Monthly Archives: April 2020

Something Good

1. Coping with Coronavirus: Use These Skills to Be Your Best Self on Zen Psychiatry. “Instead of going straight to habitual negative coping skills that may not be productive, take a pause and try one of these strategies instead.”

2. An Anxious Introvert’s Guide to Keeping Calm During the Crisis.

3. Every Covid-19 Commercial is Exactly the Same. (video)

4. What do Artists do all day?, a video series.

5. Morning, Sunshine, a morning meditation video series from Jen Lee.

6. The Best Acoustic Covers of Popular Songs, a full hour of music. (video)

7. Yoga with Adriene’s May Practice Theme: Meditation. “If you have been wanting to add a regular meditation to your routine, this is your month. Throughout the month of May we will be focusing on seated and moving meditations that will ease stress and create equilibrium for positive mental, emotional, and physical health…Take time to sit quietly or let it be a moving meditation. This month’s free yoga calendar includes opportunities for both. Commit to exploring the practice this month and observe it unfold and grow.”

8. Sarah’s Rental Cottage, “DIY adventure of fixing up a remote 1950s island cottage on the open water of Georgian Bay before the sun set on summer.” Proof that painted hardwood floors aren’t always wrong.

9. Good stuff from Austin Kleon: To wonder rather than know (in particular, I LOVE the blackout poem at the beginning of this post), and Survive the savage sea, and Do what you know how to do, and 3 thoughts on a decade of publishing books, and On praying, whether you believe or not.

10. How to grow your own tiny forest.

11. Shift your Mood: 7 Quick & Easy Body Tools.

12. A story of kindness from a flower grower in Kerry with lots of flowers and an idea to brighten people’s day. (video)

13. A Harvard student who traces the etymology of words and makes all kinds of infographics, from cities to apple varieties to Harry Potter characters.

14. Man dies from coronavirus after calling it a ‘political ploy’. This is just one story of many. Sometimes you find out you are wrong the hard way. In related news, “I Don’t Believe Your Science As I Believe My God” Says Anti-Lockdown Protestor.

15. ‘Instead of Coronavirus, the Hunger Will Kill Us.’ A Global Food Crisis Looms on The New York Times.

16. Native American Heritage Association, “Native American families suffer from food insecurity and hunger daily. Two of the poorest counties in America are on the Crow Creek and Pine Ridge Reservations in South Dakota. NAHA, with the help of our generous donors, is committed to fighting hunger with emergency food supplies and basic life necessities.”

17. Easy, Homemade Naan Made From Pantry Ingredients.

18. Technicolor Animal Portraits Inked in Watercolor Tattoos by Sasha Unisex.

19. The One You Feed Podcast Special Episode: Tips for Living in Close Quarters.

20. This Viral Challenge Shows How Differently Cats And Dogs Deal With Obstacles In Their Way.

21. 10 homes designed for practicing yoga and meditation. Creek House is my favorite.

22. “Things to Try That Might Knock Out the Virus” a poem by Richard Prinson on Rattle.

Gratitude Friday

1. Morning walks. One of the times when everything feels the same as before.

2. Good food. A mix of cooking and eating, a blend of what my body needs and what my heart wants.

3. Practice. As important as this was before, it’s even more so now. In a short writing class I took with Jena Schwartz these past few weeks, I said about it:  “For me, practice is about intention, attention, grounding myself in the present moment, as it is. It is calling my energy back to my core, letting go of the planning, of the remembering, interrupting the ways I’m always abandoning myself, getting distracted or trying to control and fix things. Practice for me is surrendering to what is, letting go of my resistance in the gentlest, kindest way possible, without losing my sense of humor.”

4. Books. If you remember, some months ago, Eric and I decided we needed new furniture,  bought a new sectional (keeping Sam’s favorite couch and Ringo’s favorite chair) and three new bookcases. Then the bookcases stood empty for a few months, until this week. I unloaded the books from boxes, stacked them in groups on the shelves, then proceeded to organize them. I found some books on grief, death, and joy I’d been wanting to read, spent three hours at it, had to take a break for lunch, got so so sweaty, but it was totally worth it. It took my mind off things for a bit, immersed as I was in my favorite thing: these tiny squares of magic and medicine.

