Finding Togetherness & Wholeness in a Time of Separation
My husband Greg and I started social distancing a little early when we arrived in Park City, Utah on March 8th with the exception of a day on the ski hill before the mountains were shut down and a couple grocery runs. My grandparents are in the high risk category for COVID-19 at a nursing home in Vancouver, and we have friends with compromised immune systems at high risk, so with those personal connections it was easy to put ourselves in others shoes and empathize with how devastating this virus has been to people around the world, and therefor try to do everything in our power to be responsible and make sure we don't catch, carry, or spread the virus. I have seen friends on social media out and about at restaurants and its hard for me to understand. However with more government restrictions being put in place more people will hopefully be taking it seriously. With that said quarantine or social distancing isn't something that comes natural to many people. It is, in its nature "anti-social" and we as a culture are raised to be social, inclusive beings. So in coming to terms with the short term pain of being isolated, for the long term gain of the prosperity and health of the world we must find news ways to connect and spend our time.
In our first few days at home we found ourselves caught in the news/anxiety cycle, and I have since tried to stay informed but only check the news in the morning and night. Greg has been playing a lot of online chess (he also watched a masterclass on chess which I obviously made fun of him for hehe), I have been cooking and baking, reading a book and writing. We have been trying to keep busy...we went around the house dreaming up different ideas for a future renovation, we are going to (finally) get our wedding photo albums done, and I intend on cleaning up my photography archive and continuing my meditation practice. On Thursday I will be attending a virtual women's circle I regularly attend at WMN Space in LA via zoom - I have seen quite a few businesses offering remote yoga and work out classes this way as well (I like the accountability factor of signing up and attending something, while also continuing to support these small businesses). Doing things to keep a routine like getting up and out of PJ's, showering first thing in the morning and sticking to regular meal and sleep times are important for mental health, and doing things to keep a fresh energy in the house is of equal importance, like playing uplifting music, and lighting candles. I have been diffusing tea tree oil too which creates a fresh cleaning atmosphere as it has antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, antiviral, and anti-fungal properties.
We are fortunate enough that we are still allowed to be outside (as many people around the world don't have that luxury right now) and have been trying to take advantage of the fresh air by hiking on the ski hill behind our house. Yesterday we lay in the snow on the side of the mountain, closed our eyes and just listened. At first it seemed too quiet and then we started listening more and heard a wood pecker in the distance, birds singing, and wind whispering through the trees. We both commented on how much more life we noticed around us when we took a moment to stop in stillness. I rolled down the hill and laughed so hard I cried and Greg slid down the mountain with our dog Ella. It felt really good to be silly and just play like kids, I can't remember the last time we did that. We went home and had grilled cheese sandwiches and soup for dinner, which also was nostalgic of childhood. With all the sadness and uncertainty unfolding at this time I feel like its important to take hold of the happy moments (even if they are small), and look for the silver linings.
I've been talking to friends and family on the phone lots, and tomorrow we have a FaceTime date with some friends. This may be challenging the ways in which we are used to communicating but I am hopeful that social distancing might actually help us to find more togetherness and become better at socializing - to be more present, and be more conscious listeners. To be less self centered and more considerate of our friends, family, and neighbors. To lean in more, and ask "how are you doing today? Do you need anything? How can I help?" and really listen for their answer. I was feeling very anxious seeing elderly people still shopping at the grocery store so I sent an email to our local Summit County Senior Director asking if there is a way that I can help deliver groceries for those that are high risk. She passed my contact along to the secretary to have in case they need volunteers. Another wonderful suggestion to help is to hand out pieces of paper with your contact info in neighbors mailboxes to let them know they have your support in case they are in need of assistance. There has also been a beautiful campaign on social media asking local supermarkets to dedicate the first hour of opening to elderly and people with vulnerable immune systems. I've seen many other ways we can help keep our community safe where we are able, and of course the biggest way we can help is by social distancing and self-quarantining.
I know this is a scary time but I am trying to take this unforeseen gift of quality time at home to be with our families and friends, unite with our community, and to sit with silence and slow things down. To re-prioritize things and focus on what matters most, our health, our loved ones, and finding happiness in the simple little things. Thats not to say that focusing on those things is always the easiest thing to do, especially with so many distractions and the current stressors of health concerns, the economy, and financial worries, but I believe its the best thing we can try to do (right now AND when the world gets going again). To reach out and find intimacy and togetherness in this unprecedented time of separation. While we try to stop the spread of the virus we can continue to spread love (yes I know thats cheesy as ever but we need all the cheese we can get right now).
Sending love, stay safe,