Today’s posts come from opposite sides of the country. We have never been simultaneously further apart and closer together, wherever we are holed up. And holed up, I hope we all are.

Shelter in place
by Sue Robin, Los Angeles, CA

There are moments when all seems routine. The paper was tossed at our door at 6 AM and the trash picked up at 6:30. I have finished the crossword despite the hammers at the neighbor’s DIY project, which is still going strong after sixteen months. But then I remember I am to shelter in place. The Senior Center has canceled all classes. We will not rise from our bed and head to Joan’s on Third for a New York Breakfast Sandwich or the best omelet this side of Paris.

We will, instead, be grateful for a full fridge, a warm cozy home, and a killer view. We will watch the hawks soar by our window and the hummingbirds sip sugar water, place a piece or two in our two-thousand-piece puzzle, (where is our grandson when we need him!) and read another article about the governmental missteps amid this crisis, and pray that our proactive Mayor is that one step ahead that is needed to break this cycle.

The Laurel Canyon Community, always known for its enduring love affair with musicians, artists, writers and a few long in the tooth hippies, is emulating our European brothers and sisters and will breakout into song and musical interludes at 7 PM on Saturday. May the sounds of love and healing waft around our world and bring joy and unity to us all. Stay well!

photo by Sue Robin
Existential angst
by Suzanne Brita Schecker, Treehouse Community, Easthampton, MA

I’ve been up for three hours and am still in my PJ’s, a first for me. It is not difficult for me to shelter-in place or practice physical distancing. I do well with alone time and remain connected with family and friends. I can see my clients via telehealth, although not all of them have the technological ability to connect online…not all of them want to so my income is taking a hit.

Still, I am fine…but I don’t feel fine, I am grieving and like many of us, perhaps a little in shock. For me this is not unlike learning that I had cancer, and then another cancer and yet a third type of cancer. It just keeps piling on, the collective fear of this virus, the loss of jobs, the empty store shelves, the financial instability, the emotional roller coaster… We are being asked to endure a lot. Our accustomed state of “normal” no longer exists and we do not know what we do not know.

At the same time, there is a sensing of a subtle, still unclear message for us. A message that this is happening for a greater good, perhaps a necessary collective shadow work. We can no longer hide from the consequences of greed, of selfishness, of the limitations of our small separate selves. The face of death is a great equalizer and we now have the opportunity to reach across all kinds of false divisions; of race, gender, age, class, political and religious beliefs, and connect from the heart of our common humanity…

Like with cancer when you are fully focused on the will to survive, everything that is false and pretentious falls away. One is left with a desperate love for this life, a longing for another chance to do better, to love more freely, to show up each day with gratitude just to be alive. Sad, perhaps that us humans need a pandemic or a life threatening illness to remember what matters in life, but here it is…

In between waves of existential angst, I am grateful.

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