The world is suddenly a different place than when I last wrote here. Never would I have imagined all of this happening, affecting all of us this way. And, of course, this is still just the calm before the storm for so many. It’s as if we are all standing near a cliff (illness from the virus or financial hardship), wondering if we will get pushed off the edge or not. Some will have a safety net, if they do fall. Others? Not so much. Yet some with safety nets might not even make it. And, we are starting off standing at different distances from the cliff. Personally? I’m standing right at the edge right now, waiting for a gust of wind to push me over but trying to steady myself in preparation. I’ll have to figure out how to create a safety net as I fall.
This is a collective trauma, greater than any we have experienced before. 9-11 and the shooting in Vegas come the closest though. We are already experiencing the grief that comes along with this, while it triggers any past traumas too. Denial, anger, bargaining, sadness, and acceptance – repeat. All while trying to reestablish meaning in our lives or perhaps discovering a new, more profound meaning because of it all. I lost my greatest sense of purpose with my sudden loss of work, along with my sole source of income, which is immensely stressful right now, on top of trying to stay safe and healthy. But, through it all, I have mostly been doing fairly good, considering, by focusing on self-soothing outlets to keep my sanity and find beauty in the chaos while I try to figure out what my next steps will be. I thought it might be helpful if I shared some of that with you all today, in case you too are in need of a toolkit for comfort.
Bubble baths feel like pure decadence in tough times. A treat for your troubled or tired soul. A moment to pause and just “soak it all in”, so to speak. While conserving everything I can right now, a little dose of luxury feels exquisite. And, all you need is a tub, hot water and bubbles! And, the time to indulge yourself, which we suddenly seem to have quite a lot of.
Arts and crafts
Now is a great time to create something beautiful. I might take up trying to teach myself the piano again on my keyboard. But, have started a latch hook rug kit for the time being. I am not normally a cutesy type of gal, but wanted to honor the frightened little girl I know is hiding inside of me by working on something a little more childlike and adorable. I used to do these when I was little actually! And, it is proving to be so calming to me now when I work on it at night.
I read an article recently (here) about the joys of just listening to an album with no distractions that made me want to immediately turn the lights down and just sit and listen to something masterful and lovely. I haven’t dived in that deep yet, however, I plan on listening to Melanie De Blasio’s A Stomach is Burning during my next bubble bath and have been listening to Agnes Obel’s Aventine while reading and studying, something I’ve always been prone to do. I also had a fun little solo dance party to this Quarantine playlist my friend Scott made. And, Buena Vista Social Club has provided a lively backdrop while deep cleaning my house. What albums are you revisiting or discovering now?
I’m currently taking a couple of free online courses, for professional development, to strengthen my writing and marketing skills to hopefully better help me to find work that I can do remotely from home during this time. But, I’m also taking one for personal growth as well. It’s Yale’s most popular class offering ever actually…The Science of Well Being. You can take it to0, for free, through Coursera.
To take my mind off of things or help inspire me, I like to dive into a good book. The two below are what I’m starting off with since I had already begun reading them before this but had never finished. One for a total distraction and the other for inspiration and to remind me what really matters. What’s on your reading list now? Has your genre changed at all or are you sticking to your favorites?
Yoga feels especially nurturing now but I’m finding the most joy out of my morning walks – to get out of the house, get fresh air and back out into nature. Staying active is a priority for me, especially now that we are more sedentary.
Every morning, first thing as I wake up, before leaving my bed, I either do affirmations that I have created for myself or by using a Mantra app on my iPhone. I have been doing a sweet meditation practice from Tara Brach though, that I have found especially helpful. Perhaps you will like it too?
Guided Meditation for Times of Pandemic: “Calling on Your Awakened Heart”
“In the midst of difficulty we need access to our deepest wisdom and love. This guided meditation calls forth this loving presence by opening to the heart and spirit of whatever being in our life we most experience as calm, wise and compassionate.“
A friend who was worried about me during this time sent me a CBD product as a gift that I’ve found to feel as calming as meditation too. I had never really tried CBD before and was amazed at how much this particular one (WIFE by Happy Flower Company) soothed me. I doubted CBD before this but now I’m a believer!
Virtual dinner parties, virtual dates, exchanging digital love letters or erotic stories with your partner, Netflix parties, virtual lunch dates or virtual walks with a friend. We have the technological means to make all of that happen! Yes, you can hop on Facebook for a quick fix for connection but look for ways of more meaningfully engaging with each other at this time. Make your digital friendships more special and give each other a reason to shower and look presentable. I was so grateful for the excuse to dress up for a friends virtual dinner party recently. Of course, I was only dressed up on top. And, I wore yoga pants below. Ha! I was able to “meet” new people during the virtual dinner party too, by the way. Not many other ways of doing that while isolated at home really.
(Or sex, if you’re isolated with a partner) Use this time to really focus on true connection with yourself (or your partner) more intimately instead of using it to numb out. Look for tantra tips on how to achieve this with more eye gazing (for partners), sensual and loving touch, breath work and a slower pace. We seem to have all the time in the world at this very moment, after-all. May as well really enjoy it!
Most of all, be extra kind, compassionate and gentle with yourself – and others. We are all struggling but will get through this together.
Until we meet again friends, please take good care of yourselves. Stay safe, healthy, secure and sane! We can get through this and will be better than we were before! I truly believe that and am already seeing so many signs that fill me with hope.