Resources for Tough Times
Well, these are extraordinary times we’re living in. How are you holding up?
Can we take a moment to bless the rain? So needed. So happy it’s raining. Feels good to revel in a moment of pure joy & deep gratitude for nature’s offering.
And now back to all-things corona virus related.
As you likely know, dance has been cancelled. The teachers are diligently working on a virtual dance for next Sunday via Zoom. Please stay tuned.
During last Sunday’s beautiful dance, which was maybe 70% full, I had the thought, “I don’t want this. I want to be able to hug on people and love on people the way we always have. I don’t want this social distancing. I don’t want that damn coronavirus.” Yeah, that was my moment of resisting reality. I then shifted my thoughts to curiosity, “What if this is the last time we dance together for some weeks?”. And with that thought came a wave of gratitude for the moment, for the dance we had right there and then. Maybe that’s one of the things we’re meant to take away from this experience; how to be more present, how to cultivate gratitude for the moment, for the little things.
There is so much uncertainty right now and it’s easy to get overtaken by anxiety. I’m finding “resources” that soothe & comfort. I’d love to hear what you’ve discovered by way of resources. For me, it’s music, poetry, books, podcasts, and love. I am comforted by the notion that we are all in this together. Let’s help each other. Let’s consider questions like, “How can I love more?” “How can I slow down, soften and be of service in whatever ways the universe asks of me?” I notice I’m trying to be just a little bit more kind to people; to the check-out lady, for instance, who charges me for 5 bags of blueberries instead of the four sitting on the counter (she readily made the correction). It’s a moment ripe for connection & compassion (while still honoring the “social distancing” maxim). I’m more patient & understanding than I would be if I were rushing about, which is too often my usual trajectory. We’re all a little bit on edge lately. Let’s lead with loving kindness; for ourselves and each other.
It's my hope that somewhere in this amalgamation of material, you might find something that touches you, that moves you ,that comforts or inspires you. That’s the simplest way I can say it.
I’m sharing this FB post from our beloved Julie Daley (with her permission) because her words touched my heart and will hopefully touch yours as well:
“We are realizing we cannot ‘marshal’ our own reserves for everything we are facing. We are realizing we NEED each other. When we know we are loved and connected, supported and held in love, through each other, through life, our energy reserves regenerate. Love is infinite and generative when we give love. Our reserves are regenerated when we give from the overflowing bounty that is always available to us, from within us, from within others, from Life itself. We are learning we never could do all of this on our own. Living from such a belief has drained us, but this life-giving force is right here, right now, within us all.” Thank you, Julie.
I listened to this amazing podcast last night while chopping vegetables for a big vat of broth. It’s Tim Ferris interviewing the oh-so-wise Jack Kornfield on March 9th, 2020. The focus of the conversation is managing anxiety during the COVID-19 outbreak. Very timely and replete with helpful insights. And, as you know, Jack is an incredibly talented storyteller. I plan on having this podcast on repeat for whenever anxiety spikes.
Julia Young emailed this awesome treasure of a poem: (Thank you, Julia.)
What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down. And when your body has become still, reach out with your heart. Know that we are connected in ways that are terrifying and beautiful. (You could hardly deny it now.) Know that our lives are in one another’s hands. (Surely, that has come clear.) Do not reach out your hands. Reach out your heart. Reach out your words. Reach out all the tendrils of compassion that move, invisibly, where we cannot touch. Promise this world your love– for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, so long as we all shall live. –Lynn Ungar 3/11/20
This one I found on FB and it took my breath away:
Lockdown Yes there is fear. Yes there is isolation. Yes there is panic buying. Yes there is sickness. Yes there is even death. But, They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise You can hear the birds again. They say that after just a few weeks of quiet The sky is no longer thick with fumes But blue and grey and clear. They say that in the streets of Assisi People are singing to each other across the empty squares, keeping their windows open so that those who are alone may hear the sounds of family around them. They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound. Today a young woman I know is busy spreading fliers with her number through the neighbourhood So that the elders may have someone to call on. Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to welcome and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way All over the world people are waking up to a new reality To how big we really are. To how little control we really have. To what really matters. To Love. So we pray and we remember that Yes there is fear. But there does not have to be hate. Yes there is isolation. But there does not have to be loneliness. Yes there is panic buying. But there does not have to be meanness. Yes there is sickness. But there does not have to be disease of the soul Yes there is even death. But there can always be a rebirth of love. Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now. Today, breathe. Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic The birds are singing again The sky is clearing, Spring is coming, And we are always encompassed by Love. Open the windows of your soul And though you may not be able to touch across the empty square, Sing. Fr. Richard Hendrick, OFM March 13th 2020
The book I’m reading right now, which has provided comfort, perspective, and inspiration: IN LOVE WITH THE WORLD: A Monk’s Journey Through the Bardos of Living and Dying by Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche. I read a few pages every night before bed and it helps me rest a bit easier with all the turmoil in the world. I’d love to know what you’re reading that might be providing a comforting perspective.
Here’s an arresting visual that speaks to the need for social distancing right now. Sometimes a photo communicates everything that’s needed.
Here are two musical selections that beg careful consideration:
I first heard David Draiman’s a capella cover of the Simon & Garfunkel song, “Sound of Silence” when a friend who lives in Poland shared it on FB in January 2019. The recording is from the memorial service for the Mayor of Gdansk, who was murdered while on stage during a children’s hospital charity event. The music pierced my heart as I listened to it repeatedly, tears streaming down my face. Scroll to the video and prepare to be moved.
Lori Saltzman played this beautiful, haunting, thought-provoking song last weekend: Kate Tempest’s “People’s Faces”.
A quote with some perspective:
Do not be dismayed by the brokenness of the world. All things break. And all things can be mended. Not with time, as they say, but with intention. So go. Love intentionally, extravagantly, unconditionally. The broken world waits in darkness for the light that is you.”
― L.R. Knost
I hope something in this collection has been of some small service; a comfort, an inspiration. I’m feeling the need to slow down and attune-----to the intelligence of my body, to the needs of those around me, to the bigger picture. These are decidedly uncomfortable times, but that’s precisely what we’ve been training for as we grow in this practice; how to “cultivate the capacity to be with what’s uncomfortable” (Kathy Altman), so that we can stay grounded and centered and make conscious, loving decisions. Please, let’s be kind and gentle with one another and with ourselves.
I miss you. I hope you are well and that I’ll see you on the dance floor again relatively soon (and perhaps via Zoom even sooner).
Please do stay in touch, astoundingly beautiful community.
Promising the world my love,