Modern Ho’oponopono

A few years ago, I read a wonderful book about the ancient Hawaiian teaching called Ho’oponopono, co-written by Dr. Joe Vitale and Dr. Hew Len, called Zero Limits.

It described the work of Dr. Hew Len and his application of this ancient teaching of reconciliation and forgiveness in his work as a psychologist.

It involves getting to what he terms as “zero state.”  This means the state where we are perfect, whole, and complete.  The state that is our inheritance as human beings.

You are whole.  You are always enough.  You need nothing.  Our conditioning and our memories of our experiences block that knowledge.

Everything that is perfect for you is already in you – the Inspiration, your spark or potential, is within.  In order to understand this as your truth, you must release what is blocking you, what you would consider an enemy- the memories that stand between you and Inspiration.

Dr. Hew Len talks about “cleaning” the memory.  This means acknowledging that what we know is not all there is to know and that we have a lot of arrogance to overcome so we can experience reality.  This takes a humble spirit!

It also takes a courageous spirit, because, in this manner, we have the responsibility to set everyone and everything free…

I came to life…I don’t know how.
I am here to live.  I am invited to express Inspiration in my unique way.
I will leave here the same way I came to life.  I don’t know how.
Not knowing is freedom…

Come to Inspiration like a little child – curious, enthusiastic, playful, and always enough.

Children are always listening, watching, and learning.  They don’t know what anything means.  In this same manner, I must admit that I don’t understand much of anything.  As clear a filter as I can be, I am still a filter.

Children trust because they love.  It is always wise to choose to access the deepest source of wisdom you can at this point in time.  Love opens the door.  Fear blocks the door.

The four statements in the Ho’oponopono Prayer are an acknowledgment of our need for greater humility and fore-giveness.  I call it fore-giving, because first, we must give ourselves that which we wish to give to others.  We must live it so we know how it looks, sounds, tastes, and feels for ourselves.

Overnight, it seems, our world has been catapulted into a new frontier.  A New Earth, as Eckhart Tolle describes it, has the potential to emerge from the ashes of the old.

In the next weeks…months…years…what doors will you open?  Will you emerge from the dark womb of Mother Earth, this dark night of the spirit, as a new being?

Now is the perfect time to begin the journey towards the sun.  You were meant to walk in the sunshine…

Here are some thoughts regarding the process of Ho’oponopono that I apply to my own life.  It is the only prayer that I say, and has brought many blessings to my life.  My personal mantra, Kiss not Curse (offering a psychic blessing to others instead of a judgment) has its genesis in this ancient Hawaiian teaching.

I offer them to you with love:

I’m sorry (acknowledging responsibility, my personal role)

For not demonstrating the best of me.
For not offering you a fresh new slate on which to write.
For not being a welcoming human being.
For not being an elegant example.
For believing more in my memories of you than in you.
For loving my own opinion more than you.
For protecting myself and hardening myself against you – your thoughts, your reality, your wisdom.
For condemning and imprisoning us both.
For not cleaning up my own home while criticizing your housekeeping abilities.

Please forgive me (offering humility, acceptance, willingness to let go)

For not listening and understanding.
For not taking responsibility for my healing on myself.
For indulging in selfishness.
For loving my limitations more than our freedom.
For condemning and criticizing you.
For not offering you the space to embrace your possibilities.
For taking the responsibility for your life onto myself.
For knowing what is right for you.
For believing you are attacking me.
For seeking revenge.
For attacking you.
For attacking myself.
For thinking so small.
For separating myself from you.

 I love you (inviting Inspiration from within as well as through others)

I see you.
I hear you.
I love your life.
I love your Spirit.
I love your creativity.
I love your ideas.
I love your perspective.
I love your freedom.
I love your wisdom.
I love your truth.
I love your eyes, your hands, your ears, your voice, your heart.
I love your sadness, your suffering, and your pain.
I love your mess.
I love your quirks, and wrinkles, and scars.
I love your disrespect and hissy fits.
I love your hate.
I love your potential.
I love your creativity.
I love your best.

