I don’t know about you, but I’m a regular pendulum of emotions these days. I go from being gratefully optimistic to swinging over to pessimistically, stomach ache-ingly woeful. I’m trying to be extra mindful of being present right now, with these–and I hate to use the term–unprecedented times. But it’s a challenge. Sometimes I just stop and think…wow, this is a lot. There is a lot going on. So many people are hurting, scared, losing everything, losing loved ones, frustrated, anxious. The list goes on.
Whenever it rains, I immediately think about the restaurants with their outdoor dining set ups and my mind drifts to the winter and what will happen when they can’t set up operations outside? I think of the kids going back to school, namely in pandemic hot spots, without mask mandates. I think about the parents who can’t work from home. Yes, in some places, we are slowly opening up again, safely, cautiously. But what about the damage that has already been done? The PTSD from this pandemic real, very real.
Since Friday, March 13–the Friday the 13th angle is not lost on me–I’ve wanted for less. That was the day that this new, temporary, whatever you want to call it world, unofficially went into effect where I live. I became stringent in my commitment to keeping my husband, dog and myself nutritiously fed, healthy, comfortable and safe. We’ve always been pretty simple people in that respect, more interested in pursing the feeling rather than the thing, if that makes sense. As long as we have good food on the table, our health, and can enjoy the beauty of nature, a good book, an engrossing movie, we are good. So I’ve been holding onto this even more than ever. Refusing to engage in energy, activities or people that disrupt this peace that I’ve cultivated and am trying to maintain. When so much feels like it’s out of our control, I’m trying to be extra committed to what I can control. Living simply. Spending wisely. To hold onto as much peace as possible in the midst of such complications swirling in the air.
That being said, I thought I’d share 5 ways that have been helping me achieve this lately:
Evening walks. We’ve been talking the dog on evening walks around the neighborhood once the sun goes down and it’s nice and cool. There are crickets, sometimes the smell of a bonfire, and on a clear night, stars above. Priceless. The other evening, before it got dark, we hopped in the car and explored a local land trust with a river ambling along the trail to one side and fields of corn to the other. A few dogs were taking a dip as their owners sat on the shores of the river. We passed a few barefoot children in swim trunks with fishing poles. It was out of another era. I love seeing a return to this sort of life, these sorts of pleasures. Simple, natural pleasures. The photo above is from this magical place.
Music. We received one of those strange, remote vacuums for Christmas and I took one look at it and exchanged it for a Sonos. I’m old fashioned when it comes to cleaning the floor, I like a broom, dust pan, and a push vacuum. A Sonos was much more up our alley. Our TV recently quit and we’re taking our time replacing it, so we’ve been listening to music at night and just talking. I play music when we cook. I play music for the dog to chill him out. Right now, I’m really loving Safia Nolin, French Canadian a folk-pop singer, and we’ve also been listening to a lot of Muddy Waters.
Outdoor Yoga. The yoga studio I go to has started offering outdoor yoga classes. The other night, they did a special class for the new moon, with (flameless) lanterns ablaze under the trees. It was magic. You can’t beat striking a tree pose among trees or doing your sun salutations out in the you know, sun. The owner of the studio is committed to creating and supporting community and keeping the doors open to said community during such challenging time when moving our bodies and calming our minds is extra important. I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to practice like this and with such great people.
Farm Stands. I was a farmers market regular when I lived in the city and have taken that love and commitment to the many farm stands where we life. We are also CSA groupies and this summer, have been enjoying our meat CSA, veggie CSA, egg CSA, bread CSA, and flower CSA. Phew! We pick up fruit and anything extra at the farm stand, go to an incredible dairy farm for our milk, cheeses and ice cream and the occasional trip to the grocery store to fill any gaps. We are very mindful in making sure that we’re supporting our local food chain. It can take a little more work than one-stop grocery store shopping, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. Worth the extra expense which evens out in the long run.
Coffee Runs. We have a Saturday morning ritual of walking our dog downtown to get a coffee at our fave, little coffee shop. The other morning, I was standing outside while my husband was inside ordering, when I heard yelling from across the street at the Starbucks. There was a line, about 10 people deep queuing up for their curbside coffee pick-ups. A man was calling out to the line that he was a small business owner, trying to survive really challenging times for small businesses, and that he had really, really good coffee, just across the street. A stream of about 4 people followed him back across the street to the coffee shop I was at, I applauded the owner for doing what he did. It is extra important to support our local, small businesses (and in turn, our communities) these days. And he was right, in his case, he has really, really good coffee. And clearly really great commitment to his business.
Have a great week, everyone.