Pandemic Celebrations

In the beginning of the Pandemic I didn’t post on my Facebook Ripple page. I was busy. That’s another story! It’s been 10 months since then. I am making the time today to write and reflect. Christmas 2020 has come and gone which means that the New Year is on the horizon. It’s time to reflect on the year and oh what a year it has been. It’s one for the history books and that is an understatement. 

This year, specifically the spring brought me opportunities! The entire nation came to a grinding halt. I claimed it as a time to reflect and reclaim pieces of me that I had lost in the midst of training and coaching over the past ten years. I’m going to be honest that this didn’t come easily. I went kicking and screaming! Ask my friends! So I befriended reading again and discovered my love affair with podcasts! 

I came home to Johns Island in mid August after spending the first 5 months of the shut down in Morristown, New Jersey with my youngest son and his family. I dove back into training in August  but now it’s virtual training! On a whim I included two slides in my presentation about books and podcasts that were of interest to me. I was utterly shocked at the overwhelming response when folks would inquire after the training to send me the titles of the books and podcasts. This is so very heartening to think that folks are hungry for a change in their life, in our country! 

So I am going to attempt to list them. 

Here some of the books! 
The Boy Who Was Raised As A Dog  by Bruce D. Perry and Maia Szalavitz

From Basic Books

In this instant classic of developmental psychology, a renowned psychiatrist examines the effect that trauma can have on a child, reveals how PTSD impacts the developing mind, and outlines the path to recovery. What happens when a young brain is traumatized? How does terror, abuse, or disaster affect a child’s mind — and how can that mind recover? Child psychiatrist Dr. Bruce D. Perry has helped children faced with unimaginable horror: genocide survivors, murder witnesses, kidnapped teenagers, and victims of family violence.
In The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, Dr. Perry tells their stories of trauma and transformation through the lens of science, revealing the brain’s astonishing capacity for healing. Deftly combining unforgettable case histories with his own compassionate, insightful strategies for rehabilitation, Perry explains what exactly happens to the brain when a child is exposed to extreme stress — and reveals the unexpected measures that can be taken to ease a child’s pain and help him grow into a healthy adult. 
As a senior fellow at the Child Trauma Academy, Dr. Perry and his clinical group worked with hundreds who endured severe childhood neglect and abuse with incredible resilience and strength. Through the stories of children who recover — physically, mentally, and emotionally — from the most devastating circumstances, Perry shows how simple things like surroundings, affection, language, and touch can deeply impact the developing brain, for better or for worse. In this deeply informed and moving book, Bruce Perry dramatically demonstrates that only when we understand the science of the mind can we hope to heal the spirit of even the most wounded child.

The Deepest Well  by Dr. Nadine Burke Harris

From Good Reads
Dr. Nadine Burke Harris was already known as a crusading physician delivering targeted care to vulnerable children. But it was Diego — a boy who had stopped growing after a sexual assault — who galvanized her journey to uncover the connections between toxic stress and lifelong illnesses.

The news of Burke Harris’s research is just how deeply our bodies can be imprinted by ACEs—adverse childhood experiences like abuse, neglect, parental addiction, mental illness, and divorce. Childhood adversity changes our biological systems, and lasts a lifetime.  For anyone who has faced a difficult childhood, or who cares about the millions of children who do, the scientific insight and innovative, acclaimed health interventions in The Deepest Well represent hope for preventing lifelong illness for those we love and for generations to come​.

How To Be an Antiracist  by Ibram X Kendi

From Good Reads
Ibram X. Kendi’s concept of antiracism reenergizes and reshapes the conversation about racial justice in America–but even more fundamentally, points us toward liberating new ways of thinking about ourselves and each other. In How to be an Antiracist, Kendi asks us to think about what an antiracist society might look like, and how we can play an active role in building it. 

In this book, Kendi weaves together an electrifying combination of ethics, history, law, and science, bringing it all together with an engaging personal narrative of his own awakening to antiracism. How to Be an Antiracist is an essential work for anyone who wants to go beyond an awareness of racism to the next step: contributing to the formation of a truly just and equitable society. 

Leadership In Turbulent Times by Doris Kearns Goodwin


From Good Reads
Are leaders born or made? Where does ambition come from? How does adversity affect the growth of leadership? Does the leader make the times or do the times make the leader?

In Leadership, Goodwin draws upon the four presidents she has studied most closely—Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Franklin D. Roosevelt, and Lyndon B. Johnson (in civil rights)—to show how they recognized leadership qualities within themselves and were recognized as leaders by others. By looking back to their first entries into public life, we encounter them at a time when their paths were filled with confusion, fear, and hope.

Leadership tells the story of how they all collided with dramatic reversals that disrupted their lives and threatened to shatter forever their ambitions. Nonetheless, they all emerged fitted to confront the contours and dilemmas of their times.

No common pattern describes the trajectory of leadership. Although set apart in background, abilities, and temperament, these men shared a fierce ambition and a deep-seated resilience that enabled them to surmount uncommon hardships. At their best, all four were guided by a sense of moral purpose. At moments of great challenge, they were able to summon their talents to enlarge the opportunities and lives of others

Here are some of the podcasts! 

