There are new words now in our language and we have all learned them, regardless of whether or not we even speak English. They arrived suddenly one day and like company that stays too long or is purely obnoxious, they are still with us even after several months. For some the arrival has brought fear, anxiety, chaos and even death. We are all facing a strange, unknown threat and most of us are doing our best to “follow the rules” as to not become ill or even worse, to make someone else ill and perhaps be the reason for their demise. No matter who you are or where in the world you live, you are probably experiencing at the least some sort of stress. I’ve spoken to many people who seem to have some sort of new physical ailment or one from the past that has reappeared. It is not uncommon. Besides many of us find ourselfes wondering whether or not that sore throat or queasy tummy or ingrown toenail might be a sign that the enemy has found a weak spot in our defense. It’s simply an extremely daunting, challenging time and we, as American are at our best in times like these but I don’t know if any of us understood how long this time might last.
The Easter Holiday brought the following message to my inbox:
Haven’t seen you lately so here’s an update. I have been working out 2-3 times a day, lost 25 pounds, almost all muscle now. Took up learning Mandarin and have become quite proficient. Have finally got to finish War and Peace as well as all of the works of Tolstoy, Hemingway and Kurt Vonnegut which I have always wanted to get to. I’ve taken up the guitar and have Smoke on the Water down pat. Have tried to write a few songs, sent them to a music house and they tell me some guy I never heard of, Post Malone, wants to record them. I have also become a concert pianist and expert at ice sculpture. It’s been very boring but we all do the best we can. Happy Easter, stay safe and may the force be with you.
I so appreciated the humor and I am sure anyone reading this has also found some relief in the humor that has come along. I, on the other hand had to reply that the skills my husband and I have honed have been a little more mundane. He has taken charge of the cleaning, including the vacuuming. I am his “new” supervisor.
About forty years ago, we had a friend who won the “sexiest man alive” contest in upstate New York. It was I recall, a lunchtime event and several men were called up on a makeshift stage and questioned about why they should win the title. As you can imagine, there were many creative and somewhat risqué answers but our friend won with not only his good looks (which he had) but with the simple statement that he loved to cook and he did the cleaning. He was unanimously given the title. I’ve tried to convince my hubby of fifty-two years that there is nothing sexier than a man who likes to cook and clean. It just took a pandemic to push him into the role I always thought should be his.
Again, humor has come in many many forms and for the most part, I have let it feed and nurture me. We had one email that said a couple had decided to not have children and they were going to tell them after dinner. But, the winner for me so far has been:
It was LOL for at least two days and it still brings a smile to my face when I think about it. I don’t know who this lady is but I would love to meet her and I would love to have her as a friend.
Also don’t miss John Krasinski’s YouTube segments called Some Good News. It’s the kind of news I wish were published by our mass medial. It’s kind, funny and uplifting.
In one of my favorite books, Spiritual Insights for Daily Living by Elizabeth Fenske, the March 25th reading tells of an old Arab folk tale where Pestilence once met a caravan in the desert on the road to Baghdad. “Why must you hasten to Baghdad?” Asked the caravan chief. “To take 5,000 lives,” was Pestilence’s answer. Later, they met again and the caravan chief said, “You deceived me, Pestilence, instead of 5,000 life’s you took 50,000.” “Nay,” replied Pestilence, “5,000 and not one more-it was fear who killed the rest.”
I know, we all feel like we are living in a Twilight Zone episode. I know I do. I keep thinking any day now, I will wake up from this dream, this bazaar state of the world. Fear! Anxiety! Stress! Grief! Loss! Most of us are facing all of these emotions. Most of us are fairly familiar with them but not on such a continual constant level. Being who I am, I look for ways to see the silver lining in all the events of my life; sometimes to the annoyance of those around me. In my first book Creating Positive Affirmations, Living an Intentional Life, I write that, “We cannot control the wind but we can decide how to set the sail. The wind may blow you all over the world and take you to places you do or do not choose but it is your attitude during the journey and when you arrive that will determine every aspect of the adventure and you can determine that mindset by carefully choosing your self-talk.”
I am not proposing that you ignore any of your emotions. As Rumi says, “Welcome and entertain them all. Be grateful for whatever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond.” Then, take steps to move through those negative feelings. Most of us know what is required to lift ourselves out of the pit but sometimes we need a reminder and many times we need a friend.
Here are some of the tools that help me. I share them with a hope they may also lift you to a “better place.”
- Believe in a Divine Power that loves you and wants only your best. It may look nothing like you think it should, but work hard on trusting your God.
- Reach out either to help another or get help. Don’t hesitate to ask. Be humble. Pick up the phone, write an email or even more unique, send some snail mail.
- Exercise. Find a way. Take a walk, go up and down the steps, turn on a video, dance to a favorite song or two. It is a panacea for the blues.
- Laugh. Read those silly jokes or find a movie that tickles you funny. How about anything by Steve Martin but especially my favorite, My Blue Heaven?
- Eat some chocolate or a little ice cream. Be kind to yourself. Be compassionate with yourself.
- Take a bath, put some bubble bath in it and light a few candles.
The list can be endless. You know what you love. You know what nourishes your soul and feeds your heart. Have hope. Have faith. If it’s simply too windy for you at any point, lower the sail and take shelter in a safe place and wait. The time will come again when we can all raise our sails and embrace the adventure of this life.