I wrote this note this morning for Blood and Milk’s weekly newsletter (you can subscribe to it here!) but wanted to share it on the blog in case it resonates with anyone else this week. Sending hugs from smoky SF
It's smoky here in San Francisco, as a blanket of soot from Butte County's Camp Fire has traveled hundreds of miles to the Bay Area. As I sit on my couch with a warm drink and homemade breakfast, I feel grateful that my apartment still stands, that my company has given us the option to work from home due to the toxic air quality. And then I feel guilty. Because nearly 50 lives have been lost to this fire, and more than 600 families still have loved ones unaccounted for.
Earlier this week, I went to a panel discussion on self-care, and they talked a bit about relativity. How it's OK to stay inside and feel uncomfortable that my eyes sting and my throat itches from smoke, while also recognizing that in the grander scheme of this disaster, I am so incredibly lucky. It's OK to feel annoyed that I've been inside all week because of the smoke, so long as I remain aware that "annoyed" is a blessing compared to what others are feeling: despair, agony, fear, loss.
Life is often a balance in understanding the relativity of experience. If we shouldered the true gravity of the experiences of everyone around us, we would be swallowed, crushed by empathy. We can't bear the weight of all of life's hardships, for everyone near and far, but we can reflect, and we can give where we can.
And perhaps the easiest thing we can do is extend gratitude—that I'm able to feel the sensation of stinging eyes, that my heart can hurt for people I don't know. That connection, in the most joyful and devastating of human experiences, is the point of it all, and that that's something to be thankful for.
Image by my brilliant team at Cora