We must admit there will be music despite everything
Jack Gilbert

COVID- 19 has become the Great Interrupter!

The world has been stopped in its tracks. Routines shelved.  Daily life re-invented in the shared space called home.  Right now, it feels like a stretch to call what I do a routine. The day slips and slides by, marked by distractions that include drinking too much coffee.  I am keenly aware of what I took for granted.

I cannot recall when a global issue had such an impact on everyone, everywhere. The grand scale of it all is mind boggling, with implications that may only be fully realized months and years from now. With the landscape altered, changes are apparent everywhere. Here are a few I’ve observed:

The cell phone, that computer device that fits in your hand, is now used to talk to people. This old school form of communication has gained popularity, enabling conversation with an actual person.

Screen time has increased- or feels like it. Lots of good stuff out there, much of it helpful and some of it hilarious. The sheer volume of it all, though, can feel overwhelming, such that I need to limit what I take in, especially the news.

Social (or rather physical) distancing favours the introvert. The new rules require time apart. It’s not unwelcome news for those of us who relish quiet and don’t have children at home clamoring to socialize. It’s like a giant pause in which, as one friend put it, the field of frenetic activity can lie fallow for awhile.

Creativity and innovation keep us connected.  The creative spirit is being fully Older Woman Playing Piano In Sunlit Homeexpressed through the arts, and how we play, socialize, communicate, buy groceries, problem solve, and offer comfort. Inventiveness is flourishing out of necessity.

Zoom is fast becoming Word of the Year. It seems ironic to be using something called Zoom when we have to slow down or stop our usual way of doing things. Technologies like Zoom are transforming how we interact.  Zoom, zoom, zoom!

There’s a changing sense of time. Busy or not, the days feel different. What happened a Young Sad Woman Looking Outside Through Balcony Of An Apartmentweek ago now seems like an eternity. Trying to imagine what will happen a week from now is like staring into a dense fog. The uncertainty of everything anchors me to the present and leaves me untethered at the same time.

Changing priorities demand attention to the moment at hand and a fuller appreciation of the ordinary. Health (individuals, communities, and the planet) matters. People matter. So much seems irrelevant now.

What changes have you noticed? What’s the effect of this unsettled time on you? And what does it all mean?

I suspect many of the changes, both at home and at work, will be cemented into permanence. I also wonder with a touch of unease, what cherished ways of doing things will be cast aside- deemed anachronisms in the emerging new reality.  Who gets to decide?

When this global emergency is over, and it will be, what will be left in its wake? Could it be that our planet will be the beneficiary and begin to heal as the skies and waters clear with all of us sheltering in place. Maybe nations will stop fighting and focus on the health of their citizens. Maybe our efforts to connect with others will reveal the power of reaching out. One can only hope.

In the meantime, may we express thanks for all the heroes in our midst who do the difficult work so the rest of us can have some degree of normalcy in our lives. You know who they are. Say thank you, tip generously when it’s called for, and bless those working in health care.

As we navigate this Great Interruption, know there will still be music despite everything. In the link below, the Toronto Symphony Orchestra performs Appalachian Spring as a way of offering a musical hug!

Difficult times reveal the power of small acts of kindness and generosity as demonstrated in the short podcast, A Bit of Relief- Alone Together, produced by the New York Times.* Human beings at their best. n n udio-series-bar&region=header&pgtype=Article

May we all, Alone Together, reach out and be well in this extraordinary time.

Hearts open. Hands washed. Love on.
Brené Brown

*The podcast is part of a series called “The Daily” which aired March 20, 2020.

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