Planet Waves Reader Experiences of the Lockdown

If we in the West are privileged, our real problem is that we often seek to exercise all of our privileges all the time, and too often take everything for granted. We have gone through (and in some places, continue to go through) an experience that has shifted the total social and economic pattern of the world, and of our lives — a crucial and necessary experience here at the dawn of the Age of Aquarius: a time when patterns will prevail. We need the right patterns, however.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

Silver Linings, Introspection and Human Contact: Planet Waves Reader Experiences of Covid-19 and the Lockdown

Dear Friend and Reader:

We do not understand Covid-19 or the novel coronavirus. That is the one thing I feel safe saying as a journalist. The whole matter is so mired in political agendas, longstanding business plans, the abuse of people’s trust in science, censorship and, most of all, fear, that (at this time) there are no objective answers.

I am at this stage still focused on identifying what is not true, rather than what is. With my colleagues, we’ve drilled into many of the major issues (19 of them) and, well, this is not a puzzle that comes with a picture on the box.

Then there is the whole matter of perception. What we must remember if we want to work through this and keep our sanity and physical health is that this situation is a product of digital consciousness. This would be a wholly different thing were it happening in a world without the internet. This may seem odd but it’s the form of media that defines the quality of consciousness, and amplifies certain aspects of situations that would not exist otherwise.

Visiting the Woodstock festival site in May, in preparation for my article on the event (They Were Barefoot in Babylon). This is in Bethel, Town of White Lake, Sullivan County, NY. Photo by Lanvi.

That said, we pretty much know what we experience directly. We are capable of reporting on our own feelings, which is what I’ve asked Planet Waves readers to do this week. It is perhaps a sad truth of the human condition that many people learn only through crisis — and we have certainly had one to learn from.

It is unprecedented for the world to have shut down all at once, at one point with 4 billion people staying home. This is something that has never happened previously, and with nothing comparable since the days of polio, when people locked themselves into their rooms and closed the windows in midsummer, without air conditioning, summer after summer.

To those who have suffered losses in their families and circles of friends due to this strange illness, or who have been laid up for weeks, we offer our deepest regrets and condolences.

To those who seek to prevent future pain and losses, there is plenty that you can do. If you are concerned, please make contact with your neighborhood naturopathic doctor, holistic MD, homeopath or herbalist — they know more, and can say more, than conventional doctors. Please check with them to learn about known interactions between commonly used prescription medications and the presumed virus.

As far as the big lessons: It is now clear that we did not need to be living the way we were living. I think everyone knew that, though we were caught in many patterns nobody ever thought we could get out of. I have my own personal experiences of growth and learning to report, though speaking as an observer of society, I am grateful we have witnessed (and practiced) how much less car travel, and air travel (in general, air pollution) we can stand. For a while, the world slowed down to a level that must be reminiscent of around 1960.

If we in the West are privileged, our real problem is that we often seek to exercise all of our privileges all the time, and take everything for granted. We have gone through (and in some places, continue to go through) an experience that has shifted the total social and economic pattern of the world — a crucial and necessary experience here at the dawn of the age of Aquarius — a time when patterns will prevail. We need the right patterns, however.

There’s a word that is still used among Jungian analysts, which is enantiodromia. It means: when things become their opposite. There are many losses to account due to Covid-19 and how it has been mishandled. This feature looks for the places where we have benefitted in some unexpected way.

If it’s been stressful at times, remember (as Jerry would sing), every silver lining has a touch of gray.

With love,

eric

Photos and illustrations for this feature are by Lanvi Nguyen. Page editors are Amy Elliott, Victoria Emory and Spencer Stevens.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen

Sheltering in place with my daughter

I found myself sheltering in place with my daughter, newly returned from living four years abroad at university. Before mid-March, there were often times when I would look at our personal interactions in shock, knowing that short of a months-long vacation on a somewhat deserted island, we would never regain the closeness we had once had.

It would take years, perhaps, to learn to be on equal footing, as we found ourselves regressing to the parent/child behavior we had before she left — interactions that were no longer relevant and often caused unwanted stress. While I would never have chosen this to be the reason we were together 24/7 for 110 days and counting, sheltering in place has presented numerous opportunities to work on and improve our relationship.

During this period of chaos and uncertainty, we’ve come to a deeper understanding of one another as adults, have begun to reassess and reorder how we prioritize our work and friendships, and we completed projects that had been left unfinished or would have been impossible if not for our time inside, alone, together.

NYC Mom


Doing more with less

My silver lining is that I was partially furloughed and learned to live happily with less money.

— T

I have been writing more and also feeling nature as a larger, more beautiful space in which to spend my time, walking each day in the gardens around the retirement flats where I live.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

Woke up to a deer eating my pansies

Thanks for asking about silver linings!!

