Remember the poem “Spring has sprung, the grass has riz, I wonder where the birdies is”? Some say it was written by Ogden Nash, others say it was e.e. cummings, but apparently no one really knows. Regardless of who actually created the little ditty, many often remember today – the first day of Spring in this part of the world.

This time in 2019, not only had spring sprung but so had the pandemic: the COVID19 virus. Big time. As years passed, increasing numbers of people were diagnosed with the virus and as the world moved beyond social-distancing into self-isolation, claustrophobia and signs of depression began to settle in on many. People living in small spaces, those who had to quarantine, those who couldn’t share a meal or give/receive a hug experienced mental disquiet. Fear about what the news would bring tomorrow, next week, next month was ever-changing and on the rise.

As vaccines were created and people began to be vaccinated and ‘numbers’ dropped, the world began to relax – until last month when a new fear about “what the news will bring tomorrow” surfaced because of war in Ukraine and the growing nuclear threat.

When … will the fear stop?  
Why … is there evil in the world?
How … will the world become a gentle place? 
What … needs to happen so that people experience life as blessing than curse?

When I consider things that cause fear to rise up within me or others, be that – flying in an airplane – the pandemic and becoming seriously ill – living in a country where democracy is nonexistent -being surrounded by war – having no hope, I do what I can to refocus.

Before going to sleep, I consciously focus my thoughts on a blessing from each day: … an emotion … an experience … a relationship … an insight … something someone did for me or something I did for another and in the doing, I was blessed to be part of it … a memory … a conversation … a quotation … an image … a book … a song … a phone visit with a friend … a piece of music that stirred me.

Sometimes the blessing has come in a blog … a photo … a special email … a word spoken that touched my heart/spirit/mind … a colour with special significance … an ability that I’ve taken for granted most days … an experience of kindness expressed … a walk out in Nature … a moment of calmness in the cacophony of the the day. It can be … anything!

I write down whatever it is that brought a blessing my way that day and indicate the date. Then the note is put into a little box or jar or written in my Journal. I don’t look at it for a month at which time, in a quiet moment, I open the box/jar/Journal and read about the blessings I’ve experienced in the past month.

No matter what kind of month I think I may have had, the slips of paper are a tangible reminder that every day in that month, there was at least one thing which tugged at my heart / mind / spirit and blessed me.

Sometimes, I forget the blessings that touch me because I focus on the yuck-of-life.

Sometimes, I ignore the wonders of the world around me, the things I take for granted, and focus attention on the hurts, concerns and fears.

Sometimes, I forget the things that put a smile on my face.

The physical and emotional ramifications of the pandemic and the war in Ukraine and the threat of nuclear weapons can be serious.
While there isn’t any scientific proof that simply recalling one blessing for every day for a month won’t rewire our brain from anxiety to calm, who knows – it might!

Each year when Spring arrives, the “Spring has Sprung” poem goes through my head and puts a smile on my face. Daffodils do, too. Looking at them is a wonderful breather from all the news about the pandemic, climate change and war … and a blessing.

And so I focus on blessings – be they daffodils, sunflowers, the laughter of a child, the kindness of strangers, a creative outlet/opportunity, the courage of Ukrainians, the hope.

These are difficult days. A change in focus from fear to blessing could help diminish the anxiety.


© June Maffin