I wish I could find something to write about besides the virus, but it seems it is endless in its intensity, clamoring to be heard. Like most people, I have been self-solituding, taking time to sleep, watch inspiring videos, listen to soothing music, write, clean, organize, pray, meditate, exercise, cry, talk to family and friends, and see clients via telehealth. I facetime with my son, daughter-in-law and two-month-old grandson, We share videos, I sing to him and read stories. Although we are physically separate, we are emotionally closer than ever to people we love. For me, at least for this moment, panic has been replaced by a sense of calm and trust that all will work out. Having been through upheaval in the forms of widowhood at 40, in 1998, loss of home in Hurricane Andrew in Homestead, Florida in 1992, an ectopic pregnancy the same year, the death of both of my parents, 2008 and 2010 and in 2018, a dear friend who was like a sister to me, I know it is possible. I am a survivor of a heart attack in 2014 that was a game-changer. With each successive challenge, I have come to appreciate life and the people with whom I share it, all the more. I couldn’t have done it alone.
I do my best to avoid watching press conferences since they are nothing more than a pep rally for the administration. I do my best to avoid watching newscasts since they are primarily a source of escalating numbers with little hope for recovery expressed. Knowing how important it is to stay informed and encouraged, simultaneously, I read reports from reliable sources like the newly crowned expert, Dr. Fauci, bless his heart. I listen to weekly Facebook Live broadcasts from a local primary care doc friend named Harris Cohen. He also writes updates a few times a week that are sprinkled with humor and data. He is now doing telehealth sessions with his patients. I read stories about people who have recovered. I watch interviews with doctors in our community, as well as with Doylestown Mayor Ron Strouse who provides firm but comforting messages about what area citizens need to do to quell the virus. The take away is the same…we need each other to create vital change. It is the butterfly affect at work; what happens in one part of the world impacts us all.
Recently, I saw postings about Pink, who was diagnosed with the virus and donated $500,000 to Temple University Hospital Fund in Philadelphia and the COVID-19 response fund run by the Mayor’s Fund for Los Angeles. I hear about folks doing acts of kindness, such as shopping for their neighbors, serenading each other, performers whose concerts are now online, classes to enhance our knowledge, museum tours to help us enjoy the beauty in the midst of dark times, buying food for hospital staff.
Something else lifted my spirits. A few months earlier, my friend Alan Samuel Cohen who is a coach, trainer, speaker and author was tapped to offer a TEDtalk. The topic was The Magical Power of Shared Purpose. Without giving away the aha moment, the big reveal of this entertaining and transformative presentation, suffice it to say that it couldn’t have been more timely. It was released a few days ago and I have watched it twice. He spoke about the ways in which working together in the face of daunting odds can turbocharge us. What I do alone is good. What I do in cooperation with others is even better.
What we are all living through now is unprecedented for all of us. There are plenty of people who have survived war, poverty, abuse, trauma, and loss of all sorts and may have felt as if they were experiencing it alone. This is impacting the entire world simultaneously. This virus knows no politics, culture, religion, skin color, gender identity or sexual orientation. There isn’t a single life it hasn’t touched in one way or another. It has become essential to join together in social responsibility by maintaining physical distance, handwashing, staying home unless it is essential to go out. It is crucial that we envision a world that has transformed as a result of our choices throughout. Our shared purpose has to be wellbeing for all. The world is counting us to be WE as well as ME.
As Alan says in his talk:
Chaos is inevitable. How we respond to it is not. Best way to move through chaos, connection to shared purpose.
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