5. My tiny family. I am so so so grateful for our tiny house, Eric’s job (money for groceries, health insurance, giving him something to focus on), how well the dogs have adapted to “going to work with dad,” how some moments feel totally normal, yard time where we hang out in the backyard getting some sun and fresh air without having to worry, the garden Eric is starting from seed, doing HIIT workouts with Eric, taking morning walks and naps, making each other laugh, reading in bed at night while Eric and the dogs sleep, the routine of our days when everything is so unpredictable.

Bonus joy: big salads, crunchy apples, laundry done and put away, clean sheets on the bed, warm sunny days, bird song, bees, the sunny dandelions feeding the bees, tiny green sprouts, my people healthy and safe, grocery pick-up, the internet, good podcasts (I’m working my way through Do You Need a Ride? and catching up on You Made it Weird), good books, (I sent my mom some, since she can’t go to the library or meet with any of the people she typically swaps books with, and we are both reading The Nickel Boys by Colson Whitehead. I sent her some other ones that I haven’t read yet but sounded good, so I’ll be happy to hear what she thinks about those), writing with the videos and prompts Laurie is sending out through her 27 Wildest Days offering (which feels like writing with Laurie, which I miss so much), video chatting with Mikalina and Chloe’ and Carrie, texting with my mom and brother, new puppies and babies (even though I can’t meet them “in person”), the good humans who continue to do their work even as they risk their own health and safety.

Three Truths and One Wish

1. Truth: Everything has changed; everything is the same. The squirrels still treat our compost pile like a 24 hour “all you can eat” buffet. Spring is rising, things turning green and blooming, so many more hours of light. Every day the dogs get up at 5 am, eat breakfast, and go on a walk. I do yoga, meditate, and write. I hang out with Mikalina on Zoom every Thursday. I’m still burnt out and take lots of naps. I water the plants, do laundry, and put clean sheets on the bed once a week. I pay the bills, still love payday. I read in bed at night while Eric and the dogs sleep. And yet, the dogs “go to work” with Eric in the office at the back of our tiny house, the one that used to be exclusively mine. My office is the kitchen table. I haven’t been in a pool, sauna, group in-person yoga class, grocery store, restaurant, coffee shop, movie theater, or bookstore for six weeks. We are going to cancel the reservation we had for 10 days at the beach, the longer trip we’d planned to visit family in Oregon this summer, and we can’t be sure when we’ll get to go again, when we’ll see them again. Eric and I are home together all day, every day, except the mornings I sleep in while he walks the dogs. When I take the dogs to the vet, I wait in the car while they go inside. I order groceries online and pick them up, never going inside the store. I’m better about using our fruits and vegetables before they go bad and get put in the compost pile. Some days, Eric and I literally forget to shower. I haven’t had to put gas in my car for weeks. My yoga classes are all on Zoom. I text my mom and brother at least every other day. It’s so hard to focus, get things done with the end of the word shadowing me. Sometimes when I first wake up, I forget the current state of things, but just like grief, I quickly remember and it all comes rushing back.

2. Truth: Some things I miss; some things I don’t. I miss the pool and the sauna. I miss teaching my yoga class, group in-person yoga classes, the way the light comes through the three tall windows at Om Ananda Yoga. I miss tea with Chloe’, laughing and crying sitting at her big dining room table covered with art projects, poetry and books, drinking tea out of the pretty little antique china cups she has with her sweet dogs nearby. I miss grocery shopping, going in the store with a list but also allowing myself to add things as I go. Bumping into people, literally bumping bodies, being close enough for that to happen, without worry, the apologies and assurances that follow. Hugging anyone other than Eric. Eating meals in a restaurant, sharing a meal, catching up with friends across the table. Having Jon and Chelsey over for dinner, or going to a movie with them, or even alone. Movie theater popcorn and fountain drinks. Meeting Carrie somewhere for coffee or a meal, working to solve all the world’s problems in an hour or two. Thrift store shopping. Food someone other than Eric or I cooked. Playdates with our dog friends. Not being able to meet new puppies or babies in person. Playgrounds, not for me but for the kids who would play on them. Live music. Poetry readings. Live comedy shows. Meeting with my therapist in person. Haircuts. MASSAGES — *sigh* Bookstores, the browsing, picking up books to read the back cover, flip through the pages, and putting them back on the shelf. Someone stopping to ask if I needed help finding anything. Watching movies with my mom. Walking on the beach. Shopping at the nursery for new plants for the garden. Lord help me, I even miss small talk. I don’t miss my old job at CSU, the way I would feel when I had something scheduled but really just wanted to stay home, missing Eric while he was at work, things that are loud, driving 1200 miles with two dogs in the car, the pressure to be productive, having to dress appropriately for “being out in public,” wearing things like actual pants and a bra.

