This morning I walked outside and noticed a sunflower blooming right beside my mailbox. What in the world? Sunflowers don't bloom in March. I thought about how the birds must have scattered the seeds from their feeder in the backyard to the front.
And just like that, I thought of it. I realized that sunflower came up for a reason.
I'm imagining you're like me...horrified at the war in the Ukraine and the atrocities that are happening every day.
And if you're like me...you feel helpless and powerless. What can we do?
I'm eternally grateful I'm not trying to escape to another country or wondering if I'll survive another explosion.
And I feel guilty.
I wake up in my comfortable bed every morning imagining what it would be like to leave my home with basically the shirt on my back. I try to imagine walking for miles in the freezing cold, fleeing for my life to another country, and wondering where I could end up.
When I get up, I go about my day. Normal, comfortable, protected.
The truth is I can't remotely imagine what the Ukrainian people are going through. I can't imagine the horror of it, experiencing the sound of bombs above me, not knowing if I'll live to see another day. I can't imagine saying goodbye to my family and not knowing if that could be the last time I hug them.
I can't imagine having to comfort children and help them not feel afraid as they hear bombs and feel buildings shake.
I can't imagine being pregnant and wondering how or where I will have my baby.
It's surreal to watch people trying to live in terror...to leave everything behind or see their homes reduced to rubble.
I feel powerless to do anything to help.
I feel the heartache of watching grandmothers and mothers trying to find food for their children.
I watch in awe as I see the Ukrainian people fight back.
I can't imagine the people of Russia who do not agree with this war, who don't know what's going on and who are silenced. To be at risk for imprisonment if they do speak up.
I think of the generosity of people who are offering their homes to refugees in Poland and other countries nearby. And that feels like humanity.
For those of us in the West who are watching, who are going about our normal lives with little impact...it seems so crazy. I know that it's affecting all of us whether we realize it or not.
I've let go and told myself it's up to the leaders to end this atrocity, hopefully without starting World War III. There's so much we don't know that goes on behind the scenes.
Talking to friends, to family, to people care...we're all lifting our heads up from our normal lives and see the horror of it.
I've tried to think of what to say in this blogpost...how to help, how we can stand to fight against one single man who is driven by power.
I don’t have any answers.
Except that the sunflower I saw this morning reminded me to have hope.
Sunflowers are Ukraine's national flower and we know that it's a symbol of solidarity for the country.
The sunflower in front of my house reminds me that there is hope. We must not let go of hope for peace.
I found a few resources that might help:
This article written by Maria Shriver is excellent and says exactly what I would say if I were a better writer. It's well worth the read.
If you want to donate, I’ve read that the best way is to choose a charity that will send your money "as close to Ukraine as possible, as quickly as possible."
Here are a few groups that I'll be donating to and I'm told are safe:
Hearing and seeing the images of this war does affect us.
The more you can use self-care to find peace within yourself, the more you'll be able to balance your own life and the stressors. Do this for yourself so that you be a beacon of hope and be able to help.
Sign up for my 7-day self-care challenge. It's free and it will remind, nudge, and give you new ideas for taking care of yourself.
Please share this post with the people you know and love.
"Humanity—at its best and at its worst—is being played out in front of our very eyes. I believe that this moment is calling us all, no matter where we live, to be beacons of hope. To not lose faith. To carry on like the millions of Ukrainians who are walking for miles hoping to find safety, hoping to find refuge, hoping to not be afraid."
Fall is a time for us to slow down, to ground ourselves and to nourish our bodies. This retreat is designed to help you stop and listen to what it is you need right now. It's a fun and restorative weekend with mindfulness exercises, morning yoga, an online cooking class with the fabulous Chef Bai, healthy recipes to try at home, meditations and group calls to connect you with other women.