The best practice in my life, and the hardest, is mindfulness. These days it more effort than usual, but I am trying to be aware of a lot inside and out. My emotions, my needs, my wants, my heath, my “battery levels,” as well as all those for my kids, husband, friends, and family. Beyond that, the world: what’s happening, how can I help, how much do I need to know. Hovering above myself monitoring it all, making sure the balance is good…well, more on that in another post. But it’s a lot, all this watching and looking and seeing.
I close my eyes a lot to close out, momentarily, all the piles of Things to Do (work! parent! clean! breathe! lather! rinse! repeat!) that bellow and hiss and beckon. My pajamas, a book, and my bed flirt mercilessly with me, and I beg them to let me go about my day, that I’ll flirt back once the day is done. We wink occasionally to each other midday. Such teases.
This morning, there were five or six deer. Juvenile, probably male. They were playing, dappled in the warm light of morning. Romping or doing some sort of, well, reindeer game. Always there was an odd man out, being teased but not chased out. Never the same man was odd. I watched them for ten minutes at least, afraid to move or make noise lest they get startled and take their fun elsewhere.
For three weeks now, at 4PM, we sit as a family and learn about each other. Each of us has been assigned a weekday (I have Tuesdays.) On that day, the assigned person is responsible for sharing a video (or other media) about their passion, interests, or delights. Rules are basic: the whole thing should take no more than 20 minutes, you must watch, and you may not yuck someone’s yum. We’ve seen videos about Iceland, Westward Expansion, outer space, Hoover Dam construction, the history of border disputes between New York and New Jersey, how bots “learn,” Hamilton, a cappella music, tumbleweeds as invasive species, how pianos are made, this guy, and the foundations of flag design. It’s the best part of sheltering in place.
If you need ideas for videos to look at that don’t involve my family’s peculiar interests, or you’d like other activities, the amazing Melisa Wells compiled and regularly updates a list of things to do while at home called Creative Ways to Connect and Learn While Social Distancing. “Comprehensive” doesn’t begin to cover it. This list has something for everyone. And while you’re over there, definitely subscribe to Melisa’s website. She is just how she seems online: energetic, smart, fun, and creative.
My McSweeney’s piece meant a lot of messages from people all over the world (including one marriage proposal which, out of deference to my husband, I politely declined) as well as a shout out in Smithsonian Magazine (I was, needless to say, verklempt). I savored the connections, especially hearing that I made people laugh, which is, really, the greatest feeling in the world for me. One connection led to treasure this holiday.
The creator of Passover For the Soul cards and I connected on social media, and she sent me a packet of the cards. Each one is beautifully illustrated with a component of the seder, an explanation, and — my favorite part — a meditation to consider as you go through the evening. These were lovely additions to our holiday — accessible enough for my kids, thoughtful and deep enough for me and my husband. We’ll be using this yearly. I hope you will go over and check out the page. I don’t receive any referral fees (or anything at all) if you buy them.
Tomorrow it starts up again. My hope upon opening my eyes every morning these days is to find something good to rest them on.