3. Truth: We work towards a better world, even knowing we’ll fail. I’m realizing that there are always going to be assholes, always going to be obstacles and problems. As a Buddhist, I practice accepting that life is suffering — this isn’t just true, it’s one of the Four Noble Truths, the foundation of Buddhist philosophy. It’s a delicate balance though, a real brain teaser to be working actively towards change, to want to make things better, to right wrongs, and yet be aware that this goal will never be reached, that this is samsara, “the beginningless cycle of repeated birth, mundane existence and dying again…considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya (ignorance), and the resulting karma,” (Wikipedia).

One wish: May we shift the goal, the intention, from some endpoint where everything has been made right to living with the reality that nothing is permanent, suffering is ongoing, and change is constant. And in knowing that we can’t fix everything, may we not give up trying.

Something Good

“April is the cruelest month.” ~T.S. Eliot

1. Poems from Home, “A live poetry performance and Q&A from Andrea’s home. Andrea will prioritize sharing poems aimed to comfort the spirit during dark times. Bring your questions, a cozy blanket, and your tender hearts.”

2. 27 Wildest Days video series with Laurie Wagner. FREE, with one of the best writing teachers, writers, and humans I know, offering one of the most powerful writing practices I know. “27 brand new videos that offer you a chance to create a daily writing practice on your own. Each day you’ll get a very short – under 10 minutes – video from me telling you something about Wild Writing, reading you a poem and giving you a couple of jump off lines. From there you will write on your own for 15 minutes. You don’t send me anything, it’s not a class, just a chance for you to lay it down and get real on the page.”

3. Do You Need a Ride? One of my favorite podcasts, one of the things I can trust to make me laugh, and they just released their first at-home quarantine edition. “Comedians Chris Fairbanks and Karen Kilgariff shuttle their guests to or from the airport, somewhat dangerously, in a mobile sound studio (a car).”

4. Four FREE online retreats with the Open Heart Project. “During this time of self-quarantine, the Open Heart Project will offer four free online meditation retreats, beginning April 25th. Each retreat will be from 9a-3p ET. The full day will be recorded for those who cannot attend live. Each retreat will be led by a different teacher who will also teach on a particular theme. We are really excited to be able to offer a chance to get together in community to practice meditation and discuss the spiritual path. We will take time out of our normal busy-ness to reconsider who we are, what is important, and how to re-center our highest priorities within everyday life.”

5. Righteous Babe Radio. From Ani DiFranco, “sharing the music of my brilliant friends and collaborators…nerding out on revered influences…amplifying the sounds and words of my political and cultural inspirations.”

6. A great set of questions to contemplate, from Jamie Ridler‘s most recent newsletter. “Whether our lives have changed dramatically or not much at all, we are moving in a different world, at least for a time. How do we move with it?…There is so much that is out of our control right now – but not everything. Every day there are moments of choice, moments to express our agency in this chaotic world.”

Who am I in this new day-to-day?
Who do I want to be?
What does my body need?
What does my heart need?
What is meaningful to me?
How can I find it here?
What am I mourning?
What do I hope to return to?
What do I hope to never return to?
How do I want to spend this time?

7. #NoBodyIsDisposable. “Disabled people, fat people, elders, and people with AIDS or other illnesses are being specifically targeted for denial of life-saving care during care rationing. These triage policies disproportionately target people of color, poor folks, immigrants, queer and trans folks, incarcerated and homeless folks, and others already considered disposable by capitalist, white supremacist society. We say NO!”

8. This Gorgeous Portrait Series Celebrates Older Trans And Gender-Nonconforming People.

9. How to Cope with This Crisis When You’re a Highly Sensitive Person. “Basically, right now, it’s all about emotional regulation — doing whatever healthy thing you need to do in order to keep your worries in check.”

