A Letter to Myself

Dear Gail,

It has been almost 10 months since Covid 19 hit the news in a life-impacting way. At first, it seemed to be China and Italy’s plague. Then it hit home in neighboring New York and became real for you.

Your daily life changed in ways you never would have imagined. Your own horrific experience with another virus, the West Nile virus, came back to haunt you, raising your anxiety level enough to cause you to seek meditation, medication and therapy. Yes, 2020 has now become infamous for all the damage it contained: loss of life, loss of financial and food security, change in daily habits and isolation. Oh yes, the isolation!

But, dear one, there are things that it is important for you to remember. There were activities and people that entered your life that you may not have foreseen, either. Your son and his wife sold their home in three days. Three days! And you were there to help when they needed it most. Your son kept his job, able to work from home-not an easy task for a salesman who spent hours commuting for work. Blessings in disguise.

Then, dear one, how fortuitous that the course you took at Wisdom House with nine other women, became the catalyst for the creation of two new friendships. These kindred spirits have buoyed you with the three-way exchange of daily gratitude lists.  You three even allowed for a few gripes to get sandwiched in, just as a reminder of your common humanity. How quickly you began to look forward to those daily text messages focused in gratitude and compassion. Two more blessings.

Dear one, remember how you lessened your anxiety by connecting with your long held love of nature. You enjoyed daily walks, at a lesser known state park only ten minutes from home. Plants, trees, meadows and blue, cloud studded, skies met you day after day, lifting your spirit and easing the chatter in your mind.

Technology, not always your friend, made it possible to see and speak with friends and family. Though not in person, at least face to face! Zoom, once only the sound of cars in a NASCAR race, became the go-to source for connection to human faces and voices.  Your spiritual circle meets monthly and celebrated the Winter Solstice via Zoom. Your writing group met for six weeks via Zoom. Zoom, Zoom, Zoom. Moving you forward in a time of being physically stuck.

And don’t forget, dear one, that all this alone time has allowed you to reconnect in a stronger way with your spiritual practice. Long walks were perfect for praying, for introspection and sorting out life goals and a newly configured sense of purpose. Losing both prison and library volunteering had, at first, set you adrift in a sea of disconnect. Iyanla Vanzant helped to ground you again with her 7 Day Spiritual Feast meditations. Oh,  how you listened to them, like a hungry child, as you walked. Consuming the whole seven days of meditations-in one day. Every day.  For all of April. It anchored you and made you feel less fractured. “All that peace is, I am…Peace is who I am.” Those words still resonate for you, don’t they? Know you can go back to them as often as you need to. What a blessing these meditations were and still are!

So, now we are ten months in and the real end is not in sight. Vaccines are here and will push that end line closer. In the mean time, dear soul, remember what has worked, what has blessed your life and cling to the positives of this experience.

Hold gratitude in your heart, knowing you are among the fortunate ones. No family member has gotten seriously ill or died. You and your wife have spent meaningful time together, whether it was walking at Topsmead, binge watching Vera (a BBC detective series) or working on mind-blowingly hard jigsaw puzzles. You completed three very large yard projects. You didn’t know you could build stairs and a retaining wall until you did both! Conversations seem deeper, don’t they? More to the heart of things. You have found strategies that work to ease the overwhelm when it raises its ugly head. Know that you can continue to use them, that a walk in the woods, a drive out into the countryside, or picking up pen and paper can settle your spirit into a safe space. You can talk to Barb, or your son, or friends and feel ties that hold you in a secure embrace, while lifting you up. All this has blessed your life over the past ten months. Keep counting your blessings and carry on.

In unity and grace,

Gail

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