The Daily Grace
The Daily Grace

Dusting off your instinct.

May 13, 2020 | Creative Living, making & doing | 10 comments

WHAT A STRANGE and unsettling time we’re in, suffering the coronavirus pandemic. Two months of self-isolation and at least we can say we have managed to master the mechanics the situation: living separate, working from home, properly logging in to Zoom. We’ve found ways to love well, give well, pray well, and we’ve done it in the midst of a reality that was previously unimaginable.

So now I would like to make this pronouncement, which I suggest we make official.

I am worn and weary from the effort, I’ll tell you that. I am sick of using good energy simply to cope. My heart longs for connection, to be encircled, to be reinvigorated by the good that passes one to another when we human beings collect. Not virtual contact (although I remain grateful for this) but real, live, in-person, huggable, eye-to-eye, soul-to-soul connection.

Maybe there is hope on a far distant horizon. States are reopening and businesses are trying their best to figure how to operate in an uncharted Phase Two world. Still the truth is these decisions carry with them even greater risk than we’ve already faced, something that seems impossible. We are entering into a time that, to me, feels more burdensome and breath-stealing than ever. And so I worry and wonder, and my spirit constricts again.


THERE IS A VIDEO taking the world by storm, The Great Realisation. (If you have not seen it, please take four minutes to watch it.) The Great Realisation is a bedtime story made by a young English poet in which there’s a look back at 2020 as the start of a changed way of living. (Hindsight is 2020, you know.) The piece is gentle and lovely and hopeful, and as I watched, a line took hold that will not release.

But while we all were hidden, and amidst the fear, people dusted off their instincts. They remembered how to smile.

It’s a beautiful and insightful concept, dusting off instincts, returning to behaviors so central they are born in, they live within, they provide for our very survival. Instincts don’t just offer fulfillment, the poet suggests, they are fulfillment, and thus they offer the path to joy–pure, uncomplicated, and childlike.

And so I consider. The novelty of the pandemic is gone, and as hard realities stretch into the future so far they cannot be predicted, can I lean on instinct to walk through the slog that is ahead?

What has been my instinct, anyway?


IT IS THERE, of course, as I look back over my #stayhome days. And the answer surprises me because it is not what I would have expected. It has not been writing, it has not been photographing these beautiful mountains, it has not been cooking or walking or even being in nature.

No. In isolation, in all this anxious turmoil, my instinct has been to make.

And I know why: I am a maker at heart. I was, as a girl, my hands always busy with whatever happened to be the project of the day: a tiny book of poetry from typing paper and a stapler; construction paper and colorful markers then, voila, greeting cards; a set of Barbie clothes (with poncho) from an old piece of fabric.

All of which is to say, in recent days, I have been at my most content when I was making.

a new project, a quilt

What has been your instinct? Can you name it, lean into it, lean on it as we move through these next slog months? Can you recognize and honor its significance? Can you let it offer joy–no expectation, no judgement–but just a return to the welcoming of sweet, simple joy, however your tender heart defines it.

It’s the only way we’ll make it through, that’s what I believe.

It’s how I’ll keep my own heart happy, of that I am certain.



  1. Janice Culpepper

    Thank you Cathy! You have such a wonderful gift of being able to express your thoughts and I find myself reading it and thinking, YES, that’s the same way I feel but I could never put it in words like you can. I’ve been busy in the yard with my flowers and repairs and cleaning out the “Outhouses” and getting rid of junk. Yaaaa! I’m retired but I’m tired of having something always to do that I run out of time to do what needs doing!
    I had watched the Utube video and loved it, especially the children at the end.
    Hope you and Tim are doing well and stay well. Love you guys and can’t wait to hug my Church Family and My children and especially my Grandbabies and my Mama!

    • Cathy

      I hear you, friend. There is always something that needs to be done! Thanks for commenting, and I look forward to seeing you–hopefully sooner rather than later!

  2. Wiley McCarthy

    I’m finding satisfaction in small tasks–cleaning that cabinet, loving furniture with lemon oil and beeswax, shredding old financial records, weeding my garden one tiny bit at a time. Have two large young adults here that interrupt my flow in delightful ways.

    • Cathy

      There is so much goodness and joy in finding the “lovely” in those small tasks. Thanks for the beautiful reminder! XXOO

  3. Bob Priest

    It’s so nice to reconnect with you through your writings. I really enjoyed “dusting off your instinct”! This has been a strange time in our lives….I don’t remember anything like this in my lifetime. I will say it has allowed “time” to reflect and spend time with family. For me, it has helped navigate my retirement. This has been difficult to let loose of a job that I loved. (Band director) I’ve had time to reconnect with friends from my past and make new ones. Thank you so much for this writing it really helped and encouraged. Thanks my ole friend ?

    • Cathy

      Hey friend! I am so happy to hear from you and to know the post was meaningful to you. I cannot imagine what it is to give up a job you love so much, and a job that loved you so much! Oh, the lives you have impacted. Well, you deserve time and space and adventure, and I wish you an abundance of all. Thanks so much for saying hello. XXOO

  4. Julie

    Well, yours is very life-giving. My instinct is the life-sucking habit of co-dependency and this pandemic has provided an opportunity to give up that miserable mindset once and for all. Does that count? Looking forward to the joyful instincts now free to have their day in the sun. That said, I do notice that I’ve been keeping a pretty constant dialogue going with God. She’s so supportive. Love you, friend!

    • Cathy

      You are among my most inspiring friends, and I am so glad SHE and the universe connected us. It’s fascinating to think of the work being done in each of us during this unconscionable time–we’ll continue to pray for good outcomes 🙂 Love and hugs.

  5. Chris H.

    Thanks CRM, that was like a cold drink of water from a found mountain stream. I feel better. I have a ways to go yet, as all of us do, but we’ll get there.

    We can’t live the rest of our days in an emotional cave.
    I can’t anyway.

    • Cathy

      I’m so happy this spoke to you. What a crazy time, what an odd thing to even be thinking about. Still it is what it is. Thanks for commenting, friend.

Cathy Rigg Headshot

Hi. I’m Cathy.

This is a blog about writing, creative living, and grace in the everyday. It’s my hope this little spot on the internet will be for you a place of quiet and reflection, a source for inspiration, and a reminder there’s beauty all around—we simply need to keep our hearts open to see it. Thank you for being here with me.

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