It is difficult to avoid making references to the pandemic, but something happened yesterday that causes me to vent. My favorite Italian restaurant closed when the lock down was first issued. They were not even open for take out. I wondered if they had closed their doors forever. A couple of days ago I saw they had re-opened for take out and patio dining. Yesterday my friend and I were in the neighborhood again and decided to order a meal to go.
There was a pleasant set up with a table and 2 chairs on the sidewalk right in front of the restaurant. One of the waiters came out to take our order. It was James who I knew from the good old days. You remember the good old days just a few months ago when life was normal? We chatted and I told him how happy I was they had opened up. My friend and I were quite taken aback with what he told us.
He said that every day was a crap shoot (those are my words, not his). Some days were great. Then there were days when customers would come to the restaurant rude and abusive beyond belief. The outrageous behavior was all about face masks and the face shield James was wearing. They wanted the masks to be removed. James handled the situation very well.
The mask situation is something that really gets to me. It is a simple, yet proven effective method in limiting the spread of the corona virus. Of course, it has to be accompanied by physical distancing and hand washing as we all know. I just don’t see this as any kind of hardship considering the alternative.
Can anybody explain to me why there is the entitlement, the selfish irresponsibility, touting the impingement of freedom, etc.? We are all going through these difficult times. I have to wonder if these no maskers have ever stopped to think how life would be for them living in a country with no clean water, no electricity, poor access to regular food, limited health care. Maybe they prefer ventilators to masks. It baffles me. Such a small ask that could make a big difference. Being quarantined for so long and limited to where we can go is no excuse for bad behavior. End of vent.
I certainly get squirrely periodically like most. Sometimes I stay squirrely and not worry about it. Other times I try to focus on hope and gratitude. Hope is all about future possibility. It’s about having a vision of something to look forward to and developing some ideas to achieve it. Hope can be in the short term as well. What can I do tomorrow that will be fun, challenging, service oriented or whatever is appealing? Any step forward to living well means hope is present.
The second component is gratitude. There is so much that has already been offered to us about gratitude on TV, books, personal stories, TED talks, that I don’t need to become a redundancy. In the midst of an adversity it can be difficult to flip a switch and suddenly feel full of gratitude. If we can find a way to steer ourselves in that direction, it will make a huge difference. We cannot be grateful for everything, but in a single moment we can be grateful for something. Personally, I am hoping to stockpile those moments.
Comments are welcomed.
We are living in such strange and uncertain times for which we have no playbook. The rules are being made up as we go along. Rules, if we play by them, will keep us safe. Then there are those who insist on marching to their own drum. In normal times that would be cool. Not, however, in these current circumstances. This led me to the question, what are we committed to? Are we just doing what we can to get by and get through? How can we make a difference for ourselves and those within our spheres? What came to me was commitment. Commitment to what or to whom? What does commitment mean anyway?
I don’t feel commitment is necessarily about how much time we give to something or someone. It seems to me that commitment is more about presence and attention.
Are we giving 100% of our attention to what’s going on in front of us, or are we splitting our attention between people, technology, daydreams, background music, news, and more?
In the early weeks of the pandemic I was quite busy and focused. I connected with several friends, went on a number of webinars, took and taught a course. All of these things were meaningful, positive and to which I was fully present. More recently a lot of those good vibes seem to have waned a bit. I find myself drifting a little here, a little there; attention splitting and mind wandering. Not a real happy state. The question became, what do I want to do about it? What kind of commitment do I need to recapture that earlier meaning and positivity?
Truth be told, I’ve come to find some enjoyment splitting my attention among a number of distractions. I am also aware that too much of that is not healthy over the long haul. Despite a little grumbling in my mind, I made the decision to commit to be fully present and attentive to whatever activity in which I had chosen for a particular time. It was not necessary to eliminate some of those interests. It was more a matter of being mindful and engaged as much as possible.
I essentially reminded myself of what happens when we live our lives mindlessly. Sometimes goofy things happen like picking up a TV remote and talking into it as if it was the phone. Other times more dire things happen that can affect life and limb.
There are Two morals to this:
One: With mindfulness, you can establish yourself in the present in order to touch the wonders of life that are available in that moment. Thich Nhat Hanh
Two: Be happy in the moment, that’s enough. Each moment is all we need, not more. Mother Teresa
Comments are welcomed.
