Love in the time of corona. 

And just like that …it was gone.

The invisible enemy that took all we held dear and left mass destruction in its wake. 

It took a toll.

It took our loved ones. 

It took our energy. 

It took our last collective nerve.

It took our bravest people.

It ground us down to our very core, reshaping us into something new. Something different. Something…stronger.

It tore our systems apart.

Our ways of life.

Our healthcare system.

Our education system. 

Our work structures.

Our finances.

We stopped work. 

We stopped school. 

We stopped consuming. 

We reached out to neighbors. 

We looked to the helpers. 

We became the helpers. 

It changed us. 

We were resourceful.  

We were creative. 

We cooked more. 

We drew. 

We sewed. 

We played again.  

We laughed through pain. 

We rediscovered joy. 

Remembered what’s real.

We were heroic.

We saw our families with fresh eyes. Interacted deeper and more honestly.

And the skies rested. 

And the planet breathed. 

Animals returned.

The factories were still. 

The churning churning burning just…stopped. 

Everything reset. 

We looked at nature as a gift.

We asked, do I need all this stuff? Does it bring me joy? 

We rethought our systems. 

Made them better. 

More just. 

For a moment in time, the entire world paused. 

And it was terrible. 

We suffered. 

We reeled. 

And yet. 

We came together.

Remembered our humanity. 

Met our neighbors. 

Asked for help. 

Were resourceful. 

Were resilient. 

It killed us. But It also rebuilt us.

In the face of death, we remembered how to live.

A Few Ways to Instantly Raise Your Vibe

Feeling down?  Here are some ways to instantly raise your vibe.  If it’s more than just a blah moment, you may just have to feel it to heal it.  Give yourself time, and then when you’re ready, try one of these instant mood boosters.  Or do something that lights YOU up, whatever that may be.

Silent meditation is a b&tch

I’m working with this wonderful coach, which someday I’ll write more about. For now I’ll just say she’s helping me get out of my comfort zone and push through boundaries —like posting every day, showing more of myself, etc.

Part of my ‘homework’ is daily silent meditation. She says it’s non-negotiable. I’m no stranger to meditation—I’ve done it on and off for 15 years, but usually with a mantra, a guided meditation, or at least a group. I’m finding that silent meditation is a b&tch though. I start the usual way: get comfortable, take deep breaths, try to quiet my mind, and… a million thoughts come in. I make lists, suddenly remember things I forgot to do, the typical monkey mind. Sometimes (often) I even forget I’m supposed to be meditating and I get up and do other things! I just completely forget I even started a meditation.

I almost went on a five-day silent retreat once. If I can’t handle a ten-minute silent meditation, can you imagine how that would have gone? In one of the pictures of the event from the prior year, they showed people sitting immersed in these gorgeous alpine settings and looking blissed out—except for one guy who was looking down, hands on his head looking like he was about to lose it. That probably would’ve been me after about three days.

I really want to conquer this.

I never have this problem with guided meditations. What am I doing wrong? Do you meditate silently? Have any tips for me? Someone please help!!!

Raise your vibe

This is one small excerpt of a chapter I wrote in what may become a book. Don’t laugh, as Joyce Carol Oates says, we ALL have at least one good story in us.

‘The great irony of spiritual principles is that for healing, you need to do the complete opposite of what human nature would have us do. You have to let go of the worry, the anxiety, the constant living in the future, or the past. And you have to release the need for control. That’s not easy to do, especially for us Type A people. I’m not even close to a Type A person but I become one in certain situations when I’m trying desperately to control the outcome. Universal law wants us to meditate on what we want and how we want to FEEL when we get it, then walk around with the knowing that we already have it. That’s not easy because it’s not logical to humans. But it actually works.’

Love is Blind

Laura waiting for her beloved ship

My husband recently befriended a blind lady named Laura*. Almost daily, with the exception of the first two months of the year, Laura walks along a pathway set above a little canal near our apartment (and hers) using only her white cane and an incredible sense of direction. She’s about 48 with a lovely disposition and short brown hair.  It was near this waterway where they met one day when she was walking so fast that Alex worried she might take a tumble down the concrete stairs leading to the path. He needn’t have worried—she knew exactly where she was going, as he would soon learn. It turns out she’d been commandeering this walkway for years, and had already sussed out her landmarks and orientation points and was in total control. 

After he pointed out that there was water below the path and she should be careful, she politely told him (in not so many words) ‘Look buddy, I appreciate your concern, but I got this.’ They started chatting anyway, and began running into each other more and more. After awhile they formed a bond. I like to walk there too, so I also got to know this gem of a woman.  

We quickly learned that Laura didn’t go there just to make small talk with strangers or get her daily exercise, although those are both somewhat true. Her main goal is to sit by the water’s edge and listen to two different passenger vessels that pass by several times a day. She knows their schedules, down to the minute, and makes sure to be by the water’s edge for at least 15 minutes before they arrive. The passing of each ship is an event that takes probably all of 4 minutes if I’m being generous, but she arrives early in order to enjoy it to the fullest. She says it’s like a meditation, perhaps even a religious experience. She can hear them before they turn the corner and feels drawn to their sound. The ships’ captains know Laura, and blow their horn when they pass ‘her’ spot by the canal. Her mother sometimes accompanies her on these strolls and always brings Laura on one of the maiden voyages at the beginning of each season. Waiting for the ships is a ritual that has become more than just an important part of her life—it’s truly her primary joy, the highlight of each day.

Alex often gets into deep discussions with Laura about life: politics, art, anything really. She loves sci-fi movies and ‘intelligent’ documentaries, and has a wicked little sense of humor. She is nothing if not practical, because she has to be. Alex has a remarkable way with people, and can ask tough questions without appearing rude or like he’s interfering.  It’s truly a gift of his.  (I do not have that gift.)  Fairly early on he asked her what it was like to know that others could see but she couldn’t. She explained that it’s a lonely life, but that she’s resigned to it and mostly content.  She always leaves us humbled and wondering why we would ever complain about anything. 

Once we were chatting with her and I mentioned something about my spiritual stuff. I can’t remember what it was; probably Reiki or something. Alex said, ‘Oh, Marian, did you know? My wife is a bit of a witch. (His mother tongue is German and he calls me a Hexe). So I told her a little about my beliefs and mentioned something about us ‘all being one, connected by universal laws.’ We had never discussed anything like this before, and suddenly she went silent. There was a pregnant pause, and something in her face changed.  I was a bit anxious and impulsively wanted to fill the silence (I AM American after all!) but something told me to wait. I thought, ‘Uh oh, I just freaked Laura out. I know that look. Next time we see her, she’ll be all, ‘Oh I have to hurry!  No time to chat!’ But then with a curious face, she said in her clipped Viennese accent, ‘I am interested in a lot of things, including what you just mentioned, but I am absolutely NOT spiritual. Not at all.’ But then she proceeded to deliver the following in virtually flawless English: ‘Although…I do feel deeply connected to certain things. I love my two ships. I feel so connected to them; it’s as if they’re a part of me… I feel, hear and know in my depths the difference between them, as if they were my own children. Some people love humans, some are connected to animals, I have my ships.’

And as the daylight began to fade and we all got up to leave, Laura added, ‘We are all made of stardust, every single one of us, and sometimes we just align with things wholly and completely.’

I just stood there for a minute, fully in awe of her. Not in just her uncanny ability to get around, or her stellar English, but also her ability to create—and delight in—a profound sense of magic in her tiny, dark corner of the world.  How many of us could walk that path, both literal and metaphorical, without a sense of self-pity or sorrow? I’m not sure most of us could.

*not her real name