I’ve been on and off about writing in The Time of COVID. I have friends and family all over the place about this crazy time of quarantine, and rationing toilet paper and visiting supermarkets with masks at only certain times of the day.
For us, things haven’t been as hard-hitting as some have experienced. It’s heartbreaking to see the loss of jobs, business, finances, health, and to see so many stricken by fear.
Our area was later to the game as far as quarantine lock-downs and runs to the store to hoard goods. Little by little, we saw a trickle of items disappear but still at any given moment I’ve been able to walk into a store and get toilet paper. My husband and I eat a whole food plant-based diet, so for us, stocking a freezer or pantry doesn’t work incredibly well. When I first decided to grab a couple “extras” it was 2 cans of chickpeas and 2 cans of black beans. Fear has caused people to go… a little off the rails. Throughout this entire time, I have continued shopping every few days. The fresh produce has been PLENTIFUL! My hubs and I joked that with the world ending, the Vegans will live on because as inside isles (packaged & processed foods) of the grocery store were getting barer and barer, the fruits, veggies, nuts, herbs, lentils, beans and seeds were overflowing.
I have had a few days when we watched the news and I thought… am I having a false sense of security? Should I run to the store and stock my car full? I didn’t and here we are, eating a healthy diet, still.
We are not news watchers. We never have been. I like a morning update (online) and the Sunday NY Times which we have delivered. ALL of a sudden I noticed my phone starting to blow-up with all sorts of banners and alerts and warnings. My social media feeds were going crazy with news and photos of cars filled with sanitizer and toilet paper. I started to fall prey to looking more. Finally, I took a step back. The media has been on a feeding frenzy over this and THEY SELL FEAR! Fear is the best way to control people. We can’t allow fear to dictate our stories.
I did a social media cleanse which included cleansing from not only “looking” but also getting rid of articles and groups that were not nurturing my soul. I always say… just like the food you put into your body, what you put in your mind can be just as corrosive. Junk in, junk out. As an athlete, I would never demand or expect my body to perform well feeding it junk. Same with my mind. Watch news all day and see how you feel versus taking ONE day to not check your phone, not check your social feeds and instead get outside and move a little. Go for a hike, bike or walk in the fresh air. Take big full gulps of oxygen. See how things look after 24 hours. You’ll be amazed! Sitting inside during a pandemic may be the worst thing you could do.
My hubs and have a ritual; every morning we have coffee together and read and discuss a devotional. We pray together. It’s how we start the day to set our hearts and minds in a trajectory for the GOOD. It’s grown our faith. Some days challenge us. Much like that morning cuppa that gets people going, this does the same thing for us. Our minds are set above the waves and that’s how we walk through the rest our day. Not getting mired down. Even when things are trending downward globally we can still have the hope for a great tomorrow. We walk in gratitude and focus on things within our control. Not dwelling on the negative or the past. Each day is new and brings along with it, fresh opportunities. No matter who you are, this is a good practice. Set an intention.
We talked this morning about how much change this virus and quarantine is bringing to not only our states and nation, but the world! We have, for years, been a population of technology. Don’t get me wrong technology is fantastic (hello Zoom dinners and cocktail parties!) but the whole “social” part of social media has lent to people feeling more isolated, more alone, more depressed. People NEED people. We talked about how during this time of being more isolated than ever, MAYBE this is what will cause a change. A shift! I can tell you RIGHT now, I am dying to hug ALL the people.
This has challenged me (us)
G and I are very social. We love going out, going to breweries, going to restaurants, wine bars, museums, concerts, the theatre and we love people. We miss socializing with friends.
I have continued to run with friends weekly since this virus started. We’ve been very careful to keep our distance, which is easy when you’re dealing with a bunch of dirt and vert loving trail runners. Not to mention that most of the time we are in the middle of Nowhere, Wild Forest, North Carolina. It’s nothing but space and fresh air. BUT I cannot wait to high-five after a good long run. Or hug goodbye when we get back into our cars. As a social person IRL this has been hard.
We talked this morning about the fact that we will probably never walk by a stranger without talking to them. We won’t ever sit by someone in a restaurant without saying hello. We won’t ever pass up the opportunity for a hug. Our pastor is SO great (in normal circumstances) before we sit in church on Sunday mornings he will always say, “hug 3, 7, 10…14 people!” Some days it is awkward. It will never be again!
There are still ways, even now, to feel the fullness of life. Are you eating well or have you succumbed to boxed foods because you feel like it’s what you hoarded and now need to consume? DON’T! Are you still exercising? Even with 100% of the country on stay-at-home orders and social distancing, the outdoors are still open. Fresh air is still available to you. Get outside! Pick up a new hobby. Read more. Paint. Take the time for bubble baths. Rearrange your furniture. Give your house a good spring cleaning. Purge all of the unrecognizable, unnecessary “things” you’ve collected that aren’t serving you a purpose anymore and are collecting dust. Clean a closet or cabinet a day and donate. A lot of people are in need right now and it feels good to bless with your excess. Learn to cook some new incredible meals. Challenge your significant other to an Iron Chef cook-off (we love doing this) Learn yoga or practice meditation. Lean into God and learn WHO he really is. Play board games. Go outside barefoot and stand or walk in your lawn. (This alone can make you feel better) Contact with the Earth’s surface electrons by walking barefoot outside is a therapeutic technique. It has positive effects on your body; improving sleep, helps pain management, reduces stress, anxiety, reduces inflammation and boosts immunity.
