I’ve had a tree peony, a birthday gift, in my front yard for eight years. It has never bloomed. 

I keep thinking, “Maybe this year…”  

It looks as if this year may indeed be the year. 

Maybe the peony knows something I don’t know and has been waiting till this pandemic time to open up and tell me. 

Sometimes I lack patience. In these isolation days I’m outside – safely – as much as possible. 

I believe I check on that plant at least five times a day…  Maybe NOW…? 

Yesterday the thought popped, A watched peony never blooms.  True? Maybe yes. Maybe no.

Are you watching tus pensamientos (your thoughts) these days? 

I am. I‘m working from home and have no children or grandchildren in the house, so I largely set my own rhythm. The tempo is much less frantic than usual. 

What I’m Noticing

In these slower-moving moments I’m much more aware of

  • How often I want to eat.
  • How much I love my family.
  • How sometimes I enjoy/ sometimes dread zoom meetings.
  • How frequently I look to see if my stimulus check has arrived (it hasn’t).
  • How I feel so fortunate to be healthy, have money for food, and live in a comfortable home.
  • How I savor the slowed-down rhythm.
  • How vibrantly yellow the daffodils are.
  • How I search for the deeper meaning of Who am I? and What am I here for?
  • How I have no desire to go back to “normal.”

What Are You Aware of?

What are your thoughts?  How is your rhythm?

Are you less pressured, or are you more stressed than ever caring for work, children or other dependents? 

No matter the situation, our moment-to-moment lives are different. 

What are you noticing in new ways?

Amidst the slew of updates, cartoons, opinion pieces, a few got my attention this week.

  • My 8-year-old grand-daughter on a Zoom chat:
    I miss my friends. Can we have a sleep-over if we all wear masks?
  • Rabbi Marc Gelman posted words from the Dalai Lama
    From the Buddhist perspective, every sentient being is acquainted with suffering and the truths of sickness, old age and death. But as human beings we have the capacity to use our minds to conquer anger and panic and greed. In recent years I have been stressing “emotional disarmament” to try to see things realistically and clearly, without the confusion of fear or rage. If a problem has a solution, we must work to find it; if it does not, we need not waste time thinking about it.
  • Zen reminder: Clouds come, clouds go. Plagues come, plagues go. How is it for me just now?
  • Brené Brown The universe is not short on wake-up calls. We’re just quick to hit the snooze button.

Snooze button isn’t stopping COVID-19. 

What’s the best use of our individual and collective energy right this minute? 


Oops, a couple of hours have passed. Time to check on the peony.
Not open yet…
I’ll let you know when/if it blooms.

Meantime try this little Oasis Sanity Tip. Take some time today to consider:

  1. What thoughts have I had today about what is happening now?
  2. My fears? What are my hopes?
  3. The Dalai Lama speaks of emotional disarmament. What does that mean to me?

Stay safe, healthy, and as sane as you can.

Written by Millie Grenough —- Feel free to comment / share


  • Millie Grenough

    Author of Oasis in the Overwhelm, Life Coach, Clinical Instructor in Psychiatry

    Yale University School of Medicine

    Millie Grenough is known for her ability to inspire people to do what they thought was impossible. Millie walks her talk: ex-shy Kentuckian turned Yale Instructor and life coach, ex-nun turned nightclub singer, she has taught non-swimmers to swim, non-singers to sing, burnt-out CEOS to re-boot, frazzled parents to chill, warring parties to work together. She is also a Certified Rubenfeld Synergist and Clinical Social Worker. Her book, Oasis in the Overwhelm - 60-second Strategies for Balance in a Busy World, has helped thousands of people live healthier, happier, more meaningful lives. D. Murali of The Hindu Business Line calls Millie's Oasis Strategies "A whiff of fresh air...a clear stream of reason in the dreary desert sand of dead habit."