Japanese for FORWARD, Zenshin, is the direction we should be going individually and together, even as we’re apart. Zen offers the sense of calm, like a gentle spring falling onto smooth rocks. Clearing our minds briefly every day–focusing on nature whether it is in front of us or not–will help ease the anxiety that comes naturally with thoughts of Corona virus.
Americans have been busy focusing on family, which is great. I love mine, too. Yet in order to thrive long term under these conditions, it’s going to be important to take precautions for ourselves and look out for each other and our neighbors—let people know what we have extra to contribute. A neighbor of mine, whose son had grown into his big boy training pants, shared multiple boxes of baby wipes with a total stranger she’d found online. These little gifts can be left at the door or passed through a car window (and the outside box wiped down before opening) If saved for 24 hours before opening, the cardboard is no longer contagious.
We can also do this by putting only what we need into our shopping carts or delivery requests, so there will be food and essentials for others. Of course if we need to make a grocery visit, we should time it when there are fewer people in the store–maybe first or last thing of the day—check the parking lot so you can have ample personal space. It’s tempting to stock up, but seriously who needs 48 rolls of toilet paper? Unless you have five or more people in your family, it’s unlikely.
Today we have an important tool unavailable to those in earlier crises or certainly the 16th century Europeans who faced the Plague–technology—apps, cellphones, iPads, and laptops to keep us connected, share ideas, and help find people who could use what we don’t need or the skills we have. Then get creative as to how we can share safely. We can figure this out and come out on the other side stronger people.
And, we need to take a break periodically–be slightly silly for those who enjoy another era’s Old Movie Stars Dancing to Uptown Funk on Youtube.be. It encourages us all to get up and dance—work off nervous energy or find some music that appeals to our own taste and get down to it. Music just soothes the soul, let’s see who said that?
It’s vital that we practice safe distancing with gatherings of 10 people or less, wash our hands and items we receive, keep our mitts off our faces, and stay 6 feet apart when we meet. We can do that for our stake and the sake of others. Each day we should plan to contact a friend or associate by phone or email each day, so we prevent ourselves from becoming isolated.
Americans are friendly people, some might even say handsy, huggee folks who use handshakes to seal the deal, but we can do and be all that without threatening our own health, our loved ones, colleagues or friends. Elbows may come in handy! Zenshin: It’s not a huge ask, really, but to protect people of all ages, please just do it! If you have other ideas what we can do to help our communities while staying safely distant, please put them here and I’ll pass them along. We need to put our minds together and get busy!