Hope where we had ceased to hope.
Hope amidst what threatens hope.
Hope with those who feed our hope.
Hope beyond what we had hoped.
- Jan Richardson, Circle of Grace
Today is a particularly difficult morning. I’ve just received the news that one of my beloved high school mentors, a teacher everyone adored, a towering presence in his community, has died of COVID-19. In addition, the amazing singer/songwriter John Prine lost his battle with the virus. In my musical circles we all feel like we knew him personally.
I have one friend in hospital, one headed to rehab, and three others who are toughing out the virus at home. It’s cloudy and threatening rain, which helps my mood not one bit. I have a headache thanks to the barometric change.
In short, I’m sad, I feel awful, I want this to be over, I want all my friends and loved ones to stay healthy and/or make it through this thing. Digging deeper, I want to make it through this pandemic. As an asthmatic, I fear catching the virus and not making it through to the other side. There are simply no guarantees for any of us.
I have hope that the world post-COVID-19 will not be the world we were in pre-COVID-19.
I have hope that we’ll recognize the value of slowing down, that we’ll want to continue to spend more time with our loved ones, that we’ll appreciate the clean air the earth has provided for us when we don’t pollute it. I have hope that we’ll be more welcoming to one another, that we can move forward out of nationalism using this different kind of “war” we’re experiencing to bring us all together.
I wanted to write this blog series as a positive way of expressing hope in a dark time. I want to reach out and “hope with those who feed our hope.” I want to be one of those people for anyone reading this. I can’t be in integrity with myself as a writer or a human, however, if I don’t share with you that bad days happen to me. I hope my honesty helps you to understand me a bit better.
The phrase “do less” comes from my dear friend and superb Alexander teacher Anne Waxman. The idea for the exercise comes from my teacher Bruce Fertman.
On days where it seems like everything is an effort, it’s a good time to remind ourselves to “do less.”
Today I invite you to take a careful look at each of the common activities you do around the house. Things like brushing your teeth, or chopping vegetables, or writing - anything you do where you are holding a tool in your hand.
How much effort does is really take to hold that tool? Are you gripping your toothbrush for dear life? Can you “do less” and still get the job done without dropping the tool?
Play with this idea each time you pick up a tool today. Make it easier on your hands and yourself. See what that’s like.
Let me know what you find out!