Greetings to all! Last week was the official start of Spring 2020, the Equinox. The world is on pause. This unexpected turn of events affects each of us differently. This Week In Peace exists to help our current reality feel less turbulent. Thank you for reading!
My life as an educator has been upended by the closure of schools and movement studios. Countless families are experiencing this. The fact that the luckiest among us are able to stay home with our families is the pain point that will serve as the "elephant" for our purposes. Having an elephant in the room is a saying that describes something that is looming large, yet everyone everywhere tries hard to ignore it. We'll face it head on together. Here it is:
It's not always easy to stay home with our families 22+ hours per day. We don't speak of this because of course we are extremely grateful to have families, food and shelter. At the same time, living in the Bay Area requires us to spend countless hours away at work to provide for said families. We are unaccustomed to spending copious hours at home with loved ones. Two friends called me this week, completely overwhelmed by the pressures of having to become home school master teachers overnight. Friends, consider this: What if we take a break from the drive to be productive, accomplished and masterful right now? Hear me out on this unpopular idea. It's ok to take time to deal with the fact that there are unprecedented shifts going on in our world. We may be feeling a host of conflicting emotions around this. Emotions are energy moving swiftly through the body. It takes real strength to process them. Fatigued? Take a nap. Turn television and devices off for a few hours. Look out of the window with absolutely no purpose other than allowing our minds to relax into nature. There is no goal, no finish line and no achievement needed at this time. This is difficult for us ambitious Bay Area folks to conceive of! No achievement?! What is life without achievement?
Life without achievement is a myth. We are always achieving, creating and solving things simply by living. Cooking, encouraging others, keeping ourselves mentally and emotionally healthy are all achievements we can be proud of. Make a list of the awesome things you do, no matter how small, and celebrate them! This works wonders for our sense of self worth, a crucial asset that needs bolstering during this time of isolation.
Another pain point in our collective experience right now is being indoors. California people prefer to run wild on the beach, in the forest, on the trails and wherever else nature will allow us to be. We would build resorts in the clouds, even underwater if we could, that's how prolific nature is to our way of life. During the first few days of quarantine, I faced dramatic personal struggles. "I'm a Peace Dancer, dammit! I need to go dance! Dance indoors?? I can't feel the wind in my hair from in here!" In my upset, I failed to realize the obvious: Nature is still open. I could and should go outside.
Afterward, I felt better. I danced with my eyes closed extended periods of time because there was NO ONE around to bump into. It is a known fact that fresh air, sunshine and outdoor time provides a substantial boost to the immune system. Spending time outdoors is easier than ever. Traffic is at an all time low. Groups of youth are out biking in the empty streets. There is relative peace when there could be next level chaos. Acknowledging everyone for the great work we've done on staying indoors! We are doing a wonderful job of social distancing to minimize the risk of infection. Yet, nature beckons. The world is wide enough for everyone to reap the immunity benefits of nature without the risk of interacting too closely with others. It is a cost free therapy, worthy of our time. It is a peaceful way to rest, restore and replenish our souls during this time of stress.
It's especially important to guard against fear and loneliness right now. If you feel alone and despairing, please know that we are on the mend collectively. Each of us has a unique, vital role to play. Reach out to someone, even just to say hello. Helping others is the fastest way to forget our own sorrows and problems. Taking the time to talk to people over the phone has helped me immensely this week. Calling brings comfort to the folks we reach out to. People love knowing that they are loved and thought about.
Take excellent care of yourself. By doing so, you will have much more to offer in terms of uplifting others. Start by asking yourself from the heart, "What do I need?" The answers may surprise you. Ideas may come up that you haven't thought of before. Be adventurous when it comes to following up on new thoughts! You know it's a good idea when it has a positive effect on you and others. You know it's a good idea when thinking about it gives you joy. Ideas are contagious. You never know who might be inspired by watching you.
Thank you and see you out there (soon)!
Khalilah will be offering weekly online dance and yoga classes via Zoom for the duration of the isolation. This will assist everyone in staying whole, healthy and in good spirits while we collectively heal. Info on classes & other peace offerings are available @thepeacedancer on Instagram and at www.thedanceofpeace.org