How are you? How are you managing? Are you an empath (like me) feeling, what feels like at the moment, all the feelings of the world? Amidst a global pandemic, explosions in the middle east, continued racial injustice, wildfires, hurricanes, political insanity, and who knows what else – wow, there are definitely powerful, passionate emotions overflowing. Seriously, how are you doing?
It’s tough. It’s tough to see others choosing things you might not choose for yourself. It’s tough to see the onslaught of news of those shirking common sense requirements. It’s tough to watch those without medical or educational training making those significant decisions. It’s tough and it’s far tougher for so very many. Oy, and now the entire west coast is on fire, too. 2020 – you’re a tough one!
How are you holding space for yourself? Are you able to find ways to feel like yourself these days? I admit, it’s definitely been a roller coaster ride. As we are lucky to have friends around the globe, it’s certainly been something to watch the phases of this global pandemic play out. Friends in Hong Kong were months before us, friends in NY were weeks before us, and now family and friends in Australia are where we were a few months ago. It’s maddening, frustrating, and definitely, without question, enervating.
Amidst the chaos and angst, how are you doing? Can you manage to build in those moments, those hours, or those simple things that actually do spark joy for you? Can you manage to figure out how to positively trigger your mind into exuding those good, gooey chemicals like serotonin and the oxytocin we’re all missing out on without perhaps those big adventures, long workouts, and those very necessary hugs? Talk about working on your yoga in real life!
Nearly six months into this debacle and we’re still pretty much in the learning phase. Sure, some of us have mastered the art of shopping online, having groceries delivered to the door, and giving a few new hobbies a try. I’ve got friends doing paint by numbers, some organizing theme activity days for their kids, and others figuring out how to read books to their family members through Zoom. And now, there’s all the everything about whatever normal means today in the world of ‘back to school’. For us, this entire thing has ebbed and flowed – we’re grateful and constantly seeking those small joys.
We managed to find a beach to walk on – it’s not the usual spot, but it’s wide, open, and close to the apartment. Other than that we basically haven’t left the apartment in six plus months (we did just manage to get up the courage and get our flu shots). Let’s just say that two people managing workloads, exercise, relaxation, entertainment, and creating a makeshift beach escape on the terrace, in a studio apartment, is, well, something. We are so grateful for so very many things and know how truly lucky we are. This is hard and it’s so much harder for so very many.
If you delve deep amidst the noise, it’s actively frustrating. A few months ago, I was taking in each morsel of news, checking the stats, and paying attention to the shifts – I’ve stopped, it was too much. It was too much too listen to the fighting feuds, those who seem to go against care for the greater good, and the ones who tend to shout about their own personal angst – what’s the point. Why give others the opportunity to rattle you? Why let them take up space in your mind and heart.
We’ve made our decisions. We know with what we’re comfortable. We’re listening to the scientists, the medical professionals, and the experts. We’re hanging at home, and hoping that scientific breakthrough comes sooner than later. Like others, we’ve ‘given up’ things during this time and have gained others, too. Everyone is dealing in their own way.
Yes, of course, there are things the world over are in the midst of a pause. Indoor restaurants, personal upkeep like hair/nails/gyms, and so much of those shared experiences (especially in entertainment) have fallen by the wayside at this time. And then, there are the things that, for each of us, hold a special place in our hearts – it’s different for all of us. My friend Kelly travels to multiple, massive concerts each year, my friend Rachael has been separated by geography from her fiancee for months now, and our family and friends who need to travel internationally to see family (including us) – have not been able to do so. To me, it doesn’t matter what it is, it’s the feeling. Some aren’t seeing family members, some have had to cancel/postpone/adjust major milestone events, some have ditched their yearly adventures to far flung lands, and for others, whatever their particular brand of ‘usual’ is – they’re not doing it.
The global world is in a state of pause. Viruses travel through humans – so when humans connect, as humans like to do, viruses thrive. I’m not an epidemiologist, scientist, or medical professional. I do not know the intricate differences between aerosol droplets and viral output. What I do know, is that we’re all experiencing something at the very same time. We’re all grappling with difficulty, choices, information, and dis-ease. And, like everything else in the world, it’s how we act, react, and respond to that dis-ease that will make all the difference.
At the start, I was hoping that we would all respond the same way – I’m well aware that’s a fool’s dream, but, I so hoped we could all choose kindness, the greater good, and work to do our part to make this pandemic a thing of the past. Now, I realize, all I can handle is my own choices and decisions. This pause is hard – and it’s so much harder for so many. I have faith that this a chapter and not the full story. I believe in the scientists and have confidence that someone will be able to jab me in the arm enabling me to leave the house and hug the humans I yearn to hug. I believe strongly that this chaotic time will one day be a thing of the past – but let’s be real, it sure isn’t easy right now.
Perhaps it’s adaptability and gratitude that are the takeaways. We’re all grieving the loss of what once was – the ease with which many of us realize we used to have but don’t feel much anymore. There are things, lifestyles, and humans we miss and are trying our best to manage without, adjust, adapt, or make do. I have moments of energy and ones of sadness. I have times of endless tears that pop up out of the blue and times of smiles that show up when I need them most.
This pause is strange and longer lasting than most of us expected. Juggling the logistics, madness, emotions, and moving pieces of it all takes its toll. Whether it’s a cup of tea, a few minutes of meditation, a virtual yoga class, a few minutes of sunshine, a chat with a friend, a puppy snuggle, or whatever gets your good chemicals flowing…do it, do it often, and be sure to take those moments to reinvigorate your soul for you. When this madness ends, and it will end, the world will feel the arms of a collective global hug and in that moment, I’m certain, we’ll all feel a whole lot better. Until then, here’s a virtual hug from me – I hope it helps you as much as it helps me.