 Thank You (an acknowledgment of perfection aka innocence)

For blessing me awake.
For opening my eyes and my heart.
For showing me your pain.
For revealing your heart.
For reminding me of life.
For celebrating life through me.
For opening me to potential.
For showing me exactly what I deserve.
For opening me to understanding.
For teaching me patience.
For relaxing me into the time that I need to process forgiveness.
For restoring me to love.
For bringing me home.
For helping me write another version of my story.

The Japanese process called Naikan is a lovely compliment to Ho’oponopono.  It is an examination of our life from the perspective of what we have received and what we have given.

This is all about me.  This is all about you. I am you and you are me.

Namaste…

Applying The Work of Byron Katie to the COVID-19 Contagion

As a peaceful warrior, I feel it is empowering to embrace my feelings of vulnerability and resistance – to ask the hard questions – and work through them – to find the gem of truth in the lump of coal.

Why?  Because there isn’t a moment to waste!  I wish to learn from every experience.  For me, examining my thoughts allows me to consider reality, in this case, the reality of our global situation instead of resisting the thought that it shouldn’t be happening.

Why is the thought, COVID-19 shouldn’t be happening, untrue?  Because it is happening.  That is reality.

Master teacher Byron Katie has been showing us how to challenge our beliefs for decades.  I found her work a couple of years ago and was amazed at the correlations between her process and the one I had devised to heal myself.  As a result, I advocate that we Question Everything, and use a meditative process that I call contemplative writing.  It has led me to a thoughtful consideration of what I believe to be true.

It’s true, all war belongs on paper…

The answers I receive are the result of Inspiration.  They come from the most honorable, compassionate part of me that I can access at this point in time.  I call this part, my Constant Traveler.

I believe we all have a Constant Traveler within.

Katie’s four questions blend perfectly with my own work.  They have opened up another level of inquiry for me.  I highly recommend them!  They are elegant, simple, and effective.  They spell Freedom.

Let’s begin with a common thought regarding this current pandemic:

What is the thought?  COVID-19 will make me sick.

      1. Is it true?  It has the potential to make me sick, most certainly, but I can’t know for sure that it will.
      2. Is it absolutely true?  Beyond a shadow of a doubt, I cannot know that it will make me sick.
      3. Who am I when I believe that thought, COVID-19 will make me sick? I am deeply afraid:  I feel an adrenaline rush.  It feels like the alarm bells ringing all over my body.  I feel restless…I cannot settle down – I feel I must search for reassurance or confirmation that my feelings are right.  I feel the urge to reach out…to keep talking about my fear.
      4. Who would I be without the thought, COVID-19 will make me sick?
        I would be okay.
        I would be content.
        I would sleep better – with more rest I could survey the situation with clear eyes and act with intention.
        I would be happy at home.
        I would be grateful for my blessings.
        I would be free to be helpful in whatever way I can imagine.
        I would be able to take clear, appropriate instructions and safeguard myself, my family, and my community.
        I would be able to create an oasis of peace, a peaceful retreat at home.

Let’s consider this TURN AROUND for the thought – COVID-19 will make me sick.  A turn around allows us to observe the issue from another perspective, in this case, its opposite:

COVID-19 won’t make me sickThis is also a possibility. It is always possible that I won’t be sick. However, it is always my responsibility to act in the service of others and keep my distance so I don’t make them sick.

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Can I think of any reason to let this thought (COVID-19 will make me sick) go? Yes. It is making me suffer and ruining my precious day.

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In order for me to be happy in this situation, what do I need to happen?

COVID-19 should go away.

As Katie says, thoughts are always of the past or the future. 

