We are a quarter of the way through a year where the pace of change in the world has exceeded anything most of us have ever experienced. I don’t know about you but I have been finding the emotional peaks and valleys a bit disorientating at times. The news cycle continues chugging along, bringing with it emotionally laden stories of a world fiercely battling an invisible killer. At the same time we’ve seen amazing displays of humanity, kindness and selflessness.
We are distanced physically, each navigating our own smaller world of learning to cook ourselves three meals a day, to transform our living rooms into offices and classrooms, to cohabitate with little personal space and time to ourselves, host virtual game nights and to generally stay afloat through a period of great upheaval.
I once listened to a podcast where Boston-based psychiatrist, Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, was making the case that stress hormones actually help us in that they “give us the energy to cope with extreme situations.” He said the problem comes when we are unable to use this energy to take action. This is exactly the dilemma we are faced with right now. So many of us desperately want to help but there isn’t all that much that can be done while still adhering to CDC guidelines intended to slow the spread of COVID.
That being said, the sun continues to rise everyday and the world keeps turning. If you’re reading this, it means you have survived 100% the challenges you have faced in life and in the COVID era. And we are so glad you are here. The most important thing you can do right now is to take care of yourself.... physically, mentally, emotionally & spiritually. That act alone is a gift to yourself and the world.
We tend to think of uncertainty in a negative light. While it does pose many challenges; if the future is uncertain, it also means there is space for us to exert our influence. This is an argument that author Rebecca Solnit has spent a good deal of her career articulating. Her comments on the current state of the world have helped me to reframe this crisis and the role I wish to play in it.
All this goes to say that the road ahead of us is long. And while we are limited in what we can do right this minute, there will be much for us to do in the future. So the best thing we can do right now is follow the guidelines intended to slow the spread of COVID and take care of ourselves so that we have the strength and energy to influence how we rebuild from this tragedy. This is our job right now and although it may not feel like much its importance cannot be understated.
Here are a few things that have been helping me during this time…..
Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities- Rebecca Solnit
Braiding Sweetgrass- Robin Wall Kimmerer
We are the Ones We Have Been Waiting For- Alice Walker
Sacred Economics- Charles Eisenstein
Comment other book suggestions below! We'd love to hear what you all are reading to stay sane and hopeful.
I want you to know that we are working on crafting policies and procedures that will allow us to continue our gleaning activities safely this summer. So *fingers crossed* that will also be an option of a tangible activity you can partake in in a few months time. I also want you to know that while we are busy responding to the current crisis, we think of you all so often! Please reach out and let us know if you need anything, we will find a way.
Sending all our love & virtual hugs. See you soon.
P.s. don't forget to comment book recommendations and other wellness tips below so we can all benefit from each others wisdom.
Boston Area Gleaners
91 Martin Street
Acton, MA 01720