I think there are many…

For me one of the biggest was having time to catch up on projects.

I painted the entire inside of the house; ceilings, walls, trim, closet all of it! I refinished several pieces of furniture, ripped out an old fence and did a ton of yard work.

Because I was home more I got to know my neighbors and I noticed more birds and wildlife in the yard.
One day I woke up to a deer eating the pansies by my door — this is remarkable, as I live in a suburb!

I also discovered that my clients will wait for me if I take time off and I’m busier than ever – abundance bid flowing.

— Cindy


Enjoying semi-isolation in England

Dear Eric,

I have truly enjoyed being in semi-isolation in England. After 2 months, however, I missed human touch and contact, so I got myself a cat! I rescued a 12-year old lovely female black and white cat. She has brought me great company and companionship.

I have also reorganized my family archives by getting more file cabinets and putting things in better order.

I have also been exercising daily and have lost weight and feel healthier than ever, even at 76.

I have been writing more and also feeling nature as a larger, more beautiful space in which to spend my time, walking each day in the gardens around the retirement flats where I live.

My connections with people around the world have increased through zooming, and now here we are allowed to ‘bubble up’ so finally I’ve seen my daughter and her family and got the hugs I had so missed! Especially with my two grandsons.

My children all live very near me in Leeds and two of my three kids just completed moving to their forever homes ~ so we are all happily home! Truly everything for me has improved in amazing ways.

I think being a Pisces has been helpful during this time. I have been going with the flow of the currents of the energies, and as the Solstice arrives I feel on top of the world. This is my favourite day of the year. And this time of the year is also my favourite as well, with the energies of the eclipses on either side of the solstice giving me an amazing window of love and light and happiness.

So it is all silver lining for me!!!

Blessings to you Eric and all at Planet Waves!

With love and light,

Linda

What came as a surprise, after a dark night of the soul and a whole lotta surrender, was that my work was changing and evolving into a more cohesive soul support system for others not knowing how to pivot their energy. In a weird and unforeseen way, Covid provided us with an opportunity to hermit and reflect upon our values.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

After a dark night of the soul

My silver lining Covid experience completely caught me from left field. I had to close and pack up my office, temporarily live between two homes and didn’t know if this was “the sign” that it was time to go back to traditional work (I was providing intuitive guidance and master Reiki healing).

What came as a surprise, after a dark night of the soul and a whole lotta surrender, was that my work was changing and evolving into a more cohesive soul support system for others not knowing how to pivot their energy. In a weird and unforeseen way, Covid provided us with an opportunity to hermit and reflect upon our values. This lead me (and many others) to the creation of a new paradigm and it’s one I’m glad to be here for!

— Winter

This pandemic made me realize the power of the dollar, money saved is money earned, and how much of all this figurative crap was blocking my life. I am hopeful of future employment but with a renewed sense of a work / life balance. I can’t wait to travel on money saved, not on a credit card. I don’t know if I’d would have done this but the pandemic pushed into such discomfort and clarity.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

Relief from the rising tension and frenetic energy

Hi Eric & Co,

In looking back weeks before the mid-March national emergency declaration, I could feel a rising tension or frenetic energy all around. I couldn’t name it but when everything came to a halt, I was feeling a sense of relief, like we had gotten off an out of control roller coaster. Everyone was shouting and no one was listening. The internet was distracting everyone including myself into an abyss of numbness. Then the death threat sounded over the airways. Stop everything and everyone and go home.

I was about to take a job in the schools and then they suddenly closed. For three weeks, before the promise of the Stimulus unemployment money, I was in a daze of despair about money. An existential haze of “what does it all mean?”

I had credit card debt from consumer spending. In desperate move to get a grip on my debt, I cashed in my retirement from my previous employment run with the public schools in late January. I was 37 years old and cashing in my retirement to get out of debt. This was a giant red flag about my spending.

I was at a rock bottom of powerlessness. 12 steppers call this a step one realization. I was powerless over debt and my life was unmanageable. I admitted this, and so when the student is ready, the teacher appears. I started learning about money managing from the experts, I watched YouTube lectures for days. The new focus pulled me away from a sense of despair and the 24/7 news cycle. I was learning a new skill: money matters. I had the gift of desperation, and I was willing to give up old ideas. Will I get a job? Where will money come from? Nothing materially was guaranteed. I had my health and my gumption.

I looked around my apartment and realized I was sitting in a nest of high quality yarn. I hit the streets of eBay and starting posting. The yarn started to sell. I kept posting and the yarn kept going. What else can I sell? I started selling jewelry and books. By this time, the unthinkable happened. The government started depositing hundreds of dollars into my account.

