We're taught to be helpful, to "do unto others". And that's right. That's good. We know, too, that this might require sacrifices, sacrifices of many sorts--like emotional sacrifices. When our empathic "pedal is to the metal", it can use up a lot of our emotional petrol. So we need ways to "fuel up", to restore ourselves. If we run out of gas, we're no help to anyone, including ourselves.

     -The Godmother

During this time of COVID-19, many are reaching out far and wide to friends and family struggling emotionally. I confess: I have a list. The names of people I care about are written on a whiteboard in my office. Extroverted friends who especially suffer thanks to "social distancing", others whose navel gazing has triggered unhelpful "coping mechanisms", some whose inactivity has made them realize too much of their identity is tied up with their 9-to-5. Yes, perhaps a written list is silly, but I worry.

I've never been much for the trendy word "self-care". It's probably the Catholic thing. (But, alas, even Jesus modeled self-care. And he withdrew--to the the other side of the lake, to the mountain, to the garden.) These days, I'm having weekly matinees in the office. I drag in the old TV. Make popcorn. Indulge by turning on the a/c. And delight in watching one of the few existing
#1 Ladies Detective Agency episodes which echo the wonderful books. Yes, Mma Ramotswe, the Botswanan "lady" detective: my "self-care". For now, that's enough.
Deforestation in Cambodia: That stuff on the back of the motorbike in the photo is HEAVY. It's heavy because it is from old, hardwood trees. Gorgeous trees like rosewood, teak and others--trees whose time in Cambodia is very likely ending. Between 1970 to 2007, Cambodia's primary forest cover was decreased by 70% and continues at an alarming rate. Cambodia's trees are being stolen and sold off to the highest bidder (like China, Vietnam and, well, us here in Cambodia). Where there is demand, there is supply. Heaven help us "demanders".
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Did you miss a previous Godmother's Advice email? 
  • #001: Khmer boxing & solving problems
  • #002: Workers' commute & "making room"
  • #003: Bright balloons & dangerous attractions
  • #004: Bats and others' ways
  • #005: Playing in the mud
  • #006: Tattoos and bad habits
  • #007: Make-believe
  • #008: Dental and other care
  • #009: Boat races and collaboration
  • #010: Loads carried
  • #011: Nothing beyond repair
  • #012: Solid bricks
  • #013: Toilet left standing
  • #014: Flying a kite
  • #015: Everyone is held
  • #016: Dry fish in the sun
  • #017: Little children
 
  • #018: Worth looking for
  • #019: Two-way windows
  • #020: Heroes emerge
  • #021: A wide net cast
  • #022: Take what you need
  • #023: Make your own fun
  • #024: See what the sun smiles on
  • #025: Fly high
  • #026: Open the treasure chest
  • #027: Where greatness lies
  • #028: Practice holiness
  • #029: Say it
  • #030: Read
  • #031: Leave alone to grow
  • #032: Judge the destination
  • #033: Choke it down
  • #034: Think in 3D
Background about this email: Several years ago, I was feeling like an inadequate Godmother due to my absence in the US and, consequently, my absence in my Godsons' lives. I decided to send what little advice I have as someone who has been in the world for 30 years longer than they. Thus was born my Godmother's emails--a tidbit of advice each week. I decided to share these emails with friends and others because I feel that  folks need some good, helpful or happy things in their Inbox these days. I hope these Godmother's advice emails are good, helpful or happy for you; otherwise, unsubscribe below.
This email and my work in Cambodia is made possible by the Maryknoll Lay Missioners program through which I serve. To support me, use this secure online form. If you are outside the US, you can donate through PayPal.com (specify "maria_montello@yahoo.com" as the recipient).
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