All the Feelings
I think many of us have been experiencing this weird relationship with time. In one respect, the days, weeks, and months are flying by. In another, it seems like I have been "sheltering in place" for much longer than six weeks. My days have begun to follow a routine that conforms more closely with my natural bio-rhythms. Although, I am not up nearly as early as was my custom during much of my lifetime. In general, I work on various tasks during the morning, take a long break in the afternoon to nap, read, play word games, etc., and then, after dinner, I have another short creative period, before heading to bed at my usual early hour.
Within the comfort of this routine, I am still finding an overarching dissonance that invades every waking moment. I am restless. I can't seem to focus on anything that doesn't provide that hit of endorphins I get from being fully engaged and utterly buried in the creative process. This, in itself, is not highly unusual. Even during "normal" times, I tend toward attention deficit. Nevertheless, this feels different, and, for whatever reason, this past week has been particularly hard.
In thinking about it, I believe it comes from the absence of two things: 1) a "captive" audience, that provides immediate and direct feedback throughout the day, and 2) the ability to plan for the future.
Yet, this feeling seems to be coming from something even larger than those missing pieces. There is also a sense of personal failure attached. The "stuff" I am producing doesn't seem to be hitting its mark. No one is responding to my queries.
Maybe, I am not asking the right questions. Or, it could be, folks are focused on getting through one hour at a time and are not able to think beyond the next day, never-mind the next week. Nonetheless, I feel like I am an echo chamber filled with endless ideas, bouncing around inside my head with no useful or feasible outlet.
And, with this thought, I circle right back to the fact that I can not make concrete plans. Will DRC be able to have a summer program, as we originally planned? Will we be able to return to business as usual in September? And, if this is going to be an ongoing situation, what can the Deep Root Center facility be used for if we can not serve our community in the way it was designed? These questions are never far below the surface, which likely contributes to my restlessness and feelings of inadequacy.
In the end, I have to remind myself to trust that this, too, shall pass. The Universe in all her wisdom is taking care of all of us. As frustrating and unproductive as it feels, we simply have to sit back and let her work her magic. She will, ultimately, reveal everything, in her own time, on a need to know basis.
In the meantime, while you, too, are waiting to be enlightened, be gentle with yourself, and be well!
As you can see from the above graphic and the below VLOG post, we sincerely want to know how Deep Root Center can help you and your family, during this crisis, but also in the future. Please let us know - in comments here or in an email.
In other news, I am in the process of re-reading and categorizing all of these blog posts. I am finished with one year - only five and a half to go. Keep in mind this is only the sorting part - I still have to decide which posts to include in a compilation, and then edit them. Yikes!
Reading the Tea Leaves
Sorry to relay this bit of bad news, but none of us knows what our future holds - we can make predictions, set objectives or intentions, and make plans. However, as much as we wish them to be true – there are no guarantees.
I have no idea what post-COVID-19 looks like for myself, Deep Root Center, my village, or my country. I can sit here and dream up all the possibilities, and trust me, as someone who spends copious amounts of time brainstorming new projects (yes, I am an admitted schemer), I do it with the full understanding that I have no idea whether any of those plans will pan out. Nevertheless, that alone will not stop me from making more sh*t up - because, without hope, goals, and ambition, my life would be desolate.
The only thing any of us can be sure of is that we are doing our best – to be kind, to pay it forward, to create something worthwhile, and to support others in their attempts to do the same. The tea leaves may lie, but integrity will never disappoint.
With all the above being said --- Deep Root Center is rolling out, My Virtual Learning Buddy, this week. It is being incorporated into the Exploration Station Suite of Services being offered to children who normally attend public school.
The inspiration behind this new program, is, of course, the NYS Pause Order, in response to COVID-19, which has been extended through May 15th and has kept the Public Schools closed for over a month, already. This has effectively forced families to provide school at home. In response, we have designed this virtual service to help children navigate all of their feelings and this new world of learning opportunities, which is now completely wide open to them. The following graphics explain the details. You can register your child online, here. You can also contact us anytime to ask questions.
A special post script: Happy 26th Birthday to my son, Ian. Have a fantastic day, kid!
What Have We Learned?
I ask this question of our society, as a whole, and each of us, individually. In all seriousness, what have you learned about yourself during this time of isolation? And, on a larger scale, what have you confirmed or discovered about our culture?
As I mentioned last week, I have verified (not that I or, anyone else, needed more evidence) that I am an introvert who enjoys solitude. On the flip side of that, I have also learned that I will never again take a hug for granted. Nor will I discount the importance of connecting deeply with someone about the things they are most passionate about, or, even, the basics we don't often think about, like reading the visual clues that mannerisms provide.
Unhappily, through all of this, I have been able to validate my previous assumption that greed contributes hugely to creating this grossly dysfunctional society, where we reside. You all understand the many issues. I don't need to enumerate them here.
