At the beginning of this pandemic in mid-March, our lives as we knew them got thrown into the spin cycle. Suddenly we couldn’t go to the store normally, we couldn’t eat in restaurants, we couldn’t attend family functions without risk. We as a world have somewhat adapted to my newly-hated catch-phrase “the new normal.” An ambiguous term that means one week you can go to the park, the next week it is closed and what ever other amalgamation our local governments cook up to mix public safety with businesses allowed to eke out rent.
My office director gave us all a friendly email and linked an article from the Harvard Business Review called “That Discomfort You’re Feeling Is Grief.” It gave me a useful term to add to my vocabulary: “anticipatory grief.” In short, you know some really bad shit is going to happen, just where when and to what extreme. And as a kicker, how much it will affect you and your family.
Six months into this pandemic, the bad shit continues to roll in. We are stuck in our homes with very few options aside from supply runs and a run to the park if it is deemed legal. My wife and I took our dogs out and there is a “one person” per activity limit. Just as we pulled in to the parking lot with our two dogs, a policeman rolled right up to us and just parked. He was watching what we were going to do. Dutifully, my wife got out of the car got one dog and walked about 50 feet, before I got out of the car and walked “individually,” like we were two strangers that got out of the same car. After a while he left and we were confused like scofflaws with guilt being caught after lifting a candy bar from 7-11.
I understand why we have to do this. Watching super-spreader events like college parties and MAGA rallies boil my blood even more than the oppression of having dog walking supervision from the local PD. It is the super spreaders who make so we have to do this. People tossing science aside because of their “rights” with little regard of who they may spread the virus to and who will later die as a result. Just with the same disregard of setting off a wildfire because of a gender reveal.
As I am writing this, I realize it is more just venting on my part. The reality is that this situation is causing communities and families to crumble apart before our very eyes. It will take enormous strength for us to pull through and make our “new normal” feel normal again.
Be kind to yourself. Be kind to one another.
How are you all doing? During these rough times there are always silver linings. One for me is how I am connecting with neighbors and friends (done from a safe distance of course). I would like to coin the term “barter-sharing” or sharing what you have with someone unconditionally. This usually prompts them to return the favor.
My brother-in-law gave us a four pound Wahoo filet from the fish market at the pier. Because of the epidemic, fishermen have been suffering because all of the restaurants are closed. This was a wonderful windfall, but our family of three could not possibly consume all this fish before it goes bad. Fresh “Ono” as it is called in Hawai’i is such a wonderful treat. My wife suggested we give half away to someone. We found the contact number of a friend/neighbor who we usually see at the dog park. Since the quarantine we have lost touch. She has a sizable family since her daughter had to return back home from college due to the outbreak. We texted her and drove by and handed a bag of the fish thought the window–keeping our distance.
The next day she texted that she and her daughters made a batch of homemade bagels and challah bread (see above picture). Likewise she dropped it off curbside. It was delicious!
As restaurants are struggling in Hawai’i they are still permitted to do takeout orders. My wife and I went to our nearby favorite restaurant to give them business. The business owner was lamenting that she is almost out of paper towels because the department of health forbids restaurants from reusing the same cloth towel. My wife and I had a small surplus of paper towels because of our caregiving needs. We didn’t give it a second thought and brought a few rolls to the business owner. Her face had so much relief and gratefulness that it was a gift to us outright.
Lastly, we had to move all of our office computer hardware from work to our home office this past week. A coworker who is more tech-savvy than I helped me figure out how to set up software for the home office. She went out of her way to assist me in doing this, so I gave her a jar of homemade okra pickles (from my garden).
I’m sure there are many more stories like this out there. Please share them in the comments below. In our panic buying frenzy, I’m sure all of us have a surplus of something that would probably help someone else. This is a time to showcase your cooking/baking talents, or specialized knowledge and give selflessly to people if you have the means. For those who are in need, don’t be afraid to ask and you’ll find many people who are more than happy to give and share with you. Many blessings and be safe during this time.
Hope all of you are well. As these are trying times, it is best to use what we learned in yoga class to get though this hullabaloo. Remember those times in class, after a strenuous asana, you felt a sense of relief. Try to recapture that moment as much as you can during this time if at least in your mind.
Do your part to “flatten the curve.” If you are not familiar with that term, it refers to the statistical curve of people who are infected and need medical help due to COVID-19. If we can delay or prolong its onset, we will not overwhelm our medical facilities to the extent we have seen in Italy. Here is a very well illustrated explanation my wife found for me. Good advice is to act as if you already have the virus (even though you don’t) and are trying to minimize transmission. Also rely on legitimate sources for news about this virus. Some good sources are:
Centers for Desease Control https://www.cdc.gov
World Health Organization https://www.who.int/emergencies/diseases/novel-coronavirus-2019
Canada Public Health Service https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection.html
That being said, it is probably not a good idea to go to group yoga classes until the curve flattens. These are extremely trying times for Iyengar studios throughout the world, as student attendance is a major source of income. Try to see if your studio is offering online classes and support them. My mentoring teachers are putting together some videos if you want to practice along with them. There are also plenty of resources on my blog for home practice.
Looking at the larger picture, one of the aims of yoga is for us to stop our mind stuff from overtaking us. As we see widespread panic and people hoarding at the grocery store, we have to ask ourselves if this is really necessary. Get what you need for you and your family and minimize your risks of spreading this virus. Stay safe and blessings to you all.