Two Tales of Growth

A Look into “What’s Driving You Crazy?”

By Margaret Rau

Throughout the last year I have found myself asking the question What’s driving you? As my routines shifted to reflect the Covid-19 precautions, I realized that the things that motivated me necessarily looked a bit different in practice. I was not able to engage with the things that brought me energy in the same ways, even a walk around the block was shadowed with concerns like, Am I doing enough to not pick up Covid? The pandemic and social movements such as Black Lives Matter have pulled a lot of our collective practices into question. They have encouraged that we look harder at the key things motivating us.

In “What’s Driving You Crazy?” (Thursdays at 4:00 pm) we have created a space in which the group can explore the issues that are on our minds, personally or socially. No one likes the pandemic — yeah, it is driving a lot of us crazy — but we have been able to use it as an opportunity to look at what is working and what isn’t in our lives.

Each week we come together to connect, vent, and learn from one another how to get through hard times. We have talked about a range of topics, including relationship tendencies, distorted thinking styles, conflict management, post-traumatic growth, vaccine concerns, ageism, and generally how to cope with life’s difficulties.

While interning at the center, and while working with the “What’s Driving You Crazy?” group, I have observed a key similarity amongst Bay Ridge Center members: a growth mindset. For a quick description, the growth mindset is a person’s ability to reshape something adverse and use it to practice resilience, develop skills, and build strength. Navigating the things that are driving us crazy becomes easier when we refocus on the things that are driving us, the things that motivate us, like community, justice, family, creativity, intelligence, a higher power, or wisdom.

Margaret Rau is a Master's student at Silberman School of Social Work. Join her Thursdays at 4 pm here or by telephone at 646-558-8656 Meeting ID: 347 123 4321.

Virtual Gardening: Learning & Sharing Excellent Tips

By Melanie A. Dessommes

Spring is here, and it is time to germinate some seeds for the outdoors. Something as simple as a leftover egg carton is prefect to start your own seedlings and garden starts for outdoor gardening. Since we have been indoors for some time now, we have had to reinvent the way we entertain ourselves. Caring for indoor plants is rewarding and therapeutic. With a little patience and nurturing the simplest plants can thrive right next to you in a window space and change your indoor living. One thing that happens often is over watering plants. Dusting the leaves is helpful and helps us keep an eyes on any subtle changes.

Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans)

Every Wednesday at 2:00 pm members of BRC meet with me on Zoom to share our gardening progress and most importantly to connect to one another. I am not an expert at gardening; as a matter of fact, I learn more from the members who have joined our group. We have shared our successes and our failures of indoor gardening. My personal success story of saving my Lipstick Plant (Aeschynanthus radicans) has happened from learning tips on the virtual meetup. Last summer it was burned from too much outdoor direct sunlight. Last week it bloomed the first flowers I have seen on the plant in over a year.

I am personally more accustomed to outdoor gardening and letting Mother Nature help me out. Now we can get started with sowing seeds for 2021.

Melanie and her growing things

I am so thankful for this virtual meet up and how it has not only connected me to other people but has saved my plants! I hope to see you Wednesdays at 2:00 pm.

Melanie A. Dessommes is a student at the NYU Silver School of Social Work and an intern at Bay Ridge Center. See our calendar or click here for the Wednesday Zoom link or at the time of the class, call 646-558-8656, Meeting ID: 347 123 4321.

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