Beauty & Hope

I have been distracted, as we all have been lately, and my writing has fallen by the wayside as I deal with present circumstances. (I've been to the grocery store three times so far.) Also, my son Henry is studying abroad in the UK and we've been in contact via FaceTime. We are discussing all the options of whether he should stay or go, and it seems things change by the day, or even by the moment. We are taking it day by day, moment by moment. I woke up this morning feeling nervous and tense... but then focused on gratitude. 

I am grateful for FaceTime, so I can talk to Henry (and my other kids), and see him/them. I watched him making an egg-veggie scramble this morning as we spoke. I am grateful for email, and the humorous texts with extended family and friends... When I forwarded my kids and stepkids an email about key items to stock for a quarantine, my stepson, Leland, replied with this: "I have 5,000 rolls of TP. I am all set." I burst out laughing and it felt so good and released so much stress! Isn't it amazing we can stay connected despite the call for social (physical) distancing? 

And the Italians are singing from their balconies! This New York Times headlines made my heart sing. Humanity can be so outrageous... both in awful and beautiful ways. I also read that Isaac Newton was sent home from Cambridge when the Bubonic Plague broke out. He went home and came up with his theory of gravity. Or something like that. The point is, what can we do with this times that is positive? 

Can we focus on the beauty? Can we send energy in that direction? Can we find gratitude in our hearts, and sit with that, and send heartfelt prayers to all those who do not have all we have, to all those who are suffering? And if you are someone who is suffering, know that we are praying for you, and sending our collective love in your direction, and doing what we can to help, whether it means staying at home so we don't get others sick or volunteering to deliver groceries, or some other form of assistance.  

My church sent out this poem, written by a Unitarian from San Francisco (I am sorry they did not say the author's name): 

Pandemic 
  
What if you thought of it  
as the Jews consider the Sabbath—  
the most sacred of times?  
Cease from travel.  
Cease from buying and selling.  
Give up, just for now,  
on trying to make the world  
different than it is.  
Sing. Pray. Touch only those  
to whom you commit your life.  
Center down.  
And when your body has become still,  
reach out with your heart.  
Know that we are connected  
in ways that are terrifying and beautiful.  
(You could hardly deny it now.)  
Know that our lives  
are in one another’s hands.  
(Surely, that has come clear.)  
Do not reach out your hands.  
Reach out your heart.  
Reach out your words.  
Reach out all the tendrils  
of compassion that move, invisibly,  
where we cannot touch.  
Promise this world your love--  
for better or for worse,  
in sickness and in health,  
so long as we all shall live. 

- UU congregant 

I also watched the movie "Jojo Rabbit" a couple nights ago. I highly recommend it if you'd like some perspective (and humor) while sitting at home adhering to the social distancing directives... 

Let everything happen to you 
Beauty and terror 
Just keep going 
No feeling is final. 

- Rainer Maria Rilke 

Sending peace, joy, and good wishes. 

 xo - ashley 

p.s. Some of you have had trouble knowing how to post a comment. Just scroll all the way to the bottom of this blog post and you will see the place to post comments. If you want to see more of my blogs, at the top of this blog click on "back to all posts." Thank you!

3 comments

  • Patty
    Patty Neighbor
    Ashley- You spoke my mind and my heart. We will look back at this time and either point fingers of blame, or raise our hands in praise to those who chose to act decisively and with purpose. Kudos.

    Ashley-
    You spoke my mind and my heart. We will look back at this time and either point fingers of blame, or raise our hands in praise to those who chose to act decisively and with purpose. Kudos.

  • Sharon
    Sharon Portland
    These are difficult times indeed. I just laid off most of my 18 employees yesterday. It doesn’t feel good on any level. Unfortunately, this means that I have no income because the kennel has all but shuttered its doors. When people are not allowed to go about their daily lives it has massive consequences. I think we need To take drastic measures. I’m not sure what those are anymore. I used to believe if we stayed home for three weeks it would allow those that were infected to become symptomatic and therefore they could be tested and we could get a handle on the infection progression. Now it appears that one can be asymptomatic and still carry the virus past the incubation period. It can be very lonely if you are the only one in the household and also very frightening. When will it end, can I make it to the end or will I lose everything. At my age impossible to start over. These are thoughts that continually cross my mind. I try to stay upbeat take my dog out for a walk. He has so much joy on his face that it does put a smile to mine. I am very thankful for my four-legged buddy.

    These are difficult times indeed. I just laid off most of my 18 employees yesterday. It doesn’t feel good on any level. Unfortunately, this means that I have no income because the kennel has all but shuttered its doors. When people are not allowed to go about their daily lives it has massive consequences. I think we need To take drastic measures. I’m not sure what those are anymore. I used to believe if we stayed home for three weeks it would allow those that were infected to become symptomatic and therefore they could be tested and we could get a handle on the infection progression. Now it appears that one can be asymptomatic and still carry the virus past the incubation period. It can be very lonely if you are the only one in the household and also very frightening. When will it end, can I make it to the end or will I lose everything. At my age impossible to start over. These are thoughts that continually cross my mind. I try to stay upbeat take my dog out for a walk. He has so much joy on his face that it does put a smile to mine. I am very thankful for my four-legged buddy.

  • Ashley Kaiser
    Ashley Kaiser
    I am very sorry to hear about your business lay offs Sharon. I hope that ends up only needing to be temporary. i do believe this too shall pass... and hopefully sooner than later. Today in the news we are hearing about new, better tests, market rebounds, and we're being given some sense of a timeline. People will need dog care again, and yours is the best out there! Companionship is so important, whether with a human partner, treasured pet, or even through virtual means of connection. I have been FaceTiming with my son, texting with friends, and participating on live webinars. I encourage all of us to find ways to stay connected. Also, I have been taking this time to read and watch great movies. Losing oneself in story (hopefully inspirational, positive story, not horror films about pandemics!) can be another way to self-nurture. Lastly, this can be a generative time for all of us on a personal and professional level. I am taking this time to think hard about my business and how I want to move forward, and how I might sharpen my focus. Yes I am also very worried. It is going to be a question of where I choose to funnel my energies. Peace to you all.

    I am very sorry to hear about your business lay offs Sharon. I hope that ends up only needing to be temporary. i do believe this too shall pass... and hopefully sooner than later. Today in the news we are hearing about new, better tests, market rebounds, and we're being given some sense of a timeline. People will need dog care again, and yours is the best out there! Companionship is so important, whether with a human partner, treasured pet, or even through virtual means of connection. I have been FaceTiming with my son, texting with friends, and participating on live webinars. I encourage all of us to find ways to stay connected. Also, I have been taking this time to read and watch great movies. Losing oneself in story (hopefully inspirational, positive story, not horror films about pandemics!) can be another way to self-nurture. Lastly, this can be a generative time for all of us on a personal and professional level. I am taking this time to think hard about my business and how I want to move forward, and how I might sharpen my focus. Yes I am also very worried. It is going to be a question of where I choose to funnel my energies. Peace to you all.

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