The Valley


I’m sitting in my new temporary coffee shop doing what I usually do at the coffee shop – writing blogs and things.  I have internet. It’s cozy. A little cramped but better than being inside for another minute.

Got a great view: in front of me are a mother and her 2 young daughters practicing on their roller skates. Where I am is pretty empty, even though it’s usually hard to get a parking spot. Yes. That’s right. I’m in my car just outside of Starbucks, sipping my latte and typing away.

Today I’m cool. Yesterday I was in the kind of fog I get into when everything suddenly changes.  I planned on joining the rest of Toronto in the park along the Lakeshore, but when I got there it was so crowded I went home instead. I’d already made alternate arrangements with my clients, and was set for isolating for up to 3 weeks, but it didn’t matter. What I arrange for voluntarily is one thing; what is arranged for me involuntarily – even if it’s the same thing – is another thing.

As the expert I heard on Youtube put it, washing our hands for 20 seconds each time – and frequently, staying 6 feet away from others, wearing a mask if we’re around others and we have a cold – those are the major things we can do to contain the spread of the virus. It is a good idea to stay home whenever possible, and other measures people have taken to curtail the spread.

Having said all that, the very best idea in my opinion is to remain calm, accept the situation, and learn to live and grow within its temporary parameters.

This brings me to the Valley: That beautiful passage from the Tao “The valley spirit never dies … use it. It will never fail.” (the full passage is in the Quote of the Week section of my Newsletter).

Our life is made up of a series of peaks and valleys. The peaks are where we all want to be all the time, because it feels wonderful being up there, feeling the beauty of our growth and accomplishments. And yet, that isn’t where we grow – we grow in the valleys – that fertile ground filled with the compost of our past mistakes, and of what life hands us. (For more on this subject, read my blog post, Peaks and Valleys).

Yesterday, I was in a fog. Today, I am wondering what this new set of changes will bring.


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Maryanne Nicholls is a Registered Psychotherapist.  To find out more, gain access to her weekly newsletter, meditations and programmes, sign up at 


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