Let’s question this idea – one thought at a time. Do our conclusions come from our reality? What we are experiencing now? Look around you. Feel your environment. The floor is supporting you. The walls are sheltering you. Feel your sit bones making contact with your sofa or chair…feel your feet making solid contact with the floor. You are warm. You are fed. Breathe…be here now.  See your door. Remember it swings both ways. You can believe that it opens onto a world that is in chaos, or you can imagine your door as a portal that allows you access to safety and Sanctuary.

You can close the door. This is reality. Most of us are performing a vital service by staying home. If you have been designated as essential, or have to go out to get groceries, medication, or to take a walk, create a Sanctuary in your mind so that when you come home and close the door you are closing the door to crisis – crisis thoughts, words, and actions. Take that with you when you go.

ANOTHER TURN AROUND:

Disclaimer:  Turning this thought around is simply an exercise in speculation.  Remember that Katie teaches not all turnarounds work – just try them on for size and if they don’t fit, that’s fine.

COVID-19 shouldn’t go away.

This idea sucks.  However, in this exercise, we may discover our power as a global community.  What are some beneficial possibilities that can emerge from this chaos? What can we discover about ourselves?  Our community?  Our nation?  Our world?

How can we survive and thrive?  How can we become better on the other side of this – after we kick its ass? 

We can examine and develop:

Our personal resiliencewhen the going gets tough, the tough get going; we can use this time to reinforce our ability to survive and thrive.

Our resourcefulness – find ways to connect, to network, to work from home, to pay our bills.

Our values – to discover what truly is valuable to you – Family, lifestyle, health, creativity, service, friendship, etc.

Our gratitude – express our appreciation for the workers who are on the front lines (medical and emergency staff, retail clerks, truckers, strong leaders); health & and wellbeing, family support, financial resources.

Our ability to be of service – how can we do it? Volunteer in some manner? Spread the love on the internet? Remember staying home is a vital act of community service.

More effective communication – person to person as well as nation to nation. We can learn to listen more, and really hear what the other person is saying. Hold the thought that the world will come together and overcome ideological divisions as we care and share and create a global protocol that will benefit humanity from this moment on.

Our power to embrace change – life is change. It could mean a new world. It could mean a new job. We have no way of knowing what is in store so why not focus on the beneficial changes? Go with the flow…

Feed the “net” our positive vibes – there is so much misery floating around on social media – we can change what our newsfeed shares right now.  Your loving presence is needed more than ever!

Our understanding of human nature – realize that, as Katie teaches, if we believed that thought, we would act in that way too…everyone has a reason for believing what they believe. It is wise to question those thoughts by doing The Work on them.A deep understanding of human nature will reveal that the only person we have the power to change is ourselves.

The necessity of creating a personal Contingency Plan – an emergency fund – asap – financial advisors have recommended that we have enough money set aside to be able to weather a three month period of transition. Even if we cannot put that much aside, always pay yourself first. If we cannot create an emergency fund, research the government and community resources that will be available to you in the event of an emergency so you can weather the storm.

Begin, revitalize, or work directly with your creativityCreativity is our birthright as human beings. We are worthy of this wonder simply by being born. It has the ability to help us weather the storms of life. Write, draw, sing, paint, cook, dance, garden, carve…create something colored beautiful to decorate your world. Keep in mind that Katie teaches that, all war belongs on paper. Writing is the most cathartic and revealing exercise you can do.

Protect your health – it is a vital resource.  Boost your immunity by eating well, drinking water, exercising (Qigong, yoga, walking, cycling, and playing with your dog are wonderful ideas – check with your local health authority to ensure you are okay to leave your home during this time). Use this time to sharpen your focus on health and wellbeing.

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Physical distancing is easy to say but difficult to do.  Many people are feeling acute stress as this wears on.  Our medical and emergency personnel, our retail and restaurant staff and truckers are getting tired…

Please join me in sending them our love…

I invite your thoughts on this subject.

Take care, my friends.

 

My Version of Ground Hog Day?

