As we near the winter solstice, the darkest night of the year, I often take the time to reflect back on events, creating space for new insights. My year started with so much smoke damage in my home, the air burned my throat and I could not breathe. We were displaced for a couple of months before it was safe to move back home.

Looking back, it was like a hint of what was to come on a bigger scale.

I can’t breathe...

As the pandemic hit, those that contracted the virus and survived told us stories and terrifying moments where they said, “I could not breathe.” For many, our collective sense of home, safety and connection has been disrupted and changed in profound ways.

George Floyd told us moments before his murder, “I can’t breathe,” unleashing the largest social justice response worldwide.

And a growing chorus has been pointing out that the Earth has been telling us for years, in countless ways, “I cannot breathe.” There is a growing understanding that our climate emergency, the pandemic, and those that are impacted by them the most, are all deeply interconnected.

In reflecting on this, I wonder…

Perhaps, we just all need to take a breath.

I have learned that gratitude and grieving can be great medicine that can support positive mental health & well being.

  • Gratitude acknowledges all that supports us and is an invitation for more goodness in our lives. 
  • Grieving our losses can be key to letting go of the past, learning from it and creating space for the new.

What new awareness are you creating space for?

What was this last year like for you? Please share a comment below.

    • Thank you Raj, I agree, it is so important to ground our responses to anything, especially to challenges and turbulent times, through first taking care of our inner landscape. I love how you engage in this work.

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    About the Author

    Jessie Sutherland

    An international speaker, trainer, and consultant, Jessie Sutherland works with organizations and communities to engage diversity, build belonging and ignite intercultural collaboration. Her approach creates sustainable community change that effectively addresses a wide range of complex social problems.

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