Like many of you I was in denial of the magnitude of this “thing” for days. I was traveling in Europe visiting my parents, siblings and nephews at the time…just a month ago. I thought the French media was, as usual, being too dramatic…before Covid-19 became a familiar word in our daily vocabulary.
They were not kidding. This “thing” was serious…it is spreading much faster then our brain cells can admit it. As I was watching the news in France, the official number of dead people climbed by 20 then 60 then 250 ( now 400 ) every 24 hours. First in Italy, then France, Spain, United Kingdom and everywhere else in Europe and Iran before it started seriously hitting the United States. I made the decision to go to Paris, London and Ajaccio ( capital of the island of Corsica ) to visit my close relatives back in January when the disease was only present in China then South Korea. Once I arrived in Paris, at the end of February, my mother begged me to cancel my trips to the United Kingdom or Corsica. I did not listen to her. I took a lot of risks, for myself and my loved ones…but somehow I felt I needed to go, just like if I were trying to get into a house before the security guards would close it for months. I am really glad I did travel and spent quality time with my loved ones before the schools shut down and quarantines were ordered everywhere. I am grateful I traveled back home to Florida safely, on an Airbus 380 which carried 73 passengers on an aircraft that can welcome over 500 people.
We are all in this together now, from Paris to Rome, London to New York, Dakar to Beijing and Los Angeles. Everywhere. It is scary as no one can seem to be able to escape this worldwide threat and it is somehow comforting as we are all experiencing quarantine, removal of outside distractions, work from home ( if work is still possible ), homeschooling or parents at home, non-stop cooking, eating and cleaning.
Ironically this is what I bought during my three week trip in Europe: artisan scented candles, organic face creams, books and teas…not knowing I would bless these sensory items every day while staying at home in quarantine.
There is a lot of fear, frustration, sadness and anxiety floating around. Some people are financially hurt as their industry or work is on the pause button or crumbling, some are emotionally fragile and fearful of imposed isolation, others are physically sick or dying…or all of this at once. I can’t find the words to comfort those who are seriously sick, their family or those who have abruptly lost a loved one to Covid-19.
There is an opportunity for reflection.
Is this worldwide disease sent by a higher force to push us to see something else ? What are we supposed to see ? That beyond our physical, cultural, geographical and financial differences we are all human beings trying to get by and have some fun along the way ? That once all outside distractions are removed, we are left with the opportunity to connect to ourselves on a deeper level…What do I really care about ? What is the meaning of life and death ? Why do I keep working for this company when I don’t feel I am using my full creative potential ? Why do I stay in this romantic relationship when I feel that I am giving much more than I am receiving ? Do I need all the beauty products, clothes, artwork, toys, parties or entertainment choices that I was considering essential until now ?
There is a huge opportunity to find home within, not just under our physical shelter. Time to meditate, pray, have difficult conversations, live like there is no tomorrow.
There is also time for creativity and fun.
I have friends who dressed up with their children and had a video dinner virtually shared with friends. I recently enjoyed a video coffee with a couple of girlfriends. I am taking this at home time to work on an online course ( more details to follow ), and people are finding ways to walk or ride their bicycle around the block, travel by taking museum virtual tours.
Everywhere in the word, school teachers are turning into online teaching and homeschooling, offering online dance/yoga/cardio classes designed for a home setting. I actually purchased a jazz dance class from London-based modern-jazz dance teacher Fleur Murray.. I danced in the living room, it felt so good ! How cool is that ? Also, working from home is becoming the norm; companies and business owners are creating new ways to work and communicate, if remote work is possible ( Check this article : finding ways to work ).
There are incredible relief and fundraising programs that are offered by hundreds of companies to provide financial help to their employees or to a specific industry ( music, freelance creators etc…). As one of the many remarkable examples out there, Thistle Farms, which manufactures artisan crafted body and home scented products ( and amazing scented candles ) and provides work and a roof to women who experienced trafficking, prostitution and abuse, is having a fundraising campaign to help their employees survive financially during this stay-at-home time.
In the midst of this chaos, I want to thank all our everyday heroes : doctors, nurses and all medical staff, supermarket employees and cashiers, maintenance and cleaning crews, school teachers, law enforcement representatives, community leaders, not for profit organizations, journalists etc… and so many individuals and exhausted parents trying to deal with homeschooling and financial stress.
I would like to end this post by offering you a short selection of pieces of music which I have chosen on Spotify for their beauty and their ability to soothe the mind : listen here. Remember, music can help us feel more calm and joyful, during or after the Covid-19 pandemic.
Drop me a line to let me know how you are and how you are coping with these challenging times by sending an email to : firstname.lastname@example.org. Be well and stay safe.