I was asked today…If you had one day to live for the rest of your life, what would it look like?  It became an interesting exercise…

Creativity. Connection. Community.

These are my prime motivators. I have no problem attending to the details of life, but I am primarily a big picture person. I apply these three essential elements in my life every day.

As a person who has given herself over to the directives of the most honorable and compassionate self that I can possibly imagine at this point in time, the part I call my Constant Traveler, every day is fresh and new, so my version will always be my version, regardless of how many people are watching. It will always be unique.

It is interesting to consider how many of us are actively trying to retreat to our version of Ground Hog Day right now, as we resist the tsunami of change that is happening in our world.

Disclaimer: As an artist, my focus on creativity allows for my own redesign of this day. What “same” means to me would be the key component of my contemplation. “Same day” for me means exploring my personal Field of Dreams, what I call the Wellspring of Inspiration. It lies beyond any glitch in the Matrix. From this perspective, each day is always full of surprises. There is always Something Colored Beautiful to explore.

On a metaphysical level, the whole world is a construct of my imagination aka illusion. Check it out – on a quantum level, we are primarily composed of space. My world is composed of concepts – even the self that is writing this was constructed of nothing, of space…the space where everything and no-thing become moot.

In the big scheme of things, when it comes time to exit this life, I will give myself over to that expansiveness. I don’t take it any more seriously than I do this Ground Hog Day exercise in speculation…it is an exercise in creativity. Serious play.

I am curious to see where it leads me…

I am a peaceful warrior. Each day that I wake up on this side of the grass, I choose my response to life. If I were to live my version of the movie Ground Hog Day, it may look like this:

Creativity:

I would wake up in the morning, happy to be here. I begin my early morning practices in a state of receptivity, anticipating and accepting everyday miracles. These are the Something Colored Beautiful moments that are hidden in everyday life.

Yes, there is always stuff to deal with. There are challenges and readjustments and disappointments…my compassion flows to those who are suffering and deeply scared today…

I focus on my heart, my influence, my good vibes…in this creative space. Quora has become one of my creative spaces. Even if I were to answer this same question over and over again…considering my perspective, I would always find something new to share.

Connection:

This includes connections made in my brain through reading and understanding; connection with my Constant Traveler and the artful Wellspring of Inspiration inside me; and connection to other people. I would always be learning. I would always be sharing. What I learned and shared on this day would strengthen and enrich this connection.

But best of all…because I enter into what I consider sacred space every day…I would always be in contact with Inspiration…perhaps my Ground Hog Day would become my version of Nirvana???

To discover what lies beyond the Matrix because I would be immersed in it by the force of the Universe, not able to draw myself, my attention, out of it through ego identification?

What a delightful thought!!

Community:

I have been preparing for this event for over a decade. I live by the 5P’s of Effective Action – Proper planning prevents poor performance. As an ambivert, I have learned how to fill my inner directive to engage in the world, as well as how to retreat and recharge. I have been actively connecting with folks, writing and sharing songs and books, joining with others in groups like Toastmasters, and offering my contemplative and meditative thoughts to others in every way I can imagine.

Inspire. Invite. Incite others to action…I do this every day, so my Ground Hog Day wouldn’t be any different. Sometimes we don’t need to open out…sometimes we need to open in…to expand our inner resources and resilience and connection to the collective through what we share energetically…to enrich our inner space, because, in ways that you may not be able to recognize, when mine is beautiful and full it spills over into yours…

My same will include compassion and sharing that which I choose to live each day…and there is nothing wrong with more of that same!

And as my day draws to a close, and I have completed my qigong and breathing exercises and released this day…died to it, essentially…regardless of whether today becomes yesterday…I am living my best life. Too cool!!

Sending you lots of love, my friends…

Many Doors, One Sanctuary: 10 Doors to Active Wellbeing: Doorway # 2

When my kids were quite young (6 and 2) their father and I decided to take them for a short camping trip.  We choose a campground that was on the outskirts of Moncton, NB, involving only a couple of hours of traveling – not too far away for this first expedition.  We bought a tent, gathered our camping gear, packed the two of them, toys and car seats and blankets and food all, into our red Bronco II and headed for the campground.

