I have fond childhood memories of the Fourth of July – family picnics and fireworks celebrating Independence Day, naively happy with what I experienced of safety and freedom in 1950’s America. SO naïve that that safety net was not the story of living in America for many of America’s citizens. The civil rights movement was gaining momentum and giving strength to the women’s rights movement, the gay rights movement, activism on behalf of disabled and special needs citizens.
In(ter)dependence Day takes on new meaning in the context of re-emerging from a global pandemic. I posted last week about my friend Stacey’s son finding new freedom, released from 15 months of confinement at home and online schooling, returning to swim meets and playing with his best friend in person.
Last week I also zoomed with a colleague in India, whose struggles with the pandemic in his country were so different from ours and so not yet over. After surviving the first wave of the pandemic, which impacted mostly elderly patients, during the peak of the second wave (400,000 new cases a day) he lost two close friends in his own middle age group. And struggled to protect and provide for his family as India lost all power, all internet during the worst cyclone to hit the country in 15 years. He is now preparing for the third wave, expected to affect mostly children; his children are 8, 6, and 3 years old.
We talked about how he even stayed afloat as India became the new epicenter of the global pandemic, hospitals running short on oxygen and medications. He cited three practices:
1) SAFE PLACE: he would put on his PPE and drive to a deserted ocean beach and walk for 20 minutes morning and evening.
2) HAND on the HEART: placing his hand on his heart center and breathing slowly and deeply (he set the timer on his watch to remind himself)
3) SLEEP: ending all work and family activity, winding down for an hour until he literally rolled into bed and slept through the night.
Safe Place, Hand on the Heart , and the importance of Sleep are all practices found on my website’s Practices for Resilience that can help you meet the ongoing challenges of a pandemic that hasn’t yet quit. Universal practices that remind us of our interdependence with others in our vulnerability and in our resilience.