Two decades ago, when I began to write and speak about the value of pauses in our lives, this was definitely NOT what I had in mind.
This oh-so-necessary shelter-in-place, stay-home response to the assault of the Covid 19 virus takes the concept of pause to a whole new level. And, for many, the proverbial ‘pause that refreshes’ has the potential to morph into the ‘pause that depresses’.
Cut off from our habits of action, freedom of movement, and physical presence in each other’s lives, we are forced to confront our selves and consider what we actually do with our days.
Some are spending this time in a frenzy of productivity– cleaning and clearing, baking, polishing off projects, and more. Others not so much.
Many are exploring new ways of engaging and connecting at a distance. Zoom calls, Face Time visits, live Facebook broadcasts, and webinar offerings are at an all time high.
And social media is atwitter with well meaning tips and advice for survival in this time of global crisis.
I get it. When life goes sideways, we search for ways to create meaning for ourselves, deliver value to others, and maintain some semblance of normalcy in the face of days that are anything but normal.
That said, I can’t bring myself to prescribe advice for ‘how you should be and what you should do’ in these days and times.
So let me simply share how I’ve been approaching life in the last few weeks. Take from it what inspiration you might find helpful – and blow the rest away.
- I’m sitting with the sadness that comes when the rug is pulled out from under our best-laid plans. Cancelled speaking engagements, art shows and concerts are disappointing. I feel it.
- I’m focusing on staying healthy – getting out for a daily walk, eating well but not too much, taking naps, and doing what I can to calm my general anxiety.
- As the spirit moves me, I’m puttering and tinkering around my house, my home office, and my studio. I’m engaging when and where I find the mental and emotional energy to do so.
- My focus and motivation are fractured; and I’m not pushing it. I refuse to beat myself up for not knocking major projects off my list or making every moment count.
- I’m reaching out to family, friends and colleagues with phone calls, texts, notes and the odd distanced sidewalk visit.
- I’m staying informed – but not fanatically so – keeping the influx of virus related news down to once or twice a day.
- I’m appreciating Dave (my husband), overlooking everyday irritations, and feeling grateful to have him as my partner in isolation.
- I’m sharing uplifting art, photos and messages that remind me that life is indeed beautiful – in spite of all that’s happening around us,
- I’m dipping into some of my travel journals, savoring sweet experiences from happier days. At the same time, I’m grieving for the loss of freedom and confidence in how we move about the world.
- I’m reminding myself to be hopeful. We’re going to get through this. We can handle this. We will be all right in the end.
However you are occupying these days at this time, I hope it serves you well. May you and yours come through this well and strong.
Quotes Of The Week: Where there is no hope it is incumbent on us to invent it. – Albert Camus
Hope is the energy of life filtering through the honesty of all its impediments. – Mark Nepo
Resources Of The Week:
If you happen to be in the mood for some advice, here are three resources I’ve found to be thoughtful.
This insightful article by Aisha Ahmad speaks to Why You Should Ignore All that Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure. Although it’s written with academics and teachers in mind, I found his thoughts universally applicable as he lays out a way to think about this kind of crisis that sets us up for success over the long haul.
In a recent video message, How To Lead In Times of Unprecedented Chaos, leadership expert, David Irvine shares Five Ways Of Being that could serve all of us well at this time. Be still. Be present. Be connected. Be well informed. Be human.
Strategic coach, Dan Sullivan, offers his ‘Scary Times’ Success Manual – How To Be A Leader When Times Get Tough.
Readers Write: In response to the recent message, Do You Wish Life Weren’t Speeding You By, Pause reader SS writes: It feels like I could have written this newsletter because it hit so close to home. I remember those years oh so well when my grandsons were toddlers and it all seems like only a few short years ago. They will be 14 and 15 this summer and I can’t for the life of me know where all the years went. Life is good and I have been blessed beyond measure so now I work hard at staying present in all that life still has to offer me especially those beautiful sunsets.
Art & Charity: Putting good food on the table is so important for staying healthy in the best of times – and especially so in these worst of times. With the loss of work and income associated with the virus threat, more people are looking for help from local Food Banks.
I’ve already made a donation to our local Food Bank, and if you are able, I encourage you to do so, too – in Saskatoon or wherever you may live. Or, make a donation to any other organization that’s doing good work in supporting others in this time of need.
If you make a donation today (April 1) before that good intention gets lost in the shuffle, send me an email and let me know.
On April 2, I’ll be drawing for this original watercolor painting, ‘Provencale Petit Dejeuner’, (5×7 matted to 8×10) and sending it to one donor as a gift with thanks for your generosity.
Here’s the link where you can make an online donation to the Food Bank in Saskatoon.
Here’s a link to a closer look at the painting.