bad times.

Connecting people: I’ve been reviewing resumes and cover letters for friends and introducing them to folks in my network to help with their job searches.

One-on-one conversations with people who are down and out: We are going through a major time of grief — losing our seemingly normal schedules, losing family members and friends, losing jobs, etc. Just being there and listening can be a tremendous help to someone in need.

Please share what you are doing to stay sane right now. I am so grateful for you and to you for reading, watching and sharing my words and stories with others.

Blessings,
Toan