Our afternoon was full of fun and games.  The children enjoyed the playground and splashed in the pool.  Supper went well, everyone was hungry and everything, even canned Irish Stew, tasted better outdoors.

When it was time for bed we took the children into the tent, wrapped them in their special blankies, and began our evening sleepytime ritual.  Our plan was to get the kids to sleep and sit around the fire for a couple of hours.

That is when my son announced, Okay, let’s go home now.

No, Mike, we are going to sleep here.  But where’s my bed?  

You have your blankets and your pillow, try to go to sleep.  But I need my night light.

Okay, let’s read a story (I get out the flashlight to read the book).  But Mommy, I can’t go to sleep here.

Nobody slept that night.  We were waiting – tent, and camping gear and kids and toys and car seats and blankets and food all, in our red Bronco II, in the parking lot of MacDonalds as the morning staff arrived to open the doors for breakfast at 6am.

Creating Sanctuary…

What is my point?  Well, by now, I think our patience with physical distancing is wearing thin.  Having time off work is old news.  Watching tv and surfing the net is getting boring.  We are well-rested and (at least for some of us) our house is cleaner than it has ever been.  Pets are so well attended to that even they are wondering when we are going to leave.

As this crisis creeps closer to home, we are beginning to become restless.  We need to get outside but are afraid of what waits for us there.  We must get groceries.  Some of us must have medications.  Kids are beginning to whine and fight for recreation.

Even those of us who identify as introverts are becoming a tad bug-eyed…

We want to go back to the way things used to be.

Here is how I see the difference:

It is different when we choose to stay inside.  It is different when we consider our home a retreat from the world, not a fortress against the world.

We feel like we are a boat without a rudder, floating along on an unknown sea, and we are reaching the point where the growing wave in front of the bow begins to break.

When will I be able to go back to work?  How will I pay my bills if this goes on much longer?  Holy crap, what if my company goes under?  Or my investments go down the toilet?  Should I take the kids outside to play?  My mom is in a nursing home alone.  This virus has no cure…

When the going gets tough, the tough get going…

This pandemic is a serious threat.  If we don’t practice physical distancing and adhere to the protocols as outlined by the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization, more will die.  This is not a possibility, it is a probability.  It is wise to be deeply concerned and to act like we are contagious and don’t want to spread this virus to anyone else.

Creating a home Sanctuary means providing an oasis of wellbeing for us and our families.  This is a dedicated practice for a peaceful warrior.  We become relentless in our pursuit of peace.  We practice with the 5P’s in mind:  Fearless faith, focus, and fortitude.

It involves active engagement, nurturing the body, mind, spirit.  It involves opening doorway #2 that leads to enhancing our immune systems and mitigating stress through conscious, healthy consumption.  Open the door and discover the good things of life.

I invite you to consider these suggestions as you endeavor to fill your mind and spirit and body with good things:

2. Active Consumption

Media:  Perhaps it is time to limit our consumption of the news?  Remember the saying, If it bleeds, it leads…applies to media.  To back away from social media?  To stop reading about and joining in the discomfort of others?  To stop sharing complaints?  To actively use the wonders of our online connections to others to share what you know will give them a boost?  

Food:  Be strategic.  Shop for groceries once per week to lessen your chances of spreading this contagion.  Make a comprehensive list.  Pick foods that are high in nutrition and give you value for your money.

This is the perfect time to stretch your groceries out by eating less.  Practice the Japanese way of eating called Hara Hachi Bu.  This means eating until you are no longer hungry, not eating until you are full.  There is a world of difference.  In North America, we have been conditioned to eat until we can no longer eat another bite and believe this is beneficial.  All of the longest-lived societies in the world practice some form of calorie restriction.  This is part of the eating practices in what has been described as the SAD diet (Standard American Diet), which applies to all of North America.