Anyone who knows me, knows I am a sold-out 100-percent glass half full girl! I can make a rainbow out of anything. Find the pony in the manure. I laugh a lot (and always have) and sometimes that’s all we can do. I grew up in a home lacking laughter, so as an adult, a wife, a mother that is something we nurtured and cultivated in our family. We laugh
We played tricks and pranks and had food fights, were silly, and joked about all sorts of things. We are, in general, a pretty un-serious crew. PS: laughing is great for your immune system.
I fling wide open my door and invite laughter right in to sit on my couch and have coffee, daily!
Take some time to laugh about things. Get goofy.
Have you chosen to change some things up, instead of being mired down in the fear of what “could happen?”
Growing up all I heard from my parents was “what if?” As an adult, that was something I fought against. It didn’t make sense to me to think in those terms. For me, God flipped a switch from “what if?” in the negative sense to “what if!!!” in the excited and expectant sense. I never have the dismal, cloudy thoughts of “what if something goes bad.” And if I start down that road I can easily remember “This is the day the Lord has made… I love the TPT translation; “This is the very day of the Lord that brings gladness and joy, filling our hearts with glee.”
Are you still finding gratitude and joy every day?
Have you allowed yourself some down-time and self-care and some time to figure out a new plan? A new normal. Sitting and thinking about what could happen only steals the joy of today. Most of the time the “what if” and “this could happen” NEVER does. BUT what if it does? “What if” this is a brand new start to something extraordinary? Find new passions. Soak yourself in new wishes and goals and cravings and hope. Rediscover your spouse and who you fell in love with years ago. Watch your kids play outside and cultivate in yourself some of that youthful curiosity. Make a list of some dreams that you and your husband shelved a few years back, bring them to the forefront, and start creating the plan to make them happen post C19. Reorder your priorities. Allow things that are not serving you to break off and fall away. Make changes. Change is not comfortable and that’s why most people shy away from it, but you can’t grow if you don’t allow it to happen. Prune off the old, dead, damaged buds for new growth to spring forward.
I have done all of the above during this pandemic. Coming back from Central America as COVID was starting to make its way around the globe halted a lot of plans that my husband and I had. It halted our B-days, it halted a trip to NYC to celebrate our B-days, it paused some big races that we were training for and it paused a huge backpacking trip in the South Asia mountains of Nepal.
I’ve been reading a lot in Psalms and noticed that so many say “Interlude” between paragraphs. I have another Bible version that instead of “Interlude” it says, “Pause in His Presence”
I loved this and realized this is where we are right now.
Paused. It’s had allowed us a breath. A gigantic intake of fullness. A gulp of oxygen.
It’s made room for some pretty spectacular new friendships to grow. It’s given us more time for our Life Group (eGroup) through our church; even if currently we have to meet every week via Zoom. Ha! It’s given us a chance to have some fun challenges with other friends that we run with, without the daily training schedule we usually keep to. It has allowed me to bake more. (Still wondering if this is good or bad) Ha! It’s given us the opportunity to explore more of our gorgeous state and the surrounding mountains, trails, and beaches.
How do you see this pause? Are you freaked and panicked and fearful? Are you thinking about what you’re missing right now or looking in the past? Or have you allowed this slow intermission to grow your potential? To allow joy to saturate all the dry places? To allow some healing on your mind, body, and soul? To repair what was lacking and broken? To enable you to find new passions, interests, potential, and empowerment? To let go of things not serving you? To de-clutter not only your house but your heart and soul? To bring your tank to fullness? Are you being refreshed?
Your inward disposition will always determine your outward outlook. You cannot let what’s happening around you affect what’s living in you.
Do you find yourself saying you just want to get back to normal? Back to the old way?
I keep thinking to a few weeks ago at church and the notes I jotted down; what if normal isn’t something to get back to? What if we want to get back to what we were trying to get rid of in the first place? When you are fearful you reach out to what is familiar even if the familiar was killing you. Negativity can feel normal. Keep believing and trusting God by faith or you’re going to find yourself missing today’s opportunities because you were too attached to yesterday’s blessing.
I don’t have all the answers and I know people suffer on various levels but I know what works for me and my house. I know faith and gratitude and fitness and food all work in conjunction for me. I know dancing and prayer and music and laughter is something I have to drink a full glass of every day. I know running gives me sanity and the smell of the forest and dirt and trees nourish my entire soul. It’s how I’m knit together.
“If God can’t get your attention he will change your direction.”
Wow!! Is he changing your direction right now?
Your faith grows in unfamiliar places.
It’s a different time for sure but remember; Faith looks forward!
Keep your eyes above the waves and keep bumping into blessings, my friends.
*Media notes curtesy of PSF. Wave lyrical quote curtesy of Oceans by Hillsong United
Paula, that was so well written. I am a glass half full girl myself, and that certainly reminded my why. Thank you!
I have actually been thinking about you being on the front lines. How are things?
I think during times like this is so easy to get sucked into bad habits and negative thoughts. If we can even focus on one blessing a day, it can help.
Hope you’re still able to get out for some hiking.