Gratitude In The Time Of Corona

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Gratitude In The Time Of Corona

“Enough” is a feast.” Buddhist proverb

Some days are great. Things go as planned and you bounce from meeting to appointment to lunch and you feel wonderful inside.

Then there are the other days. Like being in the house for four and a half months quarantined with no end in sight – wondering  if things will ever get back to the way they were in the old world. There are days when you do not feel motivated at all.

I’ve done gratitude lists before.  Writing five things I am grateful for in quarantine became rote because I did the same thing every day. I realized that if I wrote one thing a day and really thought about it, it worked better. Here are some of the things I have written down. Maybe they will resonate with you during these times.

The easiest thing to be grateful for is having a roof over my head. I live in an area with a lot of homeless people. I fear it will become worse from this virus.  I choose not to take this for granted.

 I am grateful for easy access to good drinking water. We can’t really drink from the faucet like in Iceland or New Zealand, but we do have tap water that we can boil in our homes. One eighth of the world’s population do not have access to safe drinking water.

 I recently read that the  ancient Greek philosophers  started their day outside in Nature to feel calm and grateful.  I try to spend at least a few minutes having coffee outside looking at the beach. Being in “prison” for four months with people not wearing masks here, has made my relationship with the beach complicated. But every morning, when I sit and look out at the ocean, I am so grateful that I get to see this and smell the ocean air to start my day.

I am grateful that everyone I know is healthy. They have either recovered from the virus or not gotten it.  While I do my part to stop the spread  of coronavirus by staying home, others are going to work, risking putting themselves and those they love in danger of exposure. My gratitude toward these front-line professionals not only is well-deserved, but it also helps relieve stress which suppresses our immune systems.

I am grateful for the time to read good books. i wasn’t allowed to watch TV as a kid and getting lost in a book was a familiar feeling. Now with so many options for entertainment, focusing on a book is harder.  But now I read every day and when a book grabs me in, I remember the feeling I had as a child. 

I am also grateful for access to the internet during this time.  Can you imagine going through this without the internet? We are able to order food, medicine, clothes and any random thing we can think of – mostly with free shipping. We can take classes with our favorite teachers, talk to friends, family, doctors  and work on ZOOM.  We have access to a crazy number of TV shows and movies from all over the world. We get theatre productions and we can still look up every thing that comes into our head. There is instagram and facebook to stay connected with the world. 

I am grateful for Banksy my dog. He is my constant companion through this time and is endlessly entertaining. He keeps me sane during this time of social distancing. 

I am grateful for small kindnesses. A person who actually puts on their mask when they walk by me, a pretzel delivery from my daughter, a funny youtube video sent from a friend or the perfect eggplant parmesan prepared by the BF all help me get through this.

I am grateful for my friends and family. We are all in this together and when we are reunited it will be even more special.

I am grateful to be spending this time with the  BF.  Day 145 is definitely different then Day 1 in quarantine. It is our first year of living together.  What we were able to tolerate easily before is a bit different now. Trapped in close quarters, tense moments are inevitable. But we get through it with communication, laughter and hugs and we are really lucky to have found each other.

Stay Safe,

JAz

Ranch Advice

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Ranch Advice

“These people have learned not from books, but in the fields, in the wood, on the river bank. Their teachers have been the birds themselves, when they sang to them, the sun when it left a glow of crimson behind it at setting, the very trees, and wild herbs.”Anton Chekhov

I visited my friend’s ranch and winery in Creston, California for a few days. Here are some of the lessons  that I have learned.

When you take an egg from a hen, pet her and leave one egg for her to sit on.

Have empathy for those around you even if they are chickens.

Feed the animals early in the morning. It even says that in the Bible. Feed the animals before yourself. Once you are responsible for something, you must take care of it.

Every time we went hiking or rode in the four by four vehicle. Bandit ran along side of us. The dog ran all day long, stopping to jump in the lake or horse trough to cool off. Bandit is not afraid to get down and dirty rolling in the dirt to dry off. What are we so afraid of? We don’t always have to be clean and perfect all the time. Physical exercise and activity is scientifically proven to release endorphins, making us happier. That’s why  Bandit  looks happiest when he is running.

 The white dogs, Blanche and Stanley (named after Donna’s parents) protect the house all night long and sleep during the day. They have a purpose and they are faithful. There are no ulterior motives, no mind games, no second-guessing, no complicated negotiations or bargains, and no guilt trips or grudges.

The fourth dog Lizzie  knows the importance of family and quiet time which is something we all need. She sits in the four by four with Barry when he goes out. 

Looking at the sheep, cows, horses  and their babies, connects us back to how simple life is supposed to be.

Just assume that every gun is loaded. It’s the first rule of gun safety. Guns on a ranch are tools. It is the crazy person that was able to buy the gun legally that is the problem.There are  certain things that you should always be careful around.

You were so close. Try again. I think this one is self-explanatory.

 Pass the bush and turn right at the tree. It’s taken me a long time to learn the importance of good directions. Know when it’s time to make positive changes. Proactively make the change for yourself or they may be made for you.

An alluvial fan is a fan-shaped deposit of sediment crossed and built up over thousands of years by streams.

In dry areas they help with irrigation. Beauty and art take time. 

Hiking up a hill for me is harder than going down but going down is tricky. The secret is to be unaffected either way. 

Being in nature, deepens our human connection to the world. It just makes you feel better to pay attention to the sights and sounds of the ranch.

It helps to have a Fernando. Everyone should have someone in their life who is kind, helpful, responsible, intelligent, creative and there for you. It is good to have people around who support what you do with or without a plan. 

If a gate is closed, leave it closed. If a gate is open, leave it open.

There will always be closed gates or doors but others will be open. Have faith and keep moving forward.

Thanks to Donna and Barry whose hearts are even bigger than the ranch.

And Maureen (camper of the days) and Mike for making it such a fun trip.

Fly safe,

JAZ