Human Connection

I felt so disheartened by the recent announcement in Ontario that nothing will change after 6 weeks of quarantine, despite the fact that we have flattened the curve. I felt angry. So sad. That my basic need as a human for human connection has been taken away. Sometimes I feel like I’m living in some alternate version of “The Handmaid’s Tale”, where I have no say and my rights are simply gone and life as I know it is gone forever. Call me selfish or even ignorant, but this is how I felt.

I am not ignorant to the evils of this virus. I have people in my life who need to be extra careful and who need to protect themselves. I believe everyone should do what they are comfortable with, and I do not criticize anyone for wearing a mask or using Lysol wipes incessantly (that is, until our landfills fill up with these indestructible wipes – yikes what then?). Do what YOU need to do for now, but I always believe that fear won’t set you free.

I am speaking about freedom. I am speaking about choice here.

I also believe that this, what’s happening right now, and all the fallout from this, maybe more damaging in the end then this virus is. I believe that hiding from it is not the answer. We needed to do this at first to ensure hospitals were not overrun; we needed to learn how this virus works. We learned a lot and continue to learn. But now it’s time to allow some of our freedoms to return. Let’s think about what possible damage all this disinfecting will do to our microbes that we need to keep our immune system alive. These very microbes protect us from “it” and other viruses in the first place. What about all these wipes, gloves, masks being thrown around everywhere? There is much to think about.

We have seen examples now – clear cut ones – that solely depending on devices for human connection is not benefitting our humankind. Domestic abuse is rising. Child abuse is rising. And while we are still not through it, I can bet the divorce rate will rise too. Our mental health is suffering. We are humans and we need connection and interaction.

“I can dream about you
If I can’t hold you tonight
I can dream about you
You know how to hold me just right,” Dan Hartman sings in “I Can Dream About You”

“We belong to the light, we belong to the thunder
We belong to the sound of the words we’ve both fallen under
Whatever we deny or embrace for worse or for better
We belong, we belong, we belong together,” Pat Benatar sings in “We Belong”

Most great songs written have been about humans connecting, touching, loving; belonging together. Our entire existence is about togetherness and community; about bonding. We all need to feel acceptance and love. My dogs – they need connection. They need to be touched; to be loved. It is a canine need as well.

The masses will speak. And they are speaking louder and louder day-by-day. We don’t need to hear about a plan that will someday come. We need an action plan rolled out now with some timelines so we can remain safe and healthy together, united, as humans. Timelines will give hope to many. Canadians have flattened the curve. Now let’s do this safely, and peacefully.

Here is what I’ve learned so far during this pandemic:

1. That I love my immediate family and feel so grateful I have them here with me through this because there are many who are going at this alone.
2. That being in one another’s faces with no other interests outside of the home is unhealthy.
3. I am grateful that my parents are alive and well, are in their own home (at ages 73 and 83), and they have one another.
4. I am grateful I was able to celebrate my 50th birthday before all this hit the fan.
5. Memories are precious and looking back at them is fun, but it can also take you to a dark place if you remain there for too long.
6. With the state of the world right now, looking ahead can give you fierce anxiety. The present is where the mind needs to reside for some joy and life’s simple pleasures.
7. Creating new memories and new positive habits are still possible in quarantine.
8. Learning the basics again is positive – less take out, less fast food, more cooking at home, playing family games.
9. It’s easy to slip into a sedentary lifestyle where you overeat when you have no other interests outside of the home. The more you remain present, the less you turn to food and alcohol for consolation.

Here is what I have already missed:

1. I missed my sister’s birthday
2. I missed my close friend’s 50th birthday
3. I missed my other close friend’s birthday
4. I will miss my other close friend’s 50th birthday
5. I missed Easter with my family for the first time in 50 years
6. I will be missing celebrating my dad’s 83rd birthday with my entire family
7. 2 concerts I’ve been looking forward to have already been postponed with no foreseeable future dates. Go back a couple of my blog posts earlier to read about how much live music means for joy, bonding and community.
8. So much more in life that gives me such laughter and joy – all relating to my connection with others.

These are moments that are gone, these are memories that were not made; sadly, there are no photos of them in my camera roll. These are moments of connection with people who I love and who mean so much to me. These are moments of community and bonding that cannot be replaced with Facetime. With hope, we will reconvene and create these memories, just at a later time.

So what to do, what to do, what to do…as this quarantine continues.

1. Continue to cook nourishing meals for me and my family at home vs flooding our bodies with take-out and/or fast food
2. Pray & meditate
3. Practice gratitude daily for all the things we do have including our health. Teach my teenage children about gratitude and set a good example.
4. Pray & meditate
5. Continue to work on my little business, grateful I work from home.
6. Pray & meditate
7. Exercise daily and do virtual workouts with my trainer twice a week.
8. Pray & meditate
9. Spend this extra time with my loved ones doing things we don’t normally have time to do. Let’s see, we now have a home hair salon, barber shop and a nail salon…
10. Pray & meditate
11. Educate myself further in my industry – learn from others, attend webinars, continue to learn about how I can support my immune system further.
12. Pray & meditate
13. Remain present
14. Pray & meditate
15. Organize and keep my home tidy & clean
16. Pray & meditate

Did you notice how many times I have “pray & meditate”? This is because I truly believe we all need to do what makes us feel good and whole. This does it for me. I believe there is a huge lesson here for all humankind and we all need to raise our vibration to collectively learn what this lesson could possibly be. Some of us will learn it, some won’t. But I am open, here and present to receive any message that may come my way from this entire experience.

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