What the hell? My stash of yarn was twiddling, as I was seeing clearly all the stuff I bought was really a trap. Spending money on crap I don’t need to impress people I don’t like was suffocating my life. I was thinking of a life I was planning for, not the one I had. The pandemic made me see my point of view was distorted and unreliable and unrealistic. I was expecting something else to save me from my debt.

I have since moved in with my partner (in a push from spirit) and have sold more than half my stuff. I got off the Amazon River and Netflix and Hulu and other paid services that take my money.

I have paid off my credit card debt and have 6 months of bills in check. I have flipped the thousands of dollars of debt into thousands of dollars in savings. I’m much more happy with the cleared space in my mind and life. I have a renewed sense for my creative projects. I can’t believe I’m out of debt and have savings. I can’t believe I can live a life NOT paycheck to paycheck.

This pandemic made me realize the power of the dollar, money saved is money earned, and how much of all this figurative crap was blocking my life. I am hopeful of future employment but with a renewed sense of a work / life balance. I can’t wait to travel on money saved, not on a credit card.

I don’t know if I’d would have done this but the pandemic pushed into such discomfort and clarity.

— Claire


Alternative concept of time

Experiencing an alternative concept of ‘time’. Normal routines disrupted, replaced by ‘what is most important?’ Sharper focus and what feels like less creative energy leaks.

— Theresa

Learning the simple pleasures of staying home…like baking, cooking and enjoying a lovely fireplace fire.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

Finishing my novel

The week the lockdown came with the virus was the same week my first novel, at the age of 60, Angel Girl and the Hawk, was released. After two years of being a hermit and dedicated to writing and completing my book, abandoning friends, family and social activities, I couldn’t even leave the house, let alone celebrate in the face of the heavy world issues. It was like giving birth to a baby (my book), having the baby taken away, and no idea what would become of the baby.

The silver lining, the last page of the book was “A Prayer for the World” was published on the Angel Girl and the Hawk Facebook page and I guess it is resonating with people from all over the world and has over 3500 shares to date. Unsure of my book’s destiny, but hopeful. And inspired to write more prayers.

— Samara


Mindful of food waste

Hello!!

My silver lining experience is that I have learned to do more with less!! And I’m much more mindful of how much food we waste on a regular basis.

Hope you are all safe and healthy.

Sending love,

Helen


Mommy, why is the sky blue?

The first major silver lining has been, perhaps, the BLUEST sky I’ve seen in years!

Learning the simple pleasures of staying home…like baking, cooking and enjoying a lovely fireplace fire.

I know the mask debate…but…separate from the self-protection issue, the fact that some people wear masks to protect OTHERS from them is an act of selflessness, and sorely needed.

Learning to live without overusing energy.

The realization that many of us can work and study from home, thereby lessening the use of carbon fossil fuels…

I think our planet is telling us something, and it’s time we started listening to her!

Lastly…maybe the human arrogance that we are the end all and be all of existence is slightly less pervasive…

Time for a dose of humility…Mother Earth has spoken!

Just my dime…

— Robbi

After two years of being a hermit and dedicated to writing and completing my book, abandoning friends, family and social activities, I couldn’t even leave the house, let alone celebrate in the face of the heavy world issues. It was like giving birth to a baby (my book), having the baby taken away, and no idea what would become of the baby.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

Small, beautiful things

Hello, hello,

Good idea.

I have enjoyed noticing small beautiful natural things I wouldn’t notice as much. Hummingbirds, dragonflies, a bird that tapped and knocked at length on my window every day for two weeks, huge bumblebees, baby owls in a nest, the dazzling silver on the Pacific Ocean, the wind in the new growth at the tops of evergreens.

To taste food with a LOT more appreciation.

Re-reading books I love and seeing new things in them.

And to go within even more than I usually do, seeing things about myself and others that are new realizations. As the Bible says, “be still and know that I am God.”

For the first two months, the quiet, the peace, that gave such space for reflection. Before the civil strife erupted and the traffic came back.

Distance hug.

— Barbara J.


My own innate patience, my husband’s wicked sense of humor

Hi Eric,

During the pandemic and quarantine here in Brooklyn, NY, I am grateful for the following, and this is only a partial list: My own innate patience, my husband’s wicked sense of humor, the ability for both of us to keep ourselves amused, my talent for Italian cooking (and the ready availability of ingredients to make it) and yes, the hated internet and technology that makes it possible to stay in contact with dear friends and family. I hate being older and in the “vulnerable” category virus-wise. Ironically however, I and my husband, retired and hanging out in our 2-bedroom apartment for the past five years, feel like we’ve been in training for this very situation. There is so much more to say, and hopefully, other people will be able to say it more eloquently.

Peace,

Chris

I like this slower pace of life. I like being in my home, in my yard, and in my garden. I like being surrounded by my critters.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

I have been gifted with this time!

