• Ali

I LOVE YOU | Coping In a Pandemic | Personal

Hi friends. I'm giving you a big ol' socially distant hug right now. What the hell is going on?! I have been riding the wave of this COVID-19 outbreak and my surfboard keeps just slipping out from under me. I will think I'm up there killing it -- face to the sun, embracing it, feeling like a bad ass (I don't surf but wouldn't that feel so cool?), and then all of a sudden I'm under a giant wave, like DEEP under, just wondering where the top even exists.

Anyone feel me?

I'm going to be honest with you, when all of this started happening it just seemed so far away. That kind of thing that I couldn't quite touch. I mean, a pandemic might be my actual worst nightmare so the thought of it really happening just seemed too far fetched. As much as I consider myself a (sometimes overly) compassionate person, I felt removed. I felt almost numb to it. There they were -- images of people walking around in masks and the numbers slowly tick tick ticking upwards of people dying. And then it touched down in the US, and somehow I still felt that way. It's pretty embarrassing to admit. It still felt far away on the other coast. "Those poor people on the cruise ship," I thought. They'll struggle through quarantine and everything will be fine. But... it wasn't. And it continues to very much not be. I am thankful for my dear friend Tara who gently brought me into reality about all of this and continues to be a wonderful source of reasonable information and resources. Let's stay open.

Now, I just want to find a kind way to look everyone in the eyes and say:

This isn't about you. Yes, those of us that are young and healthy with young kids who aren't in high risk groups are just flat out LUCKY. But there are millions of people who are not. Our dear elderly people in our communities who are terrified, children in high-risk groups, all of our immunocompromised friends, and all of the people who are struggling to make it through this. Single parents without income, having a hard time feeding their kids. People having to make the choice to either go to work or not get paid. It goes on and on.

If you are privileged enough to be at a low risk for having the virus in a dangerous way, this doesn't mean you should go on about your normal business. As my friend Tara told me, think of it as a loving service to your community. It is something you CAN do that will make a difference in the spread, and it saves lives. Please give this all more thought than just "my kids and I will be fine so I'm not worried about it" and truly examine how we can band together and save so many human lives. Please.

Okay so back to the waves I've been riding --

I'm an introvert, kay? So "social distance" is sort of my new favorite term and idea. Long after this is all done (please let it be sooner than later), I will be calling for periods of social distance for no good reason at all because it is amazing. (I love you SO MUCH my dear friends, but --) a justifiable reason to turn my phone off, hunker down, and return to the utter simplicity of day to day life after just freshly deleting everything off of my calendar? A real dream. I understand that is not the case for many, many people but I just have to say to my fellow introverts out there, I did not hate that moment.

I felt so lucky to have DEVOURED Glennon Doyle's new book 'Untamed' right as we made the choice to self quarantine because I was freshly ignited by her badassery. One of the huge things that I knew I needed to implement immediately was 10 minutes of silent meditation. I've been meditating for years but mostly guided other than retreats, which are few and far between. OH MY GOD y'all the silence will set you FREE. Please try this. I got my little meditation pillow out that I purchased months ago and used only to sit on the floor with the kids and I sat my little ass down and crossed my legs and put my palms up to the universe. Just surrendered it all right there. I went deep quickly and so many gems flooded my mind. I had to get up after just those 10 short minutes and scrawl like a mad woman all of the things that came to me -- it was a straight up gift. The couple of days that followed were not nearly as juicy and the things I gleaned were fewer and further between, but still very important. So back to day one, a poem --


A deep listening

to oneself

A call home

to touch base with

what is Real

and True

and requires your Attention

Water it.

Remove the weeds.

Allow space for growth.

for Expansion.

Let it reach for light.

Let it rest.

Stay open.

These were some of the words I scrawled but the imagery that came to me was of a clean and minimal garden bed. There were 3 main things in it. And what I received was that this is a time to weed our mental gardens (been weeding physically too, which has been very healing) -- To choose three MAIN things to focus my time, energy, and attention on. For me they were about Family, meaningful work, and helping my community. The weeds popped up: forms of distraction, energy draining, compulsion... and I lovingly weeded my garden so that those main three things remained. When I meditate since then, I visualize what I have room for and what has to go and to continue nurturing what I chose so that they could thrive. For example, some of my weeds were: my phone, busyness, seeking more, amazon shopping (ha)... You get the point. Anyhow, a very interesting metaphor that I'm enjoying. Would you give it a try? I'd love to see what you choose to keep in your garden and what lovingly goes in your compost. Let me know what you find.

I also have another confession. I love taking photos. I mean LOVE. I feel grateful as hell to have the job that I have and to be able to share such intimate and important LIFE long memories with people. But... I haven't been taking any photos of our own family with my camera. In months, I don't think I've picked it up at home. I decided to change that yesterday and just photographed us at home... I made a mental note to look for beauty. To find the good. And there it was.

Be kind to yourselves. Pick up your camera and look for good. Take an online spin class with my loves from Kindred Mothers. Sit in stillness for 10 minutes and let whatever comes up come up. Take an online yoga class (here's my favorite!). Ride the waves. Hold your family close. Call your elderly neighbors. Donate to your local food bank. Check on your friends. Use this time with intention and love in your heart for the whole wide world. I'm talking to myself here, too, because my feelings are flooding out of me like a waterfall and I they're moving too fast to even identify. Tears and sweat and baths and mother nature and laughter are all good. I love you all, take care of yourselves and the world out there!



PS: I'm going to come back here to share photos as time goes on and other thoughts or resources I think may be helpful. VERY open to ideas or requests or thoughts... post 'em in the comments!


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