Back in the day, there was a zany movie called It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World. You may or may not have seen it or even heard of it. Personally, I never saw it, but know the plot synopsis, which has nothing to do with pandemics or rampant viruses.
Back to this day, it feels like a mad, mad, mad, mad world which has everything to do with a pandemic and a rampant virus. We can top that off with a social justice movement. Several weeks of sheltering, masking, social distancing, washing our hands until raw, while the virus runs amok was a perfect set up for us to go off the rails. After reflecting on some things I am currently doing which I would not have done in my former life, I concluded I am teetering on those rails.
I am one of those people who have a lot of routines throughout the day. I will deviate from these routines when necessary or when there are more interesting options. However, maintaining a basic structure for each day keeps me stable and focused, especially in our current circs. Some of the lesser routines within the main structure have become less stringent. I won’t bore you with all the examples. I’ll only bore you with one in particular. It has to do with my big obsession with coffee. Yes, I’ve probably written about coffee more than anyone would care to read. If you decide to check out at this point, I wouldn’t blame you.
Here's the thing. Prior to quarantining, I always kept a pound of my favorite coffee beans on hand for when I needed to make my own daily cup. Most days I was fortunate to get my coffee fix from any of 2 or 3 favorite coffee shops. Understand that the biggest aspect of going out for that elixir had more to do with the ‘experience’. The experience was about connecting with friends, socializing and generally enjoying being out amongst the masses. Then along came Covid 19 and that was the end of that.
Like the rest of you, I was forced to figure out what living in a weird new world would consist of. For one thing, it consists of Zooming. We all ought to own shares in Zoom, but that’s a topic for another day. Anyway, getting back to my obsession. The first thing I did awhile ago, which I have already written about, was to find a way to collect paper take-out cups. That helped create the illusion and recreate the feeling of being out with friends. I easily got into the habit of having my one-a-day in a take-out cup which I continue to enjoy.
Next I started asking my Java drinking friends about what coffee beans they were using. Since my favorite roastery had been closed, I needed to find alternate beans to carry me through until things started to reopen. The near by organic supermarket had been declared essential an continued their service. There’s where I picked up another brand of beans to try so I could stretch out the ones I had until the roastery was accessible. The new brand was definitely drinkable. Not a wow, but acceptable. At this point things started going askew.
There’s no need for details. It would be too exhausting to write about and tedious to read. As I sit here I find myself the curator of several pounds of 5 different kinds of coffee beans. Perhaps I ought to get 2 more so there is one for each day of the week. Then, when I get up in the morning, my first big decision will be which kind of coffee will I have that day. Or I could line up the bags and randomly select one. So many options. Am I really losing it?
I’m thinking I may need to join a 12 step program before things get too far out of control. Okay. I confess. They already have.
Comments are welcomed.
I came across a blog I wrote just over a year ago. Reading through it, I saw it was somewhat prophetic, though unintended. Thus, I couldn’t resist reprinting the more relevant content.
Sometimes life presents us with an opportunity. It may not be the opportunity we hoped for or wanted or would have made us happy. Sometimes, we may just need to take a risk. How willing are we to take that risk? How do we know? What helps us decide? Doubt and uncertainty are part of the process. Perhaps we need to accept that sometimes we don’t and cannot know. Perhaps we need to embrace uncertainty in order to get comfortable in its presence. Perhaps it’s about having an acceptance between knowing and not knowing. Then we don’t fear and agonize over the choice when we come to a fork in the road. Perhaps it’s about learning to perceive the world and our lives as a blessing unfolding.
Every day is a series of moments . Each one presents an opportunity – an opportunity to be kind; an opportunity to be thankful; an opportunity for laughter; an opportunity to be of service; an opportunity to try something new. The moments of opportunities are infinite. All opportunities can be life changers whether they are the kind that affect family, work, living situations or the multitude of moments throughout our day. What choices will we make? What risks will we take? What will lead us towards flourishing? Each one of us has to find our own answers, find our own path. If we find ourselves immobilized by uncertainty or fear, the solution is to take action , even the smallest of actions, do what we can do and let go of the outcome. We may not be able to control the outcome, but we can control and choose to enjoy the process.
Comments are welcomed.