I am a single parent with 13-year-old twin boys. I’m blessed to have always worked from home and have been able to keep doing so. My one son has a learning disability and one huge silver lining was to see him excel with his school work. Away from peer pressure and the time constants, he was able to find his own approach. Watching and living this process with him was so enlightening to us both. The other amazing silver lining is that I have this time with both of them. They are growing so fast and I know before I blink we will we leading more separate lives. I have been gifted with this time! (Some days the blessing is more obvious than other days). It is a pause before we’re swept away. To see them adapt. To see that they’re kind and wise and oh so smart. Oh yeah and the refresher on seventh grade science was awesome.

Thank you for doing this. As always, Eric you are a beacon. Sending much much love

— D


I can generate income and stay at home

Hello Planet Waves,

I am a Cancer sun, with Virgo rising, and Virgo moon Mars Uranus and Neptune. I live in a rural village on the north shore of Lake Ontario, in Canada.

Since March 15, when my work place closed down and the hall where I teach exercise classes closed, my life has changed. I quickly took my exercise classes online, and found great support and engagement within my community. I am able to generate income AND stay in the sanctity of my home. Very important to me as a Cancer sun.

My daughter was thrown out of university with 48 hours’ notice on March 13. My egg-laying chickens arrived April 7th, and my golden retriever had pups on April 24th. My home is filled with life. Having all of these critters and beings around me has felt rich indeed. I am connected, trusted, loving and loved.
My garden has never been so abundant. Raised beds and cold frames constructed in late March produced sturdy seedlings that are now bearing fruit and feeding me. Having puppies and chickens in my fenced front yard, has made my yard a go to place for people with children. My fence welcomed neighbours who visited from a distance, leaning on the fence to chat, catch up, share the news, watch the puppies and ask about the chickens.

I like this slower pace of life. I like being in my home, in my yard, and in my garden. I like being surrounded by my critters.

Moving forward, I take the recognition that I want to have less interaction with corporatist, capitalist consumerism, And more interaction with collaborative, community generosity. I choose to be more directly in charge of the fabric of my daily life, the quality of my food, and the compassionate nature of my interactions with other beings- humans, animals, birds and plants.
My little village, oft overrun with tourists, has been quiet, calm and peaceful for three months. It is only now beginning to fill with tourists again.

Life has been good with more time, money, consciousness, and intention.

Thanks Eric, for being part of my ability to think deeply about all that is going on, questioning misinformation and fabricated statistics.
But please, can we hype the false statistics so we can extend this quietude a little longer. Please?

My blessings,
Jennifer

I have co-led a weekly collage class for 26 years in our art studio, and have missed being with many of our wonderful students. The silver lining is that several of them have been communicating with me via email…. sharing feelings, videos, spiritual insights, images of their collages, and other inspiring, educational and uplifting info.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

I feel very fortunate to be making the best of and even thriving in this strange new world

I have co-led a weekly collage class for 26 years in our art studio, and have missed being with many of our wonderful students. The silver lining is that several of them have been communicating with me via email…. sharing feelings, videos, spiritual insights, images of their collages, and other inspiring, educational and uplifting info. Through these exchanges I’ve come to know them (and they me) in new and deeper ways, and feel even closer to them than before.

I’m also enjoying working in my little home studio. I feel very fortunate to be making the best of and even thriving in this strange new world!

Thanks Eric for this suggestion, and for your fantastic reporting on Covid-19….one of several brave voices trying to get to the truth of it all…much needed in the world right now. And I love Planet Waves and have subscribed since the beginning!

Blessings of the Solstice,

Barbara


Woke up this morning, put on my slippers

When John Prine (one of my all-time faves) died on April 9th, I looked at his chart and noticed he had Neptune conjunct his Sun at 8 degrees which is the exact same conjunction I have. So I said to myself, if John Prine can be a musician so can I! Taught myself to play guitar in about six weeks and have already played a performance!

— Laura

I’m feeling the Spiritual Warrior aspect of my personality alive and kickin’, questioning everything! I’m experiencing Mother Nature alive around my home with wild turkeys, foxes, newborn fawns and many different types of birds.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

Emotions are totally raw, ranging from fear, anger, to love & compassion

Silver Linings—

First, this is an awesome idea! I’m taking better care of myself, walking around the yard with my wife every day. I look forward to these walks! I’m practicing daily routines (NIA dance, bicycle riding, golf with friends) that are improving my position on this spinning Marble, holistically.

The emotions are totally raw, ranging from fear, anger, to love & compassion. I’m feeling the Spiritual Warrior aspect of my personality alive and kickin’, questioning everything! I’m experiencing Mother Nature alive around my home with wild turkeys, foxes, newborn fawns and many different types of birds.

I’ve got my eyes open, understanding appearances are deceiving, holding ground the clearest, strongest way, ready, alert to what’s happening, now.

