Zoom, Obama, and London Grammar

https://www.poynter.org/reporting-editing/2020/nprs-tiny-desk-at-home-concerts-are-a-rare-joy-in-the-pandemic-heres-how-the-team-puts-them-together/

The last post I wrote talked about isolation from a variety or perspectives and I wanted to pick up on those themes, but in a more positive light this time. After proofreading, I want to give a disclaimer that it takes a few paragraphs for the positivity, but it’s coming. I promise!

We’re getting closer to “normal” but there’s no consistency in numbers of new cases and deaths. The summer is upon us and sun is the perfect antidote to lots of misery, but we’re still searching for ways to enjoy it while maintaining a few feet from others to protect everyone. And there’s still ample confusion on how the entire COVID situation was handled. Every time I see a news article addressing the way the current administration mishandled COVID and continues to mishandle COVID, I find one of President Obama’s speeches. Whether you like the man or not, he delivers powerful and encouraging speeches. The most recent I enjoyed was he and Michelle’s talk at the civic town hall for high school students. If you haven’t seen it, go to their Instagram and check it out. There were so many rich nuggets!

Not only do I turn to these speeches for inspiration, but it’s an escape from the gaslighting I often feel when listening to and reading the news these days. We’ve been hearing about how so many of our human relatives are to blame and how others are at disproportionate levels of risk. And the only thing we can do daily is remain vigilant of all of the information that’s being presented to distill for ourselves what’s actually happening. All of the confusion around COVID has done nothing but diverted our attention from vulnerable groups, bad politics, and environmental damages that continue happening. I’ve wondered so many days if I’m crazy or making things up because the world is so inconsistent right now. But Obama’s speeches give me grounding. They remind me of the hope I can never lose sight of because that hope activates me to continue fighting for change for a better world for my sons. His speeches pull me out of the emptiness I feel like I live in a lot and remind me of the potential that an empty pot holds. This is not a call to start creating everything that comes to mind, but we get such fresh ideas and perspectives when we think of the potentials of our empty pots.

Alongside Obama’s speeches and my potential as an empty pot, nature has been a perfect antidote to the waves of isolation and the fear of the future. Taking walks and feeling Mother Nature return to her radiant glory as we remain indoors was one of the most beautiful things to come from COVID. I have a newfound appreciation of protecting our planet and all of creation. I find inspiration to be a better person in nature. I’m encouraged to mend relationships and continue persisting in others as I sit among the trees and realize my connectedness to all that is around me. I’ve begun letting in more people as I move out of my aloneness. I’ve found myself reaching out to friends and family I love and trust for support because they push me to open myself up and indulge in things that make me feel good while remaining positive.

Some of the best relationships I’ve returned to have been my family relationships. Even when I’m tired and inward-turning, I have Zoom calls every Sunday at noon with my extended family. My children, parents, sister, relatives around the world (NYC, Munich, NJ, and PA), and 97-year-old great aunt in Long Island all gather for time together. We laugh as she glances down the hallway at her assisted living facility to see what trays are left after dinner. We listen to music together. I make sure I sneak London Grammar on the playlist as often as possible because “my darlin’, I’ll be rooting for you” are words everyone needs to hear every day of this pandemic. Whether you want to learn new languages or just debate putting on pants for the day, I’ll be rooting for you all!

That song has also encouraged me to return to my foundational sources of strength. A few times a week I schedule time for Joseph Campbell Talks with Bill Moyers (“Power of Myth” and “Hero with a Thousand Faces” are two of my favorites). In those moments I’m encouraged to face the isolation to get through it, whether I’m surrounded by a thousand people are just by myself (the Deep Water documentary is also another great resource on this theme). I’ve even rejoined social media. This one requires more vulnerability of me than I’ve previously been able to spare. You see, I exited social media scenes after the accident to protect myself and my family from as much hurt as possible. I’m re-entering cautiously while always reminding myself to be gentle as I continue filling my pot. As I continue living through isolation and aloneness, sometimes simultaneously and other times separately, I know that we all have time to be vulnerable. Whether it’s speeches or music, family or friends, documentaries or conversations, nature or the grocery store, take this time to be vulnerable with yourselves. I’m

hopeful that as I remind myself, you hear my words and do the same (and indulge in some London Grammar).

Be well, my friends ​♥

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