There’s the famous Chinese proverb: “May you live in interesting times.” The precise origins of the saying are rather nebulous, if not uncertain. Although, I believe we all get the intent of the message.
That being said, we definitely live in unprecedented, uncharted times. The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic is pervasive and yet evasive. We’re all adjusting to our new “normal,” whatever that may be. I’m teleworking from home. I’m fortunate that my company pays me to work from home, teleconference calls or submitting documents to customers via prescribed websites.
The impact of COVID-19 astounds us in that its very treatment still remains elusive. The virus’s duration, proliferation, or growing mutation are also undetermined. Many have gotten sick, thousands have died. We’ve witnessed the financial impacts of the plunging US stock market, and many people might be losing their jobs in this uncertain aftermath.
There’s a scarcity of supplies and services. For example, I paid $65 for 10 rolls of toilet paper on-line arriving no earlier than April 16. That was $9.99 for the actual 10 rolls, $49.99 for the expedited shipping, and taxes. Otherwise, I would wait for delivery no earlier than May 1. Given the circumstance, I was satisfied with my choice, for the most part. Just saying.
Fortunately, my buddy Ron could spare a couple of rolls until my valued shipment arrives. Practicing proper social distancing, Ron delivered the toilet paper at my favorite walking park nearby. I was very grateful. Of course, for the rolls. I’m truly grateful for the personal connection, my lifelong friendship with Ron. That matters.
In the midst of the arising logistical or financial burdens and challenges, perhaps, it’s the personal challenges in our ‘interesting times’ that come to bear. I’m more than just saying.
My late mother would always say before I left her after visiting her in her Seniors Home, “You take care of yourself.” So now, I say, “Take care of yourself.” In the bigger picture, in this pandemic, love and forgive yourself. Do your best. After all, that’s all we can do. Love yourself for who you are. Forgive yourself for who you’re not. Yes, be mindful of the social distancing, hygiene, and other common-sense measures. Yet, more importantly, discover your measure of peace.
In these interesting times, I hear Mizukami Sensei’s voice, “Just train. Make it work for you.” Yes, it’s difficult. Yeah, it even sucks. Yet, just train. I know what it’s like to endure the times that suck, having had to deal with my abusive childhood and, in my depression, working with my therapist Lance. Yet, the times that suck, the times that we suffer are ultimately finite. They shall come to an end. In my 30 years of training Aikido, 25 years with Sensei, I got that I just grind it out in the interesting times. You can, as well.
So how do I take care of myself in these “interesting times”? Well, like you, I do my best. I take whatever baby steps I can. My Aikido Dojo and YMCA are closed. I still grind it out. I create my “spaces of fun”. In the morning I wake up and do my stretches that my chiropractor Dr. Ali taught me. I do sets of push-ups and sit-ups. On Sundays, I’ll practice with my bokken, wooden sword, for half an hour. Besides, I need the training. And Sensei Bobby would want me to train, albeit safely. After all, Sensei taught both Bobby and me.
I meditate for 5 to 10 minutes. After 6 years, I’m still working on my meditation. The breathing and centering lessen the noise in my mind. I never attain mushin, “the empty mind.” Yet, it’s good enough. I attain my measure of peace. Then it’s breakfast of oat cereal, blueberries, and soy milk. Next: Teleworking with two laptops on the weekdays.
With no gym or Dojo, I walk for a mile in my favorite park in Torrance in the afternoons. The sunshine, fresh air, and exercise keep my immune system healthy, as Dr. Ali reminds. Walking also aligns my back and knees. Anyway, it’s fun.
As for creating my spaces of fun: I write when I can. I’m a big Star Trek fan. Recently, I subscribed to CBS Steaming because I’ve become a fan of the streaming series “Picard” starring Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard and Jeri Ryan as Warrior 7. My friends Ron and John, from Tokyo, are big fans of the series, too. We’ve had very cool fun email exchanges about “Picard” over the last several weeks. More to come with the Season 1 Finale dropping soon. I wonder what happens with Data? Just asking.
Yes, I’m a movie guy. my dear friend Cheryl is a movie gal. I send her via email my “quarantine” movie recommendations like my Favorite of All-Time (FOAT) Romantic Comedy: “The Sure Thing” directed by Rob Reiner, starring John Cusack and Daphne Zuniga. After all, Cheryl loved “Love, Simon” and “Booksmart” which I did, too. She even loves “13 Going on 30,” which is so awesome. Talking movies with Cheryl is just plain fun. Just saying.
Perhaps, in our “interesting” times, in these particularly unprecedented times, create your measure of peace, and invent your spaces of fun. Sure, we all have to grind this out and endure this for however long. Still, we can discover the lightness in darkness in this Yin and Yang world. Again, as my Mom would say, “You take care of yourself.” Mad love and respect.
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