Sincerely,

Kenny


Working remotely has already forced some efficiencies that we will keep

I’ve transitioned to working 100% from home, which suits me very well, and saves the carbon footprint and mental gridlock of commuting. I get to keep this arrangement at least through the end of the year. Working remotely has already forced some efficiencies that we will get to keep, and I feel the culture of our organization shifting to where a partial work-from-home arrangement may be possible in the long-term.

— Jesse

What I’m learning is there is much more for me to learn. I need to be open, see with new eyes and speak up when I observe racism in any situation.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

I have been able to step back from a lot of the fear and anxiety over CV-19

I am an 84-year old retired math teacher, still tutoring high school students. I’ve spent the past 15 summers in Kenya, as a volunteer math teacher. So, of course, I’m a bit bummed to be unable to go this year. The schools there are closed, just like here. What I’ve learned, in light of that is how to use zoom, how to use a webcam so I can do remote tutoring, including students in Kenya!! Students in form 4 (Sr. year) are preparing for their exit exams, which are extremely hard, so this year is even more stressful. I find I’m liking remote tutoring almost as much as side-by-side.

As I read Planet Waves and other such publications, I have been able to step back from a lot of the fear and anxiety over CV-19 to see this as part of Gaia’s cycles. Somehow, just knowing it is “in the stars” makes the problem bearable. However, if I had fallen victim to the virus I might be a bit less relaxed about it.

The simultaneous rising awareness of racism and its manifestations has helped me to confront my own inner racism—which we ALL have, regardless of race. Recognition is the first step to overcoming, as best we can. In my spiritual group we are beginning discussion of personal as well as institutional racism. People of color in my community are sharing more and more the way they daily have to protect themselves from racism in every aspect of their lives. I think I’m beginning to “get it” at a deeper level. When black male friends of mine tell me they are fearful when they are stopped by police, which happens to them MANY more times that to my white friends, when mothers tell me how fearful they are for their sons, is hits me at the gut level as well as the heart.

What I’m learning is there is much more for me to learn. I need to be open, see with new eyes and speak up when I observe racism in any situation.

Thanks for this opportunity to share.

–- Margo


So many, it would hardly interest anyone to read.

I am after a major, major one that I cannot tell publicly, but I didn’t want to not respond to something so tuned with what is really happening.

I just closed a FB conversation a moment ago where a real friend of mine is inviting people in her surroundings to become a neighborhood again, such as to run errands for others, to go for walks with grandparents, to be friendly to each other again, to exchange without money (we call this trueque, which is an ancient Andean practice).

And there are many other experiences going on in the city (which is the capital, not a small city, and has several vexing problems). Amidst the curfew the bike was voted unanimously as the means of communication for social distancing. I just came back using one of the newly created bike paths, alongside the main road.

I frankly cannot see anything that is not positive. It is as if things are getting in order.

I am just so happy that someone is picking the good vibe up.

— M

I frankly cannot see anything that is not positive. It is as if things are getting in order.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

Studying A Course in Miracles

My Silver Linings have been in the area of finances. Pre COVID19 I had a car payment, car insurance added to my regular expenses. Even though I live in an affordable housing apartment and have Section 8 housing assistance and food stamps things have been very tight.

My rent and car payment remained the same. My car insurance was discounted for April and May. That allowed me to have enough money to buy some taxable items that I usually can’t get. My monthly food stamp benefit of $16 went up to the full amount for one person at the Florida cap amount to $194 each month the last three months.

As for quarantining in place, that hasn’t been much different than before the pandemic. I’ve been doing that more or less out of necessity for about 6 years.

I just continue my studying my ACIM and other material to help my Spiritual growth and enjoying Planet Waves.

— Alicia


Learning true empathy

The silver lining for me is the sort of Aquarian Age/Plutonian hierarchical meltdown causing those who would otherwise have written off the less privileged as free-loaders, now learning what it is like to be at the mercy of outside forces they can’t seemingly control – whether economic, racial, political, astrological, spiritual, physical or just plain viral, in both the literal and figurative sense of the word.

Compassion in the Latin, compati, means to suffer with, and so many often do not learn true empathy until they have “suffered with” the people they normally ignore. At this stage in history, with unprecedented access to instantaneous information, there are now a vast majority of all humans in exactly the same boat. I do not believe George Floyd will have died in vain.

Obviously the wealthy are never going to be hit as hard as the poor, but at least they are realizing that they can no longer shunt major human rights issues to the side lest they lose their business entirely. The arrogant are falling and the meek are being heard, though at great cost to life and freedoms, while the meltdown of the infrastructure that keeps our cities functioning is mirrored by the literal burning of buildings and businesses.

