stillness, reflection
challenging times, silencing
open, receiving

what is important
notice, here, now, see clearly
awareness, treasure


Up Close and Personal 

Confined? Space limited? Missing friends? Colleagues? What’s it been like in these challenging times, I wondered. What have I noticed in this “stillness”? 

Today I’m sharing three gifts of my own awareness. While there have been many more, these are my highlights from COVID 19.

First, is the gift of my children.

Tom, now 55, is living alone in New York City. He’s a writer, director, and producer of films about people and their relationships with each other (think The Family Stone…or Guernsey and several others including one due to be released this August). He’s embedded in reflection about his next venture, learning to cook for himself…and wash dishes of course!

Margaret, now 52, is living with the love of her life in Eaglerock, California, just outside of LA. As a therapist, she thrives on helping others. She’s busier online today than she was 3 months ago in her office. And she’s celebrating…revealing her culinary talents to her best friend.

Some of you may not know that my living arrangement changed drastically with Tom and Margaret when they were 11 and 7…that’s a story for another day.

That change led me into being my authentic self and Tom and Margaret marching to their own drums.

It hasn’t always been easy. We all did our work…thank goodness! We learned as we went…chipping away at what was meaningful for each of us. For example, In a time before cell phones,Tom and Margaret became masters at calling collect on pay phones from across the country. My phone bills were really high. No matter…Communication was at the top of my list. Bills were the least of my concerns.

My awareness during COVID-19, is that today I truly know how much the four of us mean to each other. At first Tom and Margaret called daily…to check on me and Tim, my husband, making sure, as seniors, we were all right…and abiding by the social distancing rules. Now it’s every other day or so. Conversations are anything but surface…rather “up close and personal.”

 I’m so grateful for FaceTime…each call touching base reminds me of the good fortune I’ve had to have loving and forgiving children. This stillness, and time to slow down, has given me this gift, reminding me, and bringing forth this awareness.

Second, is the gift of my husband, Tim, my hero.

Tim was a helicopter pilot in Vietnam in the Third of the 17th Air Calvary Squadron. One story he’s told me, is of the day he defied the orders of a Major General, who threatened to court martial him when he refused ro fire on a target he had been ordered to assault. His decision and tenacity to listen to his own knowing, saved at least 15 lives of our soldiers on the ground.Tim received a Distinguished Flying Cross for this event.

While I’ve heard this story a number of times, until a few nights ago, Tim never had told me he’d heard from his co-pilot, Dennis Caldwell, some 5 years back. Dennis had written Tim because of a dream he’d had about the incident. He was wondering if this had really happened or if, indeed, he’d just been dreaming.

Receiving this confirmation of his own experience…having someone else Tim respected acknowledge what he had done, meant everything to Tim. 

I know this because of the tears in his eyes and the choke in his throat as he told me about his communication with Dennis for the first time the other night. I might never have heard this and seen my vulnerable hero but for the stillness and downtime we have shared during COVID-19.

Third is the gift of the Earth.

Every day…at least once every day…I venture out…out into the forest or by the lake. I breathe fresh air…I listen to the peepers…I hear the newly arrived Sandhill Cranes…I feel the strength and tenacity of the trees…I smell the freshness…the promise of spring and beyond.

I am blessed.

I live where others have to get into their cars to visit. Even in my own back yard I’ve created a Labyrinth where I can find myself…touch base with me…who I am…and what I’m feeling right now.

I find I always can be myself and be more aware when I’m in nature. I can share my fears, my hopes, my dreams, and most of all my gratitude. Being in nature nourishes me…guides me to remember what truly are gifts that have been given to me. It’s easy to take stock…to reflect…to appreciate…all of NOW…this moment.

When I’m home, the bustle of life…even in these times…persists. When I’m in nature, all of the “pressing” stops. The joy of being alive unfolds.

There you have it. The stillness of this time has given me these gifts…of my children…my husband…nature…reminding me, bringing forth awareness, and inspiring me to unfold and be more alive…every day…even beyond COVID-19.

So…I’m wondering…what are three gifts you’ve received from COVID-19?