“Those who contemplate the beauty of the earth find reserves of strength that will endure as long as life lasts.” Rachel Carson
During the first week of “self-distancing” I’ve learned a few things and I’ve noticed a few things. First, there is a tremendous need to love the world more. By this I mean there is a need to cherish family, friends, community and the world, more consistently, more intentionally. And also to cherish myself. To do this, I need to protect myself from fear. How does one become less fearful? I begin by turning away from the perpetual onslaught of fear mongers – those who benefit by instilling fear in the hearts of the general public, primarily newspapers, broadcast news, and social media. Not all news agencies are fear mongers. There are some who intentionally avoid sensationalism and strive for honest reporting. They are few and far between, but if you try, you can find them. I find I am still well informed without being submersed in unnecessary predictions and details.
The second lesson is more fundamental and practical. Even though I plan to stay home during the day, I need to get dressed. The first few days I changed from my jammies to my “stay-at-home” clothes , my super comfy clothes. But I soon realized that I needed to dress with the expectation of productivity and progress. Some people might be able to accomplish great things in their jammies, but I need to be dressed and ready for the day. What a change it has made to my outlook.
Third, what a difference it makes to connect face to face. Right now that may not be possible in person, but to talk via Facetime, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Skype, or any other video chat makes a huge difference. To see the person you are talking with feels almost like being there with them.
I’ve noticed that individuals not usually open to sharing on a personal level are yearning for more intimate connections. It is easy to assume you are being social when you are surrounded by people. But it’s too easy to pass by with only a cursory ‘hi, how are you’. Now that there is no daily illusion of sociability there is a greater need to make those personal connections, to love and feel loved.
I’ve noticed that I really don’t have to go to the store as often as I had been doing. I’ve noticed that WAY more people are outside walking, couples and families with strollers. On the first day that the temperature was above 35 F, cars were lined along the street for blocks near a local park. I’ve notice more kids outside playing. I’ve noticed a longer line at the mail box and I like to think people are sending cards to loved ones and friends who might be under lock-down in care facilities. I’ve noticed store clerks are patiently answering questions from concerned customers. I’ve noticed joyful helpfulness in the stores. I’ve noticed people being willing to try things a new way and finding out its not so bad (that would be me).
Mostly I’ve noticed people being kind. This is human nature. This is the nature we need to nurture and appreciate. To recognize and cherish good in the midst of a challenge is to love the world more.