By Susan Lesh
I was struck this morning, when listening to Kate Lovelady’s address “Can Philosophy Help Make Us Happier?”, that I’m having a hard time right now feeling happiness. With the continuing onslaught of disturbing news about many issues and the pressure of being at home without the ability to “leave the office at the office,” I am feeling little relief from the stress. As Kate noted, people may question the topic choice at this time, but we all may need a bit of focus on it to get to another day. I know it struck a chord with me.
As several people in the platform noted, developing practices and habits of mind can help you get relief. I am with Joe on feeling that connecting with others is a way to not feel the isolation that stress can build around me. This summer, I plan to try to meet more people outdoors, where it’s less risky to meet. Joe also mentioned that focusing on helping others, attempting to support another person through difficult times, is a way to feel good about yourself. Someone said “give love to get love.” These are important messages to build into daily practice. Communing with nature is also a way to relieve the tensions surrounding me. Although I have to contend with the squirrel that keeps digging up and tossing aside my herbs, I am trying to enjoy the flowers and herbs in my front garden. I will also be exploring some of the less frequented parks in New Jersey and New York to take in nature.
I hope to return to you after this summer happier and more resilient to the challenges we have in the world right now. I wish you the same.
Susan Lesh is president of the Ethical Culture Society of Bergen County.