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Natural Awakenings Richmond

Letter from Publisher

Dear Reader,

As I type this letter, it has been a month since everything really changed… social distancing began followed up quickly with stay-at-home orders and mask-wearing. I am lifted up by the stories I have heard and situations I have witnessed where people are supporting one another—caring for the ill, feeding the hungry, comforting the lonely. In order to support others—in our families and communities—we need to find ways to reduce our stress and increase the health of our immune system. The best way to remain healthy is by staying rested and hydrated; eating well; exercising; getting outside for fresh air, Vitamin D and a connection with nature; and by finding ways to stay calm and grounded, perhaps by connecting with others online/by phone, through meditation and journaling, getting lost in a good book, creating art/music, learning a new hobby or playing a game. Some days are certainly better than others and we need to give ourselves permission to be okay in each moment with where we are. Then take a deep breath and move on to the next moment. If you need professional assistance or guidance, I hope you will get the support you need; there are many local practitioners and businesses offering virtual or modified services to help—take a look at our special Business As (Un)Usual section to get an idea of what is available.

I’m a big fan of Mary Oliver’s poetry and was delighted when someone shared this adaptation of one of her most popular poems-

Mary Oliver for Corona Times (after Wild Geese) by Adrie Kusserow:

You do not have to become totally Zen,
You do not have to use this isolation to make your marriage better,
your body slimmer, your children more creative.
You do not have to “maximize its benefits.”
By using this time to work even more,
write the bestselling Corona Diaries,
Or preach the gospel of ZOOM.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body unlearn
everything capitalism has taught you,
(That you are nothing if not productive,
That consumption equals happiness,
That the most important unit is the single self.
That you are at your best when you resemble an efficient machine).
Tell me about your fictions, the ones you’ve been sold,
the ones you sheepishly sell others,
and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world as we know it is crumbling.
Meanwhile the virus is moving over the hills,
suburbs, cities, farms and trailer parks.
Meanwhile The News barks at you, harsh and addicting,
Until the push of the remote leaves a dead quiet behind,
a loneliness that hums as the heart anchors.
Meanwhile a new paradigm is composing itself in our minds,
Could birth at any moment if we clear some space
From the same tired hegemonies.
Remember, you are allowed to be still as the white birch,
Stunned by what you see,
Uselessly shedding your coils of paper skins
Because it gives you something to do.
Meanwhile, on top of everything else you are facing,
Do not let capitalism co-opt this moment,
laying its whistles and train tracks across your weary heart.
Even if your life looks nothing like the Sabbath,
Your stress boa-constricting your chest.
Know that your antsy kids, your terror, your shifting moods,
are no less sacred than a yoga class.
Whoever you are, no matter how broken,
the world still has a place for you, calls to you over and over
announcing your place as legit, as forgiven,
even if you fail and fail and fail again.
Remind yourself over and over,
all the swells and storms that run through your long tired body
all have their place here, now in this world.
It is your birthright to be held deeply, warmly, in the family of things,
not one cell left in the cold.

Stay Safe and Be Well and Know That You Are Not Alone,