Back to Life, Back to Reality…

The Grieving Process

The obvious truth is that I haven’t written a post since over a month ago, when we were at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic. While I wish I had been able to do so, reflecting on the time, I believe the process I engaged in was necessary. I’ll candidly admit that I was not in a good place after my last post. I got down in the dumps, I felt completely overwhelmed, couldn’t sleep most nights, and felt awful as a result. Worst of all, I also stopped meditating. I was so afraid to sit quietly and allow my rampaging thoughts and my fears to have the floor to vent their unbridled frustrations. I was already feeling overwhelmed by them on a day-to-day, moment-to-moment basis and my fear was that if I allowed them to take center stage that I would actually end up worse than before rather than better.

Perhaps if I had actually attempted to do so I would have found what I found later, which was that the meditation can help work through it; however, I do trust my instinct that I was not ready for it yet. And that’s okay.

We’re in an unprecedented situation with so many unique stressors flying at us constantly, and worst of all is that one of our most natural tools for dealing with this is strictly denied us (well, as long as you follow the actual rules and guidance of the health experts at least, which we very much do): Friends. Family. Connection.

Isolation…Desolation

Celine Dion All By Myself GIF

The primary advice we have is to stay at home, minimize interactions, and essentially isolate ourselves. No matter how introverted you are, the fact remains that human beings are social creatures. Without everything from the moments when you’re walking by strangers on the street, or conducting a transaction with a coffee shop barista to hanging out with friends or attending a family holiday gathering, our psyche becomes quickly unsettled, and downright disturbed. Even the most introverted among us are likely feeling the unintended sting of this isolation, which in turns causes despondency.

Consolation…Salvation

One thing I keep saying as I discuss the situation with people (virtually of course), is how grateful I am that this happened at this particular time in history and at our current level of technology. If this had happened when I was a kid, I don’t know how the world would have handled it. The availability of high speed internet, viable video chat options, and other online tools are at least the consolation prize of this pandemic. It’s not the same as getting together for an extended family get-together, but at least there is some method for maintaining connection, for some professional collaborations to continue, and for kids to continue some semblance of learning.

To be sure, this is not an ideal situation. While I am able to continue working from home, Michael’s business has been shut down since mid-March, with a reopening date uncertain, and with what new restrictions we have no clue. Many people are in this situation – their jobs cannot be done virtually or at a safe social distance. However, the ability to connect with those outside your home in some measure, I believe will ultimately be the saving grace for this time. Also, it might very well help us reshape our perspectives and relationships with those around us when are finally all able to truly resume some semblance of “normal life.”

I hope you and yours are staying safe, staying healthy, and staying as connected as we are able during these crazy times.

Namaste.

Coronapocalypse

So, by now everyone is at least aware of the COVID-19 situation since it is a worldwide phenomenon, and one that now includes all 50 states in the United States of America. Hopefully, no one is denying that this is a very real situation flippantly on the news, social media, or otherwise.

For our part, we have been impacted in many ways that I’m sure a lot of people have been. Schools in our state were shut down for three weeks (this after our local school district had previously announced a two week closure), and we had some much more personal decisions to make that were later reinforced by the authorities as well.

Michael runs a small massage therapy business in our downtown, and last Sunday we made the painful decision that we needed to close for the time being. We didn’t want to. We wanted to help be a beacon of hope for our clients and for people looking to escape the situation in ways that would help them cope mentally and physically. However, we realized that if we were being honest the best thing for not only our clients, but also our community and society at large, the best action would be to close down. This decision was not made lightly, especially since it impacted not only our family, but also our therapists.

We have bills and obligations (rent, utilities, etc.) that continue whether or not the studio is open and bringing in money, but more importantly we have two therapists who work at the studio who are also affected by this decision monetarily.

We have two bright spots to highlight out of this situation. First, our therapists totally understand and get the situation. Though our closure is impacting them, and us, at home and on a daily basis, they recognize our higher responsibility is to our clients, our community, our society at large. Second, our clients have been outstandingly generous in light of the situation. We’ve had several who bought gift cards in lieu of their sessions we had to cancel this week and some who bought multiple packages, all to keep funds flowing into our small business while we cannot continue normal operations. For our part, we are making sure to pass on these generous contributions to our therapists since it’s intended to help us all, but more importantly, we are humbled by the loyalty, generosity, and sheer humanity of our regular clients.

We made the decision to close last Sunday, but just yesterday we got the official call from the local Board of Health that they were officially closing all like businesses (massage therapy, hair stylists, nail salons) effective Friday. We were glad we were ahead of the curve since there was so much to do logistically, but also just happy to have been validated in the decision we’d already made for what we perceived to be the greater good.

I plan on writing more (as I’m sure many will) about the situation as it continues to unfold, but in the meanwhile, let me urge you to follow the guidelines for social distancing, whether professional or personal. Let me also urge you to support your local businesses. Sure, there are potential federal assistance programs in your country from additional unemployment benefits to direct payments to all taxpayers, but the only thing small businesses and neighbors can count on is your humanity and generosity. Give what you can to other as they need it, and (while this is admittedly biased on my personal views on karma) you will get what you need when you need it as well.

Stay well and take care of everyone around you.

Namaste.