You do not have to become totally zen,
You do not have to use this isolation to make your marriage better,
your body slimmer, your children more creative.
You do not have to “maximize its benefits”
By using this time to work even more,
write the bestselling Corona Diaries,
Or preach the gospel of ZOOM.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body unlearn
everything capitalism has taught you,

– from the poem MARY OLIVER for CORONA TIMES (Thoughts After the Poem “Wild Geese”), an updated variation on a favorite Mary Oliver poem shared on Facebook by Adrie Suzanne Kusserow. Professor Kusserow is a Vermont poet and Professor of Cultural Anthropology at Saint Michael’s College in Colchester. (Thank you Ellen for sharing this poem with our dance class!)

I have a confession to make. I am one of those crazy people who thought the pandemic was going to give me time to write. It’s been a month and I now see my folly.

In fact, ordinary life seems to be requiring a lot more energy than usual.

I go to the grocery store and I come back exhausted. Maintaining social distancing takes a certain alertness. There’s just a lot of fear and anxiety in the air and it’s hard not to get thrown off by it.

Sometimes I come home and think, why am I so tired from this ordinary thing? What is going on? What is going on with this virus? How are the most vulnerable doing? What are our leaders doing?

It’s so hard to know what’s really going on right now. This is why there are so many conspiracy theories right now. We don’t know exactly what it is but we all know that something really big and very profound is happening.

I do know this is a moment of opportunity. 

Not an opportunity to be productive.

I did fantasize that during this time I’d do a lot of writing and that has so not happened. The other intention that I set for myself was to be happy and at ease. This is the same goal I set myself back when I was in cancer land. It’s still a great goal, because no matter what, I can cultivate happiness.

The only way I know to change my outlook in life is through putting in time with my spiritual practices. My meditation practice is how I train myself to not get tangled in my emotions and ego and instead align with the universe.

In the past month my meditation practice has been deepening so much! My heart  feels more open. I see the people in my classes going deeper too. I find it amazing that this peace and deepening is happening at the same time that I feel a bit frazzled by the whole pandemic.

It’s similar to watching my daughter’s education change. With distance learning she is moving through a simplified curriculum at a slower pace. But I’m not worried about her falling behind at all. Instead I think she has taken huge leaps forward in the past month. Sometimes the strain of learning all these new things on the screen makes her crazy. To those people in the park hearing her blow off steam while scream-singing the national anthem – I’m sorry.

The new rhythm of her days has also given her way more time to just play in our backyard and invent things. She’s constructing elaborate zip lines and amusement parks for her dolls. She is touching a deep creative place that feels like pure learning and better than any school.

I invite you to ponder the possibility of this paradox with me: that while everything feels extra slow and difficult and unproductive maybe you are also deepening and growing by leaps and bounds.

May we all be transformed for the benefit of all of life and future generations,

emily

Returning to Calm in Our Bodies

The Healing Waters Qigong practice group, based in Spring Forest Qigong movements and meditations, continues to meet every week on Zoom. It’s great to see everyone’s face! Newcomers are always welcome. This class is donation based and especially during this time know no one is turned away for lack of funds.

Restoring the Dance of Life

The Wisdom Dances Circle continues to meet each week. Based on Laura Shannon’s research on women’s traditional ritual dances as tools for healing, we are dancing for our personal and collective transforation with passion! Our plans are subject to change each week. If you are interested in joining us please drop me an email.

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