Conversation:  This is the perfect time to Facetime with friends.  To meet on Zoom or Skype.  To share your support and encouragement with someone who is sheltering at home alone.  We need each other more than ever.  It always feels good to realize you are needed and you are loved.  This is the perfect time to give to others what you would love to have for yourself.

Reading:  Ebooks are a superb way to enlighten your mind and pass the time in an active, constructive manner.  Check out Audible.  Check out Youtube – many books and magazines are available for free online.

Next post will include thoughts on #3 Active Thought!  🙂

Stay well and keep spreadin’ the love, my friends!

 

Many Doors, One Sanctuary: 10 Doors to Active Wellbeing: Doorway # 1

A few years ago, I had a dream that I was standing in a hallway.  To the left and to the right there were a number of doors, and at the end of the hallway, one single door.

As I began to walk down the hall, I tried each door.  Some seemed to be locked.  Some weren’t locked but the knob didn’t seem to work.  And some, the most confusing ones of all…would open a crack but when I pushed on the door…the door pushed back.

That was the way with each one of the doors…except for the one at the end of the hall.  It opened easily.

As I stepped over the threshold, I found myself on a windswept beach.  It was night, but I could see the dark surf and hear the waves as they kissed the sand.

I began to walk down the beach and as I did, a man approached me and he said, “What are you doing?”

I stopped. “I was in there and tried all the doors,” I told him.  “They wouldn’t open, so I came out here.”

He shook his head.  “Go back inside and open those doors.”

“Okay,” I said, and as I turned to go back, the dream ended.

I have thought a lot about that dream – its possible meaning, and the ramifications for my life if I had stayed on that beach.  I could have played it safe and walked along beside the surf…perhaps never knowing lay beyond any of those closed doors.

What is behind Door #1, or #2, or #3, as Monty Hall would say on the game show Let’s Make a Deal.

Behind one door was a brand new car!; behind the others, goats..like nanny or billy goat.

But what happens when Monty Hall isn’t there and you have too many doors to choose from?  Which door do you choose first?

Living in the gap…

Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom. – Viktor E. Frankl

It takes a fraction of a second for the information we receive through our senses to reach our brain.  We form our reaction with what seems to be the speed of light.  It is so fast that we may not detect it, but this space, or gap, is there.  It is the space of the observer.  It allows us time to consider our reaction and decide if it is worthy of sharing.  It is in the gap that we transform reaction into response.

This gap is accessible to all.

In order to access this space of thoughtful choice, of clear-eyed executive decision, we simply have to take the time.  To sit with our reaction for a few seconds longer than usual…to realize that it is there.  This breaks the cascade…the chain reaction that keeps us chained to fear-based habits and responses.   This is how we create an elegant inner Sanctuary.

In this space, we are invited to examine our thoughts and consider, as Buddhist teacher Tara Brach says, that our thoughts are just thoughts.  We don’t have to believe them.  There is a profound freedom in the understanding that we don’t have to believe our thoughts.

Thoughts are real but they aren’t true. – Tara Brach

We realize freedom through gentle, tender, consistent practice.  Repetitive gently flowing movement not only soothes the body, but it also soothes the mind.

The Way of a Peaceful Warrior…

As a peaceful warrior, I take a stand.  I will not be daunted by circumstances.  In the face of adversity, I survive.  In the aftermath of adversity, I thrive.

Our world has been catapulted into a new frontier, it seems.  During these tumultuous times, when everything is changing, our active engagement is needed more than ever.

What can we do when we are stuck inside, face to face with our fears and foes?  A peaceful warrior turns and faces their foe.  The hero of their own life, when everyone is running away from their discomfort, the peaceful warrior runs toward it.

