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!
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!
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!
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.
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
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
For our country
For the world
How can we live into this now
I am offering this Love to you
On this day
In this moment
With this breath
What will you do with it?