10. Foreword from Anne Helen Petersen. Because, this:

Writing this from the middle of the pandemic, it’s become clear that COVID-19 is the great clarifier. It clarifies what and who in your life matters, what things are needs and what are wants, who is thinking of others and who is thinking only of themselves. It has clarified that the workers dubbed “essential” are, in truth, treated as expendable, and it has made decades of systemic racism — and resultant vulnerability to the disease — indelible. It has highlighted the ineptitude of our current federal leadership, the dangers of longterm, cultivated mistrust of science, and the ramifications of allowing the production of medical equipment to be run like a business where profits matter above all else. Our medical system is broken. Our relief program is broken. Our testing capability is broken. America is broken, and we, too, along with it.

11. Jason Isbell: John Prine Taught Me to Stay Vulnerable on The New York Times.

12. Fiona Apple’s Fetch the Bolt Cutters Is the Album She Deserved to Make All Along. In related news, Allow Fiona Apple to Reintroduce Herself and The Story Behind Every Track on Fetch the Bolt Cutters and Fiona Apple’s Art of Radical Sensitivity and The Wit, Wisdom And Awe Of Fiona Apple’s ‘Fetch The Bolt Cutters’.

13. Of Real Life and New Normals on Rita’s Notebook. Because, this: “The only thing that feels sure to me is a future that is different from the past. Not in every way – but also, in every way. If I think of my life as a set of systems – work, home, health, money, relationships – the foundations remain the same (at least for now), but each of them is also so changed that it feels as if there can be no true going back to what they once were.”

14. The new abnormal, Paul Jarvis’s recent dispatch. Everything about this:

In the beginning of this pandemic, I was very nervous about how long it’d take to get back to “normal” with business and the economy.

Now I’m thinking that I’m not so sure I want things to go back to economic normal. Let me explain: normal, for the most part with the global economy and big business has been kind of a burning dumpster fire. It’s been ruining our planet and tearing through finite resources, putting profit over people, and creating a vast chasm of a divide between those at the top and everyone else.

When you ask someone, generally, what they feel holds the most value for in their lives, most say things like: connection, family, friendship, community, etc. But if you look at how big business worked, it was money, power, fame, success, greed, etc, that dominated.

So what if we worked to better align ourselves, our actions, and our companies, to be closer to what we actually say is important?

We’ve prioritized gaining power over other people for too long. Maybe this pandemic can show us that there’s more power in being connected to and helping all people instead. Maybe once we recover and heal from this virus we can work to rebuild and heal a new economy with different values. Maybe I’m an idealist, but what if we put people first?

15. On predicting the future from Seth Godin.

16. #MadeForThis. Tshirt available until April 22, “All profits from this campaign will go toward the start of a fund that will allow Whole / Self Liberation to offer micro-grants to support those dreaming up and cultivating new worlds (i.e. the helpers, healers, creatives, activists, educators) as they show up for their beautiful + necessary work.”

17. This Teen Twerking With His Duck Is The Vibe We Need In These Strange Times.

18. The Great Blah Blah from Laurie Wagner. Because, this: “Of course I write this from a warm home and a job. I have the luxury of contemplation. I don’t want for the suffering of others, of course I want the curve to flatten, but what I also want is to drop into the beauty of the moment, and to stop resisting what is happening.”

19. Good stuff from Lion’s Roar: How to Free Yourself from the 7 Obsessions and 10 Tips for a Mindful Home and Life on the Edge.

20. You’ve Got Less Mail: The Postal Service Is Suffering Amid The Coronavirus.

21. Poems for the Pandemic, “Here, you’ll find seven poems Stafford has written on seven days since March 7, accompanied by photographs and videos Brooke Herbert and Beth Nakamura have made in recent weeks as the novel coronavirus came to dominate our lives.”

22. The Daily, a meditation practice membership from Adreanna Limbach. “Just like clockwork, you’ll receive a DAILY 20 minute meditation video from from one of our core contributing teachers + thoughtful tips on how to integrate your practice into every nook and cranny of your life. Because we all know that insight develops through repetition and consistency is KEY. Practices are designed to be accessible to both newbie meditators, and long-time practitioners who are looking for ways to keep their practice fresh.”

23. Being Broken In Half (But Wanting To Be Whole) from Chuck Wendig on Terrible Minds.

24. Why Introverts Are the Leaders We Need in Troubled Times.

25. Are We All in This Together? on The New York Times. Because, this:

The moral and civic renewal we need requires that we resist the anguished but misconceived debate now emerging about how many lives we should risk for the sake of restarting the economy…The real question is not when but what: What kind of economy will emerge from the crisis? Will it be one that continues to create inequalities that poison our politics and undermine any sense of national community? Or will it be one that honors the dignity of work, rewards contributions to the real economy, gives workers a meaningful voice and shares the risks of ill health and hard times?

