As our “social distancing” has now extended through the end of April 2020, many of us are left with the indelible mark of a changed life.
With another month right around the corner, things like car payments, rent, credit card and mortgage payments are looming. Let’s not even talk about the millions of kids home from school and the thousands of parents grappling with the stress of working (or trying to) from home, figuring out some sort of homeschooling schedule, all while being in close proximity to one another. Those who’ve lost their jobs, have the added burden of coping with all this on top of generating zero income.
These are trying times, folks, which is why finding a silver lining in the midst of such calamity feels like such an uphill battle.
Would I recognize the emission of my own ray of light? Would I be able to see the positive things I’ve been doing while maneuvering through this maze of quarantine? What if anything have I learned about myself and my situation in the midst of all this self reflection? Are there changes in my life I could instigate?
Are we seeing the bigger picture or are we hyper focused on minute moments, those singular events we use to catapult us towards depression, despair, or worse – giving up?!
I’m not suggesting we can’t/don’t acknowledge those moments of despair. Our ability to express, acknowledge or expel emotion is a powerful tool in recovery. A good cry or profanity laced burst can be restorative for sure.
What I am talking about is maintaining our capacity for life – ours and everyone else’s.
We all have choices; matter of fact, exercising those choices is an act we encounter countless times a day. Those choices, those forks in the road decisions rise and fall depending on what’s happening around us…every single moment. The trick is to choose each fork in a way that exemplifies our self love, along with our love for others.
For many of us, the coronavirus plopped us smack dab in front of a massive fork in the road. We have the choice to be mad, to blame, to fall into depression, to wail about our predicament, to be fearful, to lose faith.
The other choice is to press on, to learn from our choices, to commit to making changes if necessary, to continue to love ourselves, to continue to show love to others, to continue to be a positive force in the world (or at least our cities, communities, and most of all at home), and to know without a doubt the only constant is change.
No, I haven’t lost anyone I know to the virus.
Yes, I do know someone who has/had the virus.
Yes, I am practicing social distancing.
Yes, I lost my job.
Yes, I have toilet paper.
No, I can’t see my kids or grand kids.
Yes, I have savings.
Yes, I have food.
And yes, in light of everything, I’m still grateful.
Look, we are bigger than the news, bigger than the media, bigger than fear, bigger than our political affiliation.
At our core, we are social and empathetic. We have a huge capacity for sharing and have incredible endurance to survive.
We’ll get through this latest calamity by sticking together (well maybe not “sticking” in light of social distancing) sharing a smile and embracing life. And so this is where my silly, goofy, yet serious, SUN analogy came to “light!”
Some of us have been through a real shit show with this COVID-19! Let’s take what’s happened and use it as fertilizer to grow something beautiful!
To allow ourselves to be pushed upward and outward by the warmth from within? What rays of light can we turn towards to get us through the next month (or months)?
This turning towards the positive may seem “light” in lieu of what’s been happening all across the globe, but we’ve got to start somewhere, and in my experience, starting with self is as good a place as any.
So grab a pen, hell let’s get creative and grab some brightly colored markers, crayons or glitter pens (I’ll wait) and some paper and make ourselves happy suns with dazzling rays of sun beams shooting out all around us!
Let’s write about all the ways in which we’ve committed ourselves to be just a little bit (or alot) better!
Maybe our schedules slowed down enough to remind us what’s really important. Do we really NEED to be bustling around at the speed of light?
What would happen if we stayed in and put a puzzle together?!
The slower pace is a subtle reminder to take a nice long inhale and a restorative exhale. Time to appreciate all we DO have.
Maybe we’ve committed to less spending and more saving. I know this was at the top of my own rays of light list. Yeah, I know, it may seem like “a day late dollar short” ray of light, but for me, it took something drastic to knock me back in line with this core value. Do I really need to buy this or that? How many travel tee shirts does one person really “need?”
And what about all those long term goals patiently sitting, waiting for my attention? Have I been following through with those long term goals? Am I making things harder or easier for myself? Yes, grabbing that $5.00 a day coffee might feel like a special treat we give ourselves. After all, it’s only 5 bucks we tell ourselves.
But what if we took that 5 dollars and instead of buying a coffee we stuffed it in an envelope? What if we filled the envelope with 365 five dollar bills? Would we still be complaining about what we “gave up” when the contents of that envelope bought us a tire that just blew or paid our rent or bought us food when a pandemic moved to town and took our job?!
Being specific is how we’re going to bring about an illuminous highlight to this topic. If we want to save $1,000.00 then we need to be specific. How are you going to go about maintaining this goal? Will you open a savings account? Will you submit a portion of each paycheck to this goal? Are you really willing to give up those daily trips to Starbucks to make your dream a reality?
Maybe the ray of light feels like love. The love shared between a couple.
Before the nation was shut down, John and I went about our day on autopilot most of the time. While there was a sense of comfort in the routine, the hours in our perspective offices, grinding away the day, was also taking a toll. Not that I’m in favor of a worldwide pandemic to bring me into alignment, but this is exactly what happened.
The work slowdown for John and me was definitely not voluntary, but the choice to spend our “free” time together was.
We formed our own book club of sorts, each reading a different book and then sharing our discoveries. If you’re not sure what book to start with, I’d love you to check out my book for beginners “Swingers Lifestyle: The Questions You are Afraid to Ask”.
We took long walks through our neighborhood.
We settled into our bed for leisurely lovemaking sessions.
We even marathon-ed our way through a few series. “Tiger King” anyone? Or how about “Outlander”?
If you’re looking for something to watch that’s educational in the lifestyle, we just re-opened the doors to the World Love Summit where we recorded video interviews with 19 dating and relationship experts for you to binge watch.
How about the ray of light from our friends and family? They can be some of our biggest sources of support and encouragement. I’ve seen more friends on social media reaching out to one another and posting positive and uplifting messages. Some are reconnecting after years of separation and still others are taking the time to procure new friendships.
So many of us are taking the extra time to communicate, to check in with each other, to make sure we are all hanging in there.
Okay, so I think you all get the idea. So enough talk and let’s get started. Grab your pen, markers, glitter pens and a sheet of paper and let your artistic genius flow!
When you’ve completed your own masterpiece, why not share what you’ve learned, what you’ve acknowledged, and what steps you’ve mapped out for the future?
As William Makepeace Thackeray, “It is from the level of calamities, not that of every-day life, that we learn impressive and useful lessons.”
John and Jackie Melfi are in a consensually non monogamous marriage. They have been featured in ABC News Nightline Special Report “Getting Naughty In N’awlins”, Inside a New Orleans Swingers Convention, and CNN “This Is Life” with Lisa Ling. The Melfis are the force behind the industry famous colette swingers clubs in New Orleans, Dallas, Houston, and Austin. With over 20 years of combined experience, this powerhouse couple coaches thousands of singles and couples through their award winning blog Openlove101.com.