In the past month, in two separate posts (here & here), I mentioned that I consider these extraordinary times to be a cultural reset. I now understand, based on evidence over the past few weeks, this to be a legitimate hunch.
All of us have discovered those things that are vital - the stuff that we cannot live without, as well as the bits and pieces that are cream. We have learned important things such as - love and kindness should be the foundation for every single thing. We can support everyone who needs care. Not to forget, those previously deemed unworthy of a living wage, are now considered essential to our very survival.
I fear, however, that once this is all over, we will go back to our busy lives and forget these lessons. The fundamental human condition, and our long history of greed, do not bode well for our success. I am invoking all the Universal Energies to prove that I am wrong. Please, Please, Please - (I DARE YOU TO) PROVE ME WRONG!
*Note: This post was partially inspired by this article, which was shared by several people on social media, yesterday. It is an important read. Please consider taking the time to fully digest it.
A Confession ...
If this wasn’t a devastating worldwide pandemic, accompanied by the overhanging knowledge that we cannot make plans, because none of us knows how long this is going to last, I am perfectly happy to be sheltering at home. Unlike many, I have no desire to get out. This is not hard in the least. My nest is extremely cozy, and it offers all I need.
Yes, of course, I miss my DRC Peeps – along with all the projects and activities that fill our days at the Center. And, yes, I am sad that I am not able to meet with families to help them navigate the complexities of opting out of school. However, to be completely honest, as much as I love my role as the Executive Director of Deep Root Center (I wouldn’t want to do anything else), as an introvert, I find the job utterly exhausting – mentally and emotionally. During normal times, I feel like I never get enough downtime – space to pause and get completely lost in my thoughts.
I understand that I am fairly unique in my desire to be alone. My mother, indirectly, reminded me of this during a video-chat and texting session this past week. Mom is a widow. My dad died seven years ago. She had, up until a few months ago, refused to enter the technological age. I think it would be fair to say she came into it kicking and screaming. But, once she made up her mind, she acted fairly quickly. She took a computer class, bought a tablet, and had internet installed in her house. It took a while, (with my three siblings, and the Spectrum guys, working on it) to get it all set up. This past week, I talked (texted) her through downloading the Google Duo App on her tablet so she could do video chats with my siblings and me, as well as her grandchildren. She is thrilled to have that visual connection to her family.
After our initial conversation, I sent her an email with the link to my latest Vlog post about allowing kids to be bored. She responded, in a text, that I should do one about loneliness because it is similar to boredom. It is something that she has experienced, off and on, since my dad died, but it is especially prevalent, now that she is home-bound. She has talked about the effects of it with other folks who have lost a spouse and are living alone.
I find it disconcerting to offer suggestions for those who are feeling lonely, mainly because I don’t personally experience it, but here goes. I think the main part of this may be that most people are not comfortable with themselves, or their thought processes. They may have crowded every moment of their lives with busy-ness, so they wouldn’t have to dig deeper to learn more about themselves. Maybe, they have filled their emotional cup by serving others, and not taking care of themselves. There are so many variables to the equation, and I am not here to judge any of them.
No, I am not suggesting it is only, mind over matter. However, changing your mindset could be helpful. By switching up your narrative - the story you tell yourself - you may be able to experience something besides loneliness. Maybe, you could feel - useful, creative, or even joyful. The concept is similar to some of the memes that have been circulating social media since this pandemic started. "Instead of thinking: I am stuck at home – think: I am safe at home, and I am keeping the ones I love safe."
In these times, when technology is readily available, (like I tell my DRC kids) you can experience anything you, previously, may have only imagined or dreamed about. The world is, literally, wide-open to you, despite being confined to your home. Go! Explore something that captures your interest, take a class, learn a new skill, imagine, create, invent, and then share. Anything can be possible if you believe it to be so.
And, in the process, give yourself permission to mess up, allow yourself grace, and most importantly love yourself through all the ups and downs.
Stay safe and be well!
I am still thinking about compiling a book from the last six years of my weekly posts. I need help though. If you have been a regular reader of this blog, please consider sending me two things: 1) ideas for categories, and 2) specific posts that have stuck with you, and that you think would be important to include. Thank you!
I am also in the process of self-publishing my second children’s book as an e-book. I have it all formatted and one third edited. Stay tuned!
And, here are the links to, Cooking and Let Them Be Bored, the two, Yes, It Counts, Vlog posts from this past week. Enjoy!
Stewart’s Holiday Match Grant
Thank you to Stewart's Shops for supporting the DRC Cooking Class with a $250 grant! We will use the money to purchase food from the Food Bank of Central NY, as well as local grocery stores.
The Resources Page has been updated and organized. Check it out.
What are you and your family up to during these strange times? Are you working on cool projects, have you been tracking the progress of Spring in your backyard, or is life fairly normal? Send documentation. I will post them on the Front Page of the website and here each week.
Don't miss a post!
Sign-up here to get the DRC Blog delivered to your inbox.