The power of both Uranus and Pluto to enact sudden irreversible change will transform our world immeasurably, and I optimistically believe it will be for the better. Aquarian mindset detests hierarchy, and one astrologer I knew in Berkeley said she believed the Twin Towers crashing down were the indicators that we had truly entered the Aquarian Age. She also felt that Aquarian solutions would be so left field that it would be impossible to predict how they would pan out, only that change was a comin,’ it would involve unforeseen innovations, and there would be no looking back.

All in all, once the birth of the new age has finished its last painful, bloody contractions, I believe a beautiful but unpredictably inventive and community oriented era will rise from the ashes like some singularly eccentric phoenix with a passion for global transformation. It will not be easy, but if we let go of Piscean unquestioning faith and embrace radical cultural self-examination, we will see it in our lifetimes.

Best and blessings,

Lara

I would have to say that because of so much of the extra time I’ve had, I have been able to take time to work on/review spiritual practices that have deepened and rewarded my life.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

I welcomed the enforced chance to reset at home

I always wanted a sabbatical and my type of job (healthcare, counseling) never offered one. I welcomed the enforced chance to reset at home; grateful for local conservation lands to explore ‘forest bathing’ daily long, long walks, work in my garden, read many, many books, studied spirituality via Podcasts, teleseminars, wrote snail mail letters to all eight nieces, nephews.

I studied French every day. I enjoyed simpler pleasures like vast empty swaths of time to dream and create at will. I never once turned on TV, instead caught up via NY Times, Boston Globe, NPR on radio. I rested, giving my body a true extended chance to acclimate to the season. I relished later wake ups, afternoon naps if tired, and ate food I prepared. I lived alone, fairly simply and relished the quiet. I practiced deep breathing and occasionally sang. I intermittently I met a friend to walk at a masked distance.

I returned to work in the clinic building five weeks ago more serene, very cheerful, fully grounded and have kept up the woods walks. My vibration has elevated! I am Grateful for my good health and Serenity.

— Patricia


Spiritual practices that have deepened and rewarded my life

I would have to say that because of so much of the extra time I’ve had, I have been able to take time to work on/review spiritual practices that have deepened and rewarded my life. This would not have happened without forced downtime and introspection…For that I am definitely grateful.

— Shelly


Goodbye toxic deodorant

Ok, this is a small one. I have not felt impelled to wear deodorant during these times.

— Tom

I did have a small part-time job, 20 hours a week. Didn’t need it to survive. But it was my main social outlet. Yet I don’t regret that loss. Shouldn’t the extra time of the retirement years be used to turn inward and self-reflect?

By Lanvi Nguyen.

More time to sit quietly and either pray or count breaths

Hi,

I am 72-year-old gay man with a much younger partner of two years who moved in with me four months before Covid hit our country in March. Kevin works from home so we are together literally 7/24. This period has been the test of our relationship, our communication process, and our skills at giving each other space. There have been bumps but we are doing well considering the difference in age.

With regard to myself I am walking daily rather than three or four times a week I did before Covid. Need to get out of the house and daily walks give me that opportunity. I also find more time to sit quietly and either pray or count breaths.

We are growing cherry tomatoes on our balcony. Both of us have started small Zen container gardens. I am reading up on fixed stars and constellations. And every day while Kevin works in his office I visit a different city park to walk and read.

Maybe the largest benefit has been the money I am saving on credit card use. 300-400 dollars a month.

I have been a solitary type all my life so the transition to isolation was not difficult and actually rather welcomed. I did have a small part-time job, 20 hours a week. Didn’t need it to survive. But it was my main social outlet. Yet I don’t regret that loss. Shouldn’t the extra time of the retirement years be used to turn inward and self-reflect?

Thank-you for the opportunity to say something positive about this most difficult of times.

Sincerely,

Kenneth

The masks are off, and individuals, groups, and businesses have been revealed for what they truly are. I have much greater awareness of who and what is truly resonating with me and operating on my level of consciousness.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

Greater discernment of people and organizations

Greater discernment about the people and organizations I wish to support and surround myself with. The masks are off, and individuals, groups, and businesses have been revealed for what they truly are. I have much greater awareness of who and what is truly resonating with me and operating on my level of consciousness. I feel so close to these souls, and appreciate them more than ever. I have let go of all that diminishes and degrades my soul.

My relationship with my children, with my friends, and with my lover has deepened and evolved as we navigate the intense twists and turns of the global drama. We have learned to rely and lean on one another.

On another note: thank you so much for your work! Planet Waves has been a godsend to me, particularly in the early days of the pandemic, by helping me discern light from dark, truth from falsehood in the murky shadow atmosphere of our times. I greatly appreciate the integrity, humanity, and thoughtfulness behind everything you do. I hear you making crucial observations about the matrix that no one else is talking about. A million thanks.

— Kelli


Taking turns emailing poetry

Hi!

Thank you so much for all you do!