Brené Brown  Unlocking Us
You can listen on Podcasts or Spotify. I’ve included only one episode, the most recent. This is from December 2, 2020

In this episode, I talk with David Eagleman, a neuroscientist, New York Timesbestselling author, TED speaker, and Guggenheim Fellow, all about the brain and how it works. It’s mysterious, malleable, constantly changing and up for new challenges. We dig deeper into the research in his book Livewired: The Inside Story of the Ever-Changing Brain on the power of being uncomfortable and trying new things and how important new experiences are for continued brain development and health.

It Was Said by Jon Meacham
I listened to all of them!

It Was Said is a limited documentary podcast series looking back on some of the most powerful, impactful and timeless speeches in American history. Written and narrated by Pulitzer Prize winning and best-selling author-historian Jon Meacham, and created, directed and produced by Peabody-nominated C13Originals Studios in association with HISTORY Channel, this series takes you through 10 speeches for the inaugural season. Meacham offers expert insight and analysis into their origins, the orator, the context of the times they were given, why they are still relevant today, and the importance of never forgetting them. Each episode of this documentary podcast series also brings together some of the top historians, authors and journalists relevant to each respective speech and figure.

How To Citizen with Baratunde

Take a listen to this one! Season One: Episode 15 Kindness as Our Pandemic Response with Dr. Michael Osterholm  

How To Citizen with Baratunde reimagines the word “citizen” as a verb and reminds us how to wield our collective power. So many of us want to do more in response to the problems we hear about constantly, but where and how to participate can leave us feeling overwhelmed and helpless. Voting, while critically important, simply isn’t enough. It takes more to make this experiment in self-governance work! Listen in to learn new perspectives and practices from people working to improve society for the many. Join writer, activist, and comedian Baratunde Thurston on a journey beyond politics as usual that will leave us all more hopeful, connected, and moved to act.

Hope Through History  Jon Meachamp
You’ll love his voice! I love that he’s a historian from the South.

Welcome to Hope, Through History, with Pulitzer Prize Winning and Best Selling Author and Historian, Jon Meacham and directed and produced by Cadence13, in partnership with HISTORY Channel. HTH explores some of the most historic and trying times in American History, and how this nation dealt with these moments, the impact of these moments and how we came through these moments a unified nation. Season One takes a look at critical moments around the 1918 Flu Pandemic, the Great Depression, World War II, the polio epidemic and the Cuban Missile Crisis. These stories of crisis—the term originates in the writings of Hippocrates, as a moment in the course of a disease where a patient either lives or dies—are rich, and in our own 2020 hour of pandemic and slow-motion but indisputably real panic, there’s utility in re-engaging with the stories of how leaders and citizens have reacted amid tension and tumult. The vicissitudes of history always challenge us in new and often-confounding ways; that’s in the nature of things. Still, as Winston Churchill once remarked, “The future is unknowable, but the past should give us hope”—the hope that human ingenuity, reason, and character can combine to save us from the abyss and keep us on a path, in another phrase of Churchill’s, to broad, sun-lit uplands.

Being Well  with Dr. Rick Hanson and his son Forrest Hanson

Bestselling authors Dr. Rick Hanson and Forrest Hanson explore the practical science of lasting well-being, and teach you how to build reliable inner strengths, overcome your challenges, and get the most out of life. New conversations every Monday.

Here are a few of my favorites! Their notes/details are full of great links!
Unlearning Bias and Prejudice with Dr. Jack Glaser We’re all subject to forms of bias and prejudice. On this episode, Forrest and Rick are joined by Dr. Jack Glaser, an expert on intergroup bias and racial prejudice, to explore what we can do to overcome our innate tendencies.
Compassion, Power, and Human Nature with Dr. Dacher Keltner Does power corrupt? Where does compassion come from? And do positive or negative emotions serve as the basis for our true nature? Today we’re exploring these questions with Dr. Dacher Keltner, a world-class expert on emotion, power, and morality.

Last Thoughts

The New Year is on the horizon! I feel hopeful, just barely but that is my tendency. I feel hopeful that we will all be able to come together again as one big family and celebrate and hug! It’s because of my dog, my son and his family and these books and podcasts that I am healthier! I walk on an average of 3 miles a day as I listen to books and podcasts. I have a commitment with two other friends each day to text them when I am finished walking. What is your commitment for the next year? Are you willing to take a moment to comment below with your commitment? What will your Ripple be for this new year of 2021?

July 4, 2020 in Morristown, NJ!
July 4, 2020 in Morristown, NJ!
Bailey’s first Christmas on Folly Beach, SC! 2013

4 Replies to “Pandemic Celebrations”

  1. Look at you grow! Jessica! Wow and heartfelt congratulations! You are living proof of conscious resilience and brain plasticity. You give me hope for all that lies ahead, in 2021 and beyond. I can’t wait to check out these books and blogs and to see where your journey leads you. Thank you for sharing; I’m so glad to know you.

  2. This is powerful stuff!
    Your ability to find the good never ceases to amaze me. Thank you for sharing your truth, for sharing what inspires you and feeds your soul.
    Hopeful is the watchword.
    ❤️

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