A Time to Try New Things

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My friends:  What’s happening for you these many weeks?  What are you noticing (again, still, and newly)?  What do you miss most, least, and/or not at all from pre-COVID life?

What’s been the best thing that’s happened for you in this time?

Many of us are out of our depth here; we have no map.  As NASA says, we must “test as we fly and fly as we test.”  That necessarily means putting aside what we usually do and how things usually work, and trying new things–experimenting.  What a fantastic opportunity for learning, growth, and connection!

Be the change alpha workout

The Alphabet Workout

How has the pandemic affected your physical activity?  How have you adjusted?  After the New Year I realized I needed workout buddies to strengthen my workout resolve.  My colleague and I started exercising together after work a couple days a week, and then the pandemic hit.  Almost right away I came across various alphabet-based interval workouts, perfect for the newly shut in.  My siblings and friends and I started meeting on Zoom to try it, first spelling our names.  We moved on quickly to our heroes’ names, and now to sayings we like.  Exercise, accountability, variety, fun, and connection—yay!

opera cake 4-26-2020

Baking

My daughter may single-handedly make our whole family diabetic.

Spring break started a week early, then the kids transitioned to distance learning, with minimal direct, real time interaction with teachers.  With so much more time to complete homework and a recently developed fascination with any and all things French, we now have a baker in the house.  And with anaphylactic allergies in the family, recipes are necessarily converted to vegan and nut-free.  To date she has succeeded with macarons, beignets, fruit turnovers, cupcakes, and red velvet cake.  But by far I’m proudest of her opera cake, completed tonight and surely damaging to my waistline.  It’s worth it, though, to watch her experiment, fail, redirect, and succeed (mantra = “It’s edible!”), gaining confidence with every attempt.

The sibs had better not abandon me on those Zoom workouts, though!

moon path LOH

Photo courtesy of Dr. Karen Cornell, January 2020, Loveland, CO

Circadian Loosening

I always knew I was a night owl, but holy cow, left to my own devices, I am practically nocturnal.  I never pulled all-nighters for school.  The first time I stayed up all night reading was for one of Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson books—I had not even done that for Harry Potter!  I have discipline when I need it.  I get up for morning calls now; I even look forward to them, as a sailor looks for the buoy thrown by his shipmates when he has fallen overboard.  I will readjust to a regular work schedule when the time comes.  But for now I can truly enjoy my owl self.

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Connecting with Friends

Maybe you’re missing your friends the most.  Somehow I’m not, which is a bit shocking and disconcerting.  But maybe it’s because I’m still connected, in some cases better than ever.  I miss meeting Donna for breakfast at our usual egg and toast place.  But I love that we now talk weekly on the phone while walking outside.  I continue to send and receive snail mail from friends across the country.  Perhaps I’m FaceTiming more with the Colorado sister and my parents, in addition to our sibs Zoom workouts.  And finally yesterday, blogging friends Nancy and Donna and I got together, after talking about it for at least three years.  Of course it was over Zoom, but without COVID-19 who knows how long it would have taken us to meet in person, living in Washington, Illinois, and Michigan?  Now we plan to ‘meet’ monthly—so much to share!

Writing Out of My Comfort Zone

Thanks to sister member Christina Guthier from Ozan Varol’s Inner Circle, I accepted a 5 day mindful writing challenge set by Nadia Colburn this past week.  Free, only five days—why not?  Nancy, Anne, and a few other friends agreed to try it with me—they accepted my Facebook invitation.  After a short meditation and poem, each day Nadia offered a prompt, followed by ten minutes of writing dotted with serene reminders to stay with the breath and remember to smile.  In these brief, structured and yet freeform sessions, I stretched existing ideas and queries farther than usual.  I quieted the inner critic sometimes and not others.  I learned a little more about my style and preferences for writing.  And I wrote a poem.

Based on “I Am Offering This Poem” by Jimmy Santiago Baca, Day 5’s prompt asked us to write a poem entitled, “I Am Offering This ______ to You.”

Onward, my friends.  Let us try new things, learn, grow and connect.

 

I Am Offering This Love to You

So imperfect

So flawed

So human

Yet honest, earnest, real

How can I make sure

You feel it the way I intend?

Or do I even need to?

Who would that be for?

What’s the best way for you to feel

Loved by me?

According to whom?

What is the best outcome

Of all this love

We carry for each other

In our families

Between friends

For our country

For the world

For humanity?

How can we live into this now

Today?

I am offering this Love to you

Now

On this day

In this moment

With this breath

What will you do with it?

6 thoughts on “A Time to Try New Things

  1. Loved your poem, Cathy. And the reminder your blog offers of the opportunities and discoveries to be found even in the direst of times. So glad you and Nancy introduced me to Nadia Colburn’s mindful writing challenge. I’ve done two now, and will try to squeeze in one or two more before the challenge closes. We are all discovering and rediscovering so much in these uncertain days–and, for most of us, we have time think about what that means for the future. I hope wisdom and community will prevail.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Donna! It strikes me how much privilege I enjoy, being able to work out on Zoom, bake, and write for leisure. It nauseates me, the myriad disparities laid bare by this pandemic. Survivor’s guilt is at the same time totally real, and also such a minor thing compared to other, far more life-threatening traumas. *sigh* Well, one thought, one idea, one action toward correction at a time, right?
      And I’m so glad you are enjoying the writing challenge! After this I may look for random writing prompts more often… 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • Awareness leads to action, Cathy, and this pandemic is certainly making more of us aware of the deeply entrenched inequities in our society. Hopefully, that awareness will lead us to transformative action.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. So many good ideas. As I am working on Thriving, too, I will add these to my list of Things to Try.

    I wanted to connect today after reading about the ER doc in New York who took her own life. I’m so sad for her and her family, and worried about all the healthcare workers who are running on empty. The end is nowhere in sight, so I believe this won’t be an isolated case. I wish there was something I could do to ease the despair and exhaustion. All I can think of is to do this and to stay home. If something else comes to mind—cards of support to anyone you know who might be in trouble—let me know.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sandy Sue, thank you so much. I agree, the end is nowhere in sight, and the cascade effects will be felt for a generation, at least. It’s all so overwhelming. My reading tells me that any expression of gratitude, solidarity, and caring is uplifting and meaningful. So if you see an article in the news about a specific place getting slammed, sending snail mail their way I’m sure is appreciated. At my institution those pieces get shared and we all get a boost. In addition, anything you can do to advocate as a patient-citizen to support your local healthcare workers is very meaningful and concrete. Contact your local policy makers and voice your concern about adequate PPE; suggest ideas to balance economics with public health–how we can reopen thoughtfully and with all stakeholders at the decision table; ask for an participate in public forums whereby patients AND healthcare workers can voice concerns and solutions *together*. I truly believe that the system will not change meaningfully until patients and healthcare workers unite with our shared concerns and needs. Maybe I should write about this next… 😉 Thank you so much again!

      Liked by 1 person

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