When the going gets tough, the tough get going…

Active engagement is the solution to passive acquiescence.  We are giving in instead of giving up.  We are giving ourselves the qualities and companionship we need in order to weather this crisis…to not only survive but to thrive in spite of it.

The following 10 doorways offer us keys to activating our inner warrior.  In this new frontier, flexibility and adaptation are vital traveling companions.

Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way. – Viktor E. Frankl

Frankl’s brilliant observation was borne from extreme adversity.  It is wise to give it our attention.

We have a choice.  We can cultivate our personal resilience in the times when we can do nothing else.  Interestingly, we can realize the power of the human spirit best through adversity.

When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves. – Viktor E. Frankl

Active engagement.  What does it mean to you?  When circumstances require our active agreement regarding physical distancing and staying home as much as possible, to acknowledge the very real threat to our lives and the lives of those we care about…what can we do?

We can step through doors that open us up to a new frontier.  We can act in a manner that defines us as elegant beings.

  1. Active Relaxation

Active relaxation is truly wonderful!  It includes practices such as Qigong and Yoga.  These can be practiced in your living room, bedroom or anywhere that you have a few feet of space.  There are superb videos available for FREE on Youtube.  Here are two to get you started.  I love these videos and am so grateful for the skill of the instructors and the internet for making them available:

Qigong:

 

 

Yoga – I love Adriene!

Awaken the Artist Within

These are a perfect place to begin!  There are 9 more steps to living in the gap in this manner.  Over the next days, I will share more information and insight into each one.

2. Active Consumption

3. Active Thought

4. Activity!

5. Active Rest

6. Active Mothering

7. Active Fathering

8. Active Creativity

9. Active Connection

10. Active Community

Take care, friends, and stay healthy!

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Insight from COVID-19 – Transforming Reaction into Response 1.0

We are in the midst of chaotic times, no doubt.  It is truly a call for us all – to wake up to the fact that we live in a global community.

Arguments to the contrary can no longer be entertained.  However, new thoughts, habits, and routines can be inner-trained.

When faced with challenging circumstances, I have trained myself to search for something worthwhile that can be gleaned from the suffering.  With practice these kinds of thoughts become like beachballs in water – they inevitably pop to the surface.

Folks are afraid, and there is good reason.  This contagion is real.  Government protocols are being rewritten because of it.  The lifestyles of the rich and famous and poor and unfamous are changing because of it.

We are at a crossroads.  Will we react?  Or respond?  There is a world of difference.

Here are a few of the things that I am learning from this outbreak.  These include the pragmatic and philosophical, as well as the humorous…humor is Now Therapy.