We need to ask whether reopening the economy means going back to a system that, over the past four decades, pulled us apart, or whether we can emerge from this crisis with an economy that enables us to say, and to believe, that we are all in this together.

26. Make bad art, too from Austin Kleon.

27. Recalculating… Finding your bearings in a crisis.

28. Wisdom from Susanna Conway’s latest Love Letter:

There’s been a lot of chat about a “new normal” but I prefer to look at this as a new RHYTHM. New normal makes it sound like things will never go back to how they were — and for some of us they may not, I absolutely acknowledge that — but for the majority things will return to what we had before. My hope is that we’ll choose to keep some of these new rhythms we’re creating. I’m finding new rhythms in this dance that are truly bringing me joy. And they’re simple things like discovering all the flowers in my neighbourhood. Juicing fruit and veg every day. Afternoon baths to reset my system. My renewed love of baked potatoes! Everything feels filled with so much more reverence as I do my best to sink into the acceptance of what is. This is my new rhythm and I know it will serve me long after this storm has passed. And it WILL pass.

29. A Moment In Denver: Healthcare Worker Blocks Protesters. Shame on them. SHAME. This is what happens if you don’t stay home: Virginia Bishop Dies After Holding Service Amid Coronavirus Warnings. Now, Four of His Family Members Are Infected Too. The only way forward: WHO Sets 6 Conditions For Ending A Coronavirus Lockdown, although most of the protestors won’t listen because Trump halts World Health Organization funding. And in other helpful news, Is the Virus on My Clothes? My Shoes? My Hair? My Newspaper? on The New York Times. “We asked the experts to answer questions about all the places coronavirus lurks (or doesn’t). You’ll feel better after reading this.”

30. Here’s what coronavirus could mean for the future of workers’ rights. (video)

31. Flight attendant’s hilarious ‘working from home’ video goes viral.

32. Leslie Jordan Is the Baton-Twirling Comic the World Needs in a Crisis.

33. Working From Home Has Never Been Easier With This Office-Tent. I told my husband I’m buying him one of these. 🙂

34. Take a Virtual Tour Through This Famous Japanese Garden in Oregon.

35. Land O’Lakes Removes Native American Woman From Its Products on The New York Times.

Gratitude Friday

1. That first cup of coffee in the morning, half coffee and half hot cocoa, which I drink while I write, sitting in front of my HappyLight. I don’t drink enough for any real surge of energy to come from the caffeine, but rather the comfort in the ritual is the reason.

2. Morning walks. The comfort here is also in the ritual, the repetition, the fact that this is intact and predictable, even now. It’s also one of the only times I leave the house, so there’s that. 🙂

Osprey high up

3. Cooking and eating good food. Eating well, feeding myself, is currently one of the most dependable ways I’m coping, which makes the day we pick up our grocery order my favorite day of the week. This week, I made the Smitten Kitchen sweet potato salad and an old family recipe, Funeral Casserole (because it’s what you take to a funeral potluck). My favorite meal this week was funeral casserole, Caesar salad, and pancakes with butter and marionberry jam for dessert.

Use ground turkey, it’s so much better than the ground beef

4. Practice. This is the other most dependable way I’m coping with “this.” Every day, I do a bit of yoga, meditate, and write. I’m working up to making a video that’s a short seated yoga practice, some breath work and meditation. I’ll share it here when I finish it.

5. Rest. This was essential to me before, when I was dealing with my own personal “sheltering in place,” trying to recover from burnout. Now it seems even more essential to give myself permission to go into a dark room in the afternoon and rest, process the fear, confusion, grief, and rage I’m feeling.

6. My tiny family. This is the third most dependable way I’m coping, spending time with my three boys, both giving and getting comfort from being together.

7. And I almost forgot, we got a foot of snow yesterday! Everything is going to turn so green now.

Bonus joy: finishing the laundry, having a washer and dryer at home, a warm shower, gummy vitamins for grown ups, that spot in the corner of our new couch, a soft blanket, clean pjs, HIIT workouts with Eric, singing with Ringo, cuddling with Sam, good TV, good books, good podcasts, good music, mantra practice, my laptop, having a space where Eric can work from home that was already set up and easy to adapt to what he needed, texting with my mom and brother, hanging out on Zoom with Mikalina and Chloe’, Sam still having access to physical therapy, the April Love photo challenge hosted by Susannah Conway, Facebook and Instagram, clean water and electricity and indoor plumbing and the internet, all the people providing health care and access to food even though it puts their own health at risk.

