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Dusk, Night, Dawn

On Revival and Courage

By Anne Lamott
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Dusk, Night, Dawn by Anne Lamott

Dusk, Night, Dawn (2021) is an exploration of the worries and anxieties that keep us up at night. During dark times, it sometimes gets hard to find a reason to keep going. Here you will find help to point you in the right direction, toward hope, self-acceptance, and peace.

Key idea 1 of 6

You can start to recover your faith in life by waking up to the present.

“May you live in interesting times.” It’s a saying you might have heard. One that’s probably a little too apt for the present moment! With a new crisis leaping off the front page each day – or lighting up your phone with alerts – it’s never been easier to slip into catastrophe mode.

In the middle of all this turmoil, how do you go on believing that there’s a purpose to life? Or stay hopeful for your children and grandchildren’s futures?

For the author, Anne Lamott, hope blooms in the present. She recalls a fight with her husband that took place not long after they got married – strangely, it was one that happened mostly in her head.

The key message here is: You can start to recover your faith in life by waking up to the present.

You see, the row was really just a back and forth with herself since all her husband was doing was not answering her texts. She was caught up in the noise. But after a phone call with a trusted friend, she came back to the moment and remembered that, above all, her husband is her best friend and that sharing life isn’t always a bed of roses. She was happily married and in love – and this realization quieted the turmoil that had been wrecking her day.

It was a similar feeling to one she’d experienced decades earlier while getting sober from alcohol addiction. Although her body recovered quickly, she found that she still felt disconnected and unmoored from her self, or what she calls “the purest expression” of her being: her soul.

For a time, she’d tarnished her soul with perfectionism, self-hatred, and egotism – the holy trinity of toxicity. But while the soul can be bruised and battered, it remains ever the optimist, always ready to fill with hope.

And so it did. She began to clean up the wreckage of her past by taking tiny actions, like paying her bills and doing the dishes. These tasks helped her to stay firmly grounded in the moment, and she slowly started to love herself.

If you’re facing a similar struggle, it can help to check that your soul still works by tuning into your curiosity. If you feel goodness or presence, know that that’s your soul tapping you on the shoulder, willing you to pay attention. Start with what’s in front of you – a bowl of cherries, perhaps, or a beautiful morning – and savor each moment.

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