  1. Appreciation is an Elegant Art.  Appreciate our health care workers, retail clerks, truck drivers, utility workers, and those who maintain our vital communication, and emergency services.   Friends, this realization is changing the water on the beans – without these folks we WILL be in dire circumstances indeed.  Keep in mind that those who are in direct contact with the public (you and I) have to go home to their families.  We can spread the love not the virus.
  2. Appreciate our personal vitality, health, and strength.  If you are healthy it is honorable to help others.  There are those who will not be able to get to the grocery store.  We can always drop off food and meds to those who are even more shut-in than we are, while maintaining a necessary distance.  This is a vital community service.  Contact your local organizers to find out how you can assist.
  3. We can walk outdoors (if we are not under a strict isolation order) while keeping our distance from others and even if we are confined to our home we can do stress-relieving and flexibility enhancing exercises like yoga, Tai Chi, and Qi Gong.  There are hundreds of videos that are free online.
  4. Kindness costs nothing but pays a huge return on our investment.  It is also stress-reducing.  We are all consumers.  We are all contributors.  What are you consuming?  What are you contributing?  It is true kindness to only use what you need and leave the rest for others.  These days, kindness also looks like staying home!
  5. We can ration paper products.  What is this new Toilet Paper Index but a sign of irrational times? This is not gross, folks, it’s a natural bodily function.  In many cases, two small squares of TP is all you need to attend to a #1, ladies.  Gents understand this pragmatic approach and have for eons.  Hippies and hikers have known the benefits of rationing products that decimate our old-growth forests for what seems like forever.  Glad to have y’all on board!
  6. We can get by on about half the amount of food we regularly consume.  The SAD (Standard American Diet – this includes all of North America) is excessive.  We have heard that before.  With people hoarding food, this is the perfect opportunity to practice calorie-restriction.  It won’t hurt you.  Cut your consumption of meat in half or quarter – there are huge benefits for your pocketbook as well as your innards.  You won’t simply survive, but you may find yourself thriving.
  7. Eliminate food waste.  With the requirement for social distancing, you may find yourself a lot more mindful about what food you are buying (getting to the store is a privilege of these who are healthy) and, if you are community-minded you will find yourself naturally limiting your trips to the stores that remain open so we can continue to eat.  You may find yourself using leftovers in creative ways!  Bravo!
  8. Staying at home has its benefits.  We can play more games.  We can write and listen to music and hang out with those that share our home.  Our wardrobe is not a concern.  One change of clothing is all we need.  Minimalists have been saying this for years.  Consider what truly is important – enjoy the benefits of not doing nearly as much laundry too!
  9. You now have time to give your windows the attention they deserve.  I accept my responsibility for cleaning the dog snot off the living room window, and now I have plenty of time to attend to it.  Wash your dishes by hand!  My hands have never been cleaner!  🙂
  10. I have new empathy for my dog and cat and every critter who has ever spent time confined.  I can go outside.  I can move around my home.  I don’t have to hold my bodily functions like my pup does if he or she is crated.  My human litter box is clean.
  11. Feed the need now – pets need more than food.  Pets need petting.  That is the definition of petting – where it originated.  Pets give us so much – this is the perfect time to give them a whole lotta love!  This is a gift that keeps on giving!
  12. There is logic in cat poop.  Sharing negativity and nastiness on social media is like taking the contents of your cat’s litter box and handing it to others.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t want a piece of it.  Neither does your cat!  Litter box wrangling is a solitary endeavor for the cat (ask him!) and a solitary pursuit for their hooman…scoop it up and dispose of itPlease don’t try to distribute it to your social media community.

Yes, I agree.  Some choices have to be curtailed for a while.  It isn’t fun.  There is a whole world of adjustment happening – financial strain and frustration and fear is real.  We still have many choices available to us – ones that don’t cost anything – like learning to transform knee-jerk reaction into clear-eyed response.

This virus outbreak may be historical, but it is only hysterical if we let it be.

Stay healthy, my friends.

Message in a Bottle

She waited for hours for him to show up.  Moments passed by like a string of eternities as she waited for him to have the decency to call her, at the very least.

That was it.  She was done!  No more waiting for him to “bless her” with his presence.  She was tired of his BS anyway, tired his bare feet in his sneakers and how he slurped coffee.  And he cracked his knuckles … what was up with that?

Just last week he agreed when she mentioned that she was not in as good a shape as she used to be.

“You know it is good for your health to keep fit,” he said.  She knew she should hit the gym more often but it was none of his darn business if she did or not.   She didn’t tell HIM when to work out or what to eat.

“Why do I always get the losers?” she thought.  Men who don’t know how to treat a lady like a lady … are there any good men out there?

More hours went by.  It was almost 1:00 AM when he finally called her.  She was in bed with the phone on her pillow.

“WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN?’ she began, her voice rising.  “I have been waiting here all night for you to call me!”

“Remember what you said last night?” he began with a calmness that stopped her mid-rant.

No.  She didn’t remember too much about last night.  Too much wine and too much song …

“You probably forgot,” he said, “You told me you were going to come over to my place and pick me up.  You were going to treat me to a pizza, I think.  I know, it’s a little late now,” he laughed.

“No worries.  These things happen, honey.  Just called to wish you sweet dreams.”