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  • Mary Jo Kreitzer

Adjusting Expectations

In conversations that I have been having personally and professionally, I sense a growing understanding that many of the changes we made during the Covid-19 pandemic are here to stay. While the state of the pandemic is certainly better than it was a year ago, we continue to live with uncertainty related to the Covid variants, endurance of immunity post-vaccination, what future school and work options will look like, and how to heal the nation. Ina recent article in the Harvard Business Review, Aneel Chima and Ron Gutman note that while we may think of 2020as an anomaly, it may not be. They suggest that conditions for accelerating change have been building for years. While we may yearn for stability, the reality is that in the world today, change is:

Perpetual – occurring all the time in an ongoing way.

Pervasive – unfolding in multiple areas of life at once.

Exponential – accelerating at an increasingly rapid rate.

As I think about a world in which change is so all encompassing, I am reminded of a quote by E.B. White. In a New York Times interview with Israel Shenker, White is quoted as saying – “Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day.” Often the second part of the quote is left out – “But if we forget to savor the world, what possible reason do we have for saving it?” His point – savoring must come first.

The pandemic has certainly forced us to re-think our values, priorities, and in many ways, our purpose. That is also true for us at the Bakken Center. Since the onset of the pandemic, a major focus for us has been to find ways to stay connected to each other and to help others stay connected. More and more research is emerging on the importance of social connection. Be sure to check out the story by Kevin Coss on the power of social connection and ways that our Integrative Health and Wellbeing Research Program are coaching patients and healthcare providers on the importance of social wellbeing and self-care.

Another deep learning for us at the Bakken Center is that by pivoting our strategy to offering more courses, workshops, and webinars online, we are tremendously expanding access to all that we offer and ultimately our impact. Aegor Ray writes about our new workshop on managing anxiety and difficult emotions and highlights the success we are having with pay-what-you-can registration.

Key to learning how to savor are practices such as mindfulness and gratitude. Shelly Gill Murray has written a powerful personal narrative that points out that practicing gratitude takes practice. In her story, she highlights research that we did with CaringBridge on the power of being grateful and describes how to begin a gratitude practice.

In the end, we are called to both savor and save the world and at the Bakken Center, we will continue to do all we can to advance wellbeing at a personal, community, organizational, and community level. We deeply value your support and partnership and welcome your financial contribution to our work.

Warm Regards,

Mary Jo Kreitzer, PhD, RN, FAAN

Founder and Director

Earl E. Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing

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