It’s great you are sharing COVID-19 Silver Lining Experiences! Here is mine.

Background: I am a freelance writer/author/communications professional/poet. I am fortunate I was only furloughed for a month from my three-day-a-week communications job, and am now back in action, mainly working remote from home. I also have some freelance projects in and out. I live alone and my Maltese BeauBear and Patch the cat are a great comfort to me.

Since April 6th, another poet/writer friend of mine and I started a daily writing practice I call “Solitary Duets.” We take turns emailing the other the first stanza of a poem every day. They respond with a new stanza, then the originator returns it and the recipient writes the fourth and final stanza. It is kind of like a tennis game where we take turns lobbing stanzas, and throw each other the occasional curveball response to respond to.

They have been somber, thoughtful, humorous, documenting events/observances, etc. It’s different every day. Sometimes it’s like, “Oh no, my turn to start the stanza…” then I’m like “It’s only eight lines a day, minimum, you can do it.” It’s a commitment to each other and a sharing that keeps us in a creative mindset during this upside/down time. We often surprise ourselves with what we come up with, and are considering publishing the collection.

Thank you for the opportunity to share a silver lining, and for all you do to provide such important information and insights.

xo

Patricia

There you are. Thanks for asking. As I’m fond of saying, ‘It’s an ill wind that blows no one any good’ — an adage that, after 30 years, my partner still finds puzzling.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

Relocating and the digital house tour

Hey, Eric –

My partner and I have been planning to sell our South Orange home, where we’ve lived for 18 years, and relocate to Rochester NY, where housing costs are lower, and we have a circle of friends.

We were on our way to Rochester, in March, to look at another half-dozen houses, when our realtor called and said the governor had just shut down the state because of the coronavirus, and he wouldn’t be able to show us any homes after all. When we got back to our house, however, it turned out that he was able to take us on a tour, using his cell phone, of a home he thought we’d like. We did like it, there was little competition for the property, and our bid was accepted.

Getting out of our South Orange house was difficult, though, as I’m a visual artist, making sculpture from found objects, and all available spaces were full of stuff. The Covid-19 shut down didn’t impact me at all, because I really couldn’t do anything but throw things away, and pack anyway. We were fortunate to find a high-power real estate agent, who told us that, because so many families were wanting to leave the urban sprawl of New York, properties like ours were becoming even more attractive than usual.

After some delays, we were able to schedule an open house a week ago, and there were so many interested parties that the realtor had to limit visitors’ time in the home to just fifteen minutes. At the end of the weekend, we had five strong offers for our home, all at least $20-30K over our original asking price. The house is now under contract, and we hope to close by the end of July.

It’s difficult to say how different things would have been, without the impact of the coronavirus shut-down, but usually, the best time to sell a house in our market is in March — but this past March, no one was showing houses, so we were squeezed into a very favorable sales environment, by something no one would have considered beneficial to anyone.

There you are. Thanks for asking. As I’m fond of saying, ‘It’s an ill wind that blows no one any good’ — an adage that, after 30 years, my partner still finds puzzling.

Hoping you and yours are well and thriving, in spite of prevailing conditions.

Sincerely,

Walter

There have been times in this third month of it that I have wanted to flee, but noticed that everyone seemed to want to flee from wherever they are, yet the ones who lived here have learned to weave around each other and mostly make room for different people’s decisions of how much distance to keep, how much to wear the masks just like “normal” times when we somehow manage to live so closely together with our differences.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

Notes from the epicenter

I live in Manhattan, the “epicenter” for quite a while of Covid and yet there have been many silver linings. The biggest and most surprising one was learning to teach the Feldenkrais Method even privately – which typically involves touch- via Zoom. I don’t love computers and pretty much only know what I need to know about using them. In the week as we were going into the Pause I “serendipitously” bumped into some new young neighbors and was bemoaning not being able to learn how to be the host for Zoom. She immediately offered to guide me through it.

We did it via my cell and computer and she was a perfect teacher for me, walking me step by step without too much information at a time and following my requests for how to best give me the necessary info, and by the end of one session I was able to start teaching.

At first it was those of my regular local students who were willing to try it, and when something went wrong my neighbor was willing to rescue me in that first week. Then a relative of a neighbor student who lives in San Juan Island WA heard I was teaching on Zoom and started to take lessons; then two friends of hers noticed her improvements and they as NEW students wanted to try it. I now have 3 students there, one in Texas, NC, Seattle and Cambridge MA. I am now almost at a normal load doing something that amazes me, supports them, and helps me stay grounded and supported financially! It also gives me more freedom in the future. I am so grateful even as we all know it takes more energy of a certain kind to teach via Zoom and sometimes the internet or Zoom fail me, but I still call it a blessing.

