What You’ve Learned

Consider what you’ve learned about yourself through grief: Now you know how strong you are. Now you know what you can bear. Think about this strange gift — being confident in what you are capable of. Go forward with that strength.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 113

Photo: Cooper’s Hawk, South Riding, Virginia, March 14, 2022

Post-Traumatic Growth

Post-traumatic stress is a familiar idea. We have come to accept, if not expect, that trauma results in psychological and physical damage. But what about post-traumatic growth, “the positive change experienced as a result of the struggle with a major life crisis or a traumatic event”? Researchers have found that humans not only “bounce back” after traumatic events but actually push forward — taking professional risks, strengthening their relationships, and feeling a deeper sense of gratitude.

So often we think of loss as only destructive, but it is also generative — because every ending is also a beginning. When one thing vanishes, a space is created in its place. Of course, when we grieve, we are mourning a loss, but why not also ask what might grow in that barren place? Why not ask: What could I plant there?

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 94

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, November 1, 2021

Spread the Care

Fight the urge to withdraw, to fold in on yourself, as if your pain is contagious and might infect someone else. We are here to take care of one another; the care is what’s catching, spreading person to person to person. So take — and give — care.

KEEP MOVING.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 71

Photo: Bluebell Trail, Bull Run Regional Park, Virginia, April 8, 2021

Gifts of Each Season

Each season has its gifts. What did my life’s hardest season give to me? Most of all, belief in my own ability not only to come back after a long winter but to grow stronger, more alive. Belief that change makes everything possible. Belief in my own spring. In the meantime, thanks to the bare trees, I can see more sky. It’s a beauty emergency — all that blue through the branches.

— Maggie Smith, Keep Moving, p. 55

Photo: South Riding, Virginia, March 27, 2021