 

Something Good

Image by Eric

1. Wisdom from Jasmine Banks: “the thing about power when you’ve not done your internal/shadow work is that you’ll use that power to spread around your pain.” Do the work.

2. Enchanting Photos of Madeira’s Ancient Fanal Forest Filled With 500-Year-Old Trees.

3. 38 Easy Vegan Recipes You Can Make With A Can Of Beans. And for dessert, The Best Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe.

4. 22 Books Our Favorite Authors Are Turning To During Coronavirus.

5. “I don’t know what day of the week it is” song. “Danny Casale, coolman_coffeedan on Instagram, made this perfect animated song to summarize his experience of life under rona lockdown.”

6. We Need to Talk About What Coronavirus Recoveries Look Like on The New York Times.

7. Where does Weight Watchers fit into a “wellness” world? “A new book chronicles the life of Weight Watchers founder Jean Nidetch.”

8. Scottish Mum and Dad create an at-home restaurant experience for their two little boys. (video)

9. No, You Don’t Need To Disinfect Your Groceries. But Here’s How To Shop Safely. In related news, Need to make a mask? Ryan Haarer has tips (video), and What Dr. Fauci wants you to know about face masks and staying home as virus spreads — He consistently makes me feel informed without making me totally freak out.

10. People Are Misusing the Six Foot Rule to Continue Their Normal Routines.

11. Firework (Katy Perry ukulele cover by Danielle Ate the Sandwich).

12. Leslie Jordan Is the Breakout Star of Quarantine.

13. Prepare for the Ultimate Gaslighting.

“From one citizen to another, I beg of you: take a deep breath, ignore the deafening noise, and think deeply about what you want to put back into your life. This is our chance to define a new version of normal, a rare and truly sacred (yes, sacred) opportunity to get rid of the bullshit and to only bring back what works for us, what makes our lives richer, what makes our kids happier, what makes us truly proud.”

14. John Prine’s 15 Essential Songs on The New York Times. In related news, John Prine Tribute: Tiny Desk (Home) Concert.

15. Megan Giddings Explores the Hypervigilance of Black Women in “Lakewood.”

16. A Letter to My Students as We Face the Pandemic on The New York Times.

17. Louis CK has nothing to lose in his new comedy special, but you do. “There are glimmers of the wit, craft, and performance that made him who he was, but there’s also all too much of the other stuff that reminds us who he really is.”

18. Rescue Dog Maddy, Known For Balancing On Things, Travels Across The US With Her Owner.

19. Pandas mate in lockdown at Hong Kong zoo after ten years trying.

20. 84 Badass Trees That Refuse To Die No Matter What.

21. Coronavirusdiary #5: Of dirt, weeds, digging, and optimism on Rita’s Notebook.

“Last week I claimed to be an optimist, and I know that might seem at odds with resigning myself to a long haul of hard times. But I don’t think that optimism means having blind faith in good outcomes, or seeing only the bright side of every situation, or denying scary truths. A friend suggested to me this week that an optimist is a person who doesn’t believe in premature closure; in other words, an optimist is someone who, in the face of a challenge, remains open to new and different possibilities emerging from it. While they may see a place as dark and hard and wrong and broken, they don’t believe that’s the end of the story about that place.”

22. Call Paul, a new podcast from Paul Jarvis. “Let’s face it: Things are far from ‘business as usual.’ Paul Jarvis has thoughtful conversations with small business owners and entrepreneurs negotiating new economic realities from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

23. The unheard voices and You’re surrounded from Seth Godin. “This is a slog, and there will be another side. It is unevenly distributed, it’s a tragedy and it’s a challenge. But we’re in it together and with care and generosity, we can find perspective, possibility and hope.”

24. Creative Superheroes Podcast #57: Anxiety, trauma and lowering the bar in the time of Covid with Annie Wright, LMFT.

“Right now is the time to lower the bar. Right now is not the time to think that we are going to do things perfectly, that we’ll keep our addictive tendencies completely at bay, or that we’ll be doing yoga and green juice daily. This is not the time for that. I’m all about self-improvement, but not during a global pandemic, the likes of which our generation has never ever seen before. This is a time to be extraordinarily kind, compassionate and flexible with yourself. And listen, if you do need to escape through Netflix, if you do need to escape through eating popcorn for dinner this week (which I certainly have) that is okay right now.”