I am also very connected to my neighborhood and while many people fled to their country places or wherever, those of us who were here bonded and clapped every night at 7 as a thank you to nurses, doctors and essential workers, but that 5 minutes also helped us know we made it through another day.

There have been times in this third month of it that I have wanted to flee, but noticed that everyone seemed to want to flee from wherever they are, yet the ones who lived here have learned to weave around each other and mostly make room for different people’s decisions of how much distance to keep, how much to wear the masks just like “normal” times when we somehow manage to live so closely together with our differences. It is pretty amazing that for being so individualistic as a group I’ve never heard of someone who doesn’t wear a mask going up to a masked person and coughing in their face, etc.

I have also as a woman in her 60’s made 4 friends in their 30’s or so with whom I have a lot in common, in fact more so than some of my long-time friends. I have been doing a lot of Qigong and meditating and I found that frequently I let my intuition or gut guide me when to go to which store when needed etc. and it seemed to be a good guide.

There is more, but the current stage of fireworks in the middle of the night waking me leaves me too tired to write about this very complicated time of negotiating the opening up again, and the details of the demonstrations and shifts of the policing process.

— Maxine

The silver lining for me has been the gift of time and quiet. I have needed the world to slow down for about 12 years, so this shutdown has given me time to focus on my health, more time to be quiet and reflect. More time to rest. More time to dance.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

Made for this!

I was built for a shutdown. I am practiced at living every day with an awareness of trying/hoping not to get sick, at not being able to go out and about (when I don’t feel well) – and therefore also practiced at living with a high level of unpredictability. So the shutdown has not shaken my foundation.

The silver lining for me has been the gift of time and quiet. I have needed the world to slow down for about 12 years, so this shutdown has given me time to focus on my health, more time to be quiet and reflect. More time to rest. More time to dance.

I have lost two family members to the virus, and it is difficult to grieve without gathering with other family members, but I have the Grateful Dead’s American Beauty to help me through.

— Sheila


So much still hangs in balance

What a great idea, Eric.

This time has been an explosion of new ideas about the future for me, personally. And maybe about the past and present too. But mostly the realization that so much still hangs in balance, and we still have choices in the outcome. The abundance of choices is what amazes me. And the thought that is evoked in the analysis of those choices and their consequences.

I have learned that being self-quarantined is easily livable with things like Zoom, Skype, What’s App, and Facetime. But I also am more aware of the value of being able to socially interact with people live again too.

Wishing you well and good health!

— Ray

There are so many gifts in this time despite the disruption and suffering that is very real.

Photo by Lanvi Nguyen.

The perfect time to witness and reflect on my life

I love that you’re doing this, Eric! There are so many gifts in this time despite the disruption and suffering that is very real.

My Silver Linings — I’ve had the opportunity to open up the Pandora’s Box of more than 41 years of journals, other writings, and photographs. At 75, the perfect time to witness and reflect on my life. Time to organize, make books, write more! I’m more grounded in my daily practice of yoga and meditation, and get to walk in nature every day. I’ve done several deep and expansive online workshops. I feel more of myself (maybe Neptune through my double Pisces self!), and at peace in my skin. My garden is flourishing! So grateful!

— Mary


Back to the simpler times before America Online

Silver Linings:

My sense of self has returned to a pre-AOL state of being.

In becoming more analog I notice less interest in the internet. I am on email less. I have unsubscribed to many lists and feel a growing space within me to connect more directly in the old fashioned way.

By voice.

I told my yoga nidra students that I will no longer be sending weekly emails to remind them of class; they need to take responsibility for remembering. My voice on the calls (yoga studio’s are not allowed to be open where I live) has become fuller, wider, more resonant with stillness, emptiness and calm.

As a result my classes are deeper. The healing(s) and transformations are greater. My work within the quantum field has become more powerful all because I have slowed down, disconnected from the “net” and taken this time of a so-called “shut-down” and “shelter-at-home” as gift of a “re-boot”.

I have re-booted myself back to that time prior to America On-Line and am grateful for the time to do so. Marshall was so right; this media is distorting our sense of Now.

Sincerely Yours,

JeanMarie

I haven’t had this much free time in more years than I can remember and it feels right to take a break and check in with how my life is going. Things are good for me.

By Lanvi Nguyen.

The Covid Extended Vacation

I am currently enjoying an extended vacation due to losing my jobs because of Covid. I’m gardening more, I’m seeing my small bubble of people quite a bit too so our relationships have changed.

I haven’t had this much free time in more years than I can remember and it feels right to take a break and check in with how my life is going. Things are good for me.

Also this provided me with the opportunity to visit a part of Canada via bicycle that I couldn’t during “normal” years. I’ve always dreamed about bike touring but never had the time. I could go on about all the benefits of this unusual time for me.

Sincerely,
A Taurus waiting patiently for transformation

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