25. 27 Wildest Days from the glorious Laurie Wagner.

“For the next 30 days I’m giving away my newest 27 Wildest Days video series – something I am creating now, during the pandemic – and offering to anyone who would benefit from a writing practice. It’s 27 brand new videos that offer you a chance to create a daily writing practice on your own. Each day you’ll get a very short – under 10 minutes – video from me telling you something about Wild Writing, reading you a poem and giving you a couple of jump off lines. From there you will write on your own for 15 minutes. You don’t send me anything, it’s not a class, just a chance for you to lay it down and get real on the page.”

26. How to start and keep a journal during a pandemic (or any time of major upheaval).

27. A flock of 30 zines from Austin Kleon. “I made 30 zines in the first four weeks of our quarantine. Here they all are, with links to read them.”

28. Born to rewild: why now is the perfect time to make your lawn an eco-paradise.

29. Responses to COVID-19 Fatphobia from Dances with Fat.

30. LovingKindness Meditation from Adreanna Limbach.

“LovingKindness practice is a method of turning up the dial on the heart-qualities that we all possess, just by virtue of being human. It has the potential to make us more instinctively kind. Impulsively generous. Patient. Forgiving. Open. I would also add — for this specific moment in time — that it can make us feel more socially connected, even as we physically distance.”

31. Wisdom from Pema Chödrön: “Anxiety, heartbreak, and tenderness mark the in-between state. It’s the kind of place we usually want to avoid. The challenge is to stay in the middle rather than buy into struggle and complaint. The challenge is to let it soften us rather than make us more rigid and afraid. Becoming intimate with the queasy feeling of being in the middle of nowhere only makes our hearts more tender. When we are brave enough to stay in the middle, compassion arises spontaneously. By not knowing, not hoping to know, and not acting like we know what’s happening, we begin to access our inner strength.”

Day of Rest: Breathe Easy

I’ve been thinking a lot about the breath, about breathing. For whatever reason, not being able to breathe is one of my biggest fears. It’s why I didn’t really learn to swim until a few years ago, (I couldn’t put my face in the water, because I couldn’t BREATHE and was certain I was going to die), and why sometimes when I’m getting a massage and I’m face down, I have a full on panic attack, have to stop the whole process and can only finish if I stay up on my elbows, head raised. This adds a whole other level to my anxiety about COVID-19. I ordered a finger pulse oximeter to keep at home, (if I get sick and think I’m not getting enough oxygen, I can check my levels and I’ll either know I need to go to the hospital or have tangible proof that I am in fact okay), and I’ve been practicing these breathing exercises each night before I go to sleep.

In yoga, we consciously practice with our breath. It is so central to the practice, so essential, it has its own category: Pranayama. “Prana” is our vital, universal life force and “ayama” means to regulate or lengthen. Pranayama is the effort to consciously control our life force. As typically our body is breathing without us paying much attention to it, this practice brings intention to our breathing, brings our full system into balance.

Working with our breath allows us to be fully present. It brings our mind, heart, and body into alignment. Breathing nourishes our body. It also allows us to make space, literally and figuratively, for whatever arises. Consciously breathing can calm our nervous system and at the same time bring necessary support to our physical body, especially in times of stress or illness. There is no life without breath.

I’ve also been thinking about the double meaning of “breathe easy.” In relation to physical health, it’s a good sign when we can breathe easily, when our airways are unobstructed and our respiration is regulated, unlabored. Also, when we are in a calm and confident state, our mind clear and our emotions manageable, we breathe easy. In such a time as this, it seems even more important to be in touch with our breath, to practice soothing, restoring, and energizing ourselves with our breath.

May you and I breathe easy, kind and gentle reader. May we come home to ourselves on each inhale, surrendering what no longer serves us on each exhale. As Joan Halifax (an American Zen Buddhist teacher, anthropologist, ecologist, civil rights activist, hospice caregiver, and the author of several books on Buddhism and spirituality) posted on Facebook this morning:

May I be open to the true nature of life.
May I open to the unknown as I let go of the known.
May I offer gratitude to those around me.
May I be grateful for this life.
May I and all beings live and die peacefully.