A Letter from Karen Metzguer, RN & Executive Director
Good day all! Even if no one you know personally has had the novel virus this year, you have lived through another year of “new arrivals” to your life. For some it is a new skill, a new pet, baby or partner, opportunity to work, or opportunity to retire. For others it is a broken bone, loss of income, a broken relationship, an unwelcome move, or a new health concern. Each year we have the opportunity to welcome something new in our lives…even if it is unexpected. Rumi, in his poem “The Guest House,” implores us to “welcome and entertain them all!” How are we to do that?
In my opinion, we do that best when we can rely on our community and circles of friends. Our usual supports for celebrating and coping with what life brings have been severely curtailed. We find ourselves not gathering, not hugging, not cooking for one another, not quilting or playing cards (in the same room), not singing together, the very things that make us friends and community.
The solstice season approaches. Nights seem endless. We long for spring. While we expect a challenging winter, I have a challenge for you with the chance to win a prize! Keep reading!
Public health officials have repeatedly demonstrated that “abstinence only” messages are not the most effective, and many of you are experiencing the real burden of extreme social distancing. In this infectious disease crisis, here is my 3-part challenge for the next 90 days:
I. Eliminate all time indoors exceeding 15 minutes where anyone you don’t live with is unmasked. For example, no indoor leisurely dining, whether in a friend’s home or in a restaurant, or, no gym workout if people are unmasked even if equipment is well spaced. Please contact me if you would like to discuss guidelines for a “pod or bubble mate.”
II. Add a new physical activity that you will do each week. Pick something you can look forward to and enjoy like a yoga class, a walk in the park, any new activity of your choice that you do at least 15 minutes a week until the Spring Equinox. Exercises done from your chair count – just one new thing and do it every week.
III. Stay curious about the vaccine, curious about how folks are thinking about it, curious to learn how distribution is unfolding. This is the largest public health undertaking in our history, this is no time for harsh judgment or Monday morning quarterbacking. Stay curious and let me know how you are thinking about this. We are in this together with people who will be eager to get the vaccine when offered, and people who won’t – just stay curious!
I am reminding you that you are both clever and resourceful and that challenging times won’t last forever. “The presence of beauty doesn’t magically remove all pain, but the absence of beauty makes things a lot harder to bear.” Look for beauty everywhere. It is still there. This protracted period of correctly choosing the safety of staying home may have caused you not to notice. I count the beauty of your friendship and of your support among my treasured blessings!
The Guest House
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes
as an unexpected visitor.
Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they are a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.
The dark thought, the shame, the malice.
meet them at the door laughing and invite them in.
Be grateful for whatever comes.
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
— Jalal al-Din Rumi,
translation by Coleman Barks
10 prizes will be awarded in a drawing from the collection of Villagers who drop me an email; let me know that you’re up for the mask challenge, the new activity, and that you plan to stay “mostly curious” from now until March 20, 2021, the Spring Equinox! Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I hope to hear from at least 100 of you before the New Year begins! All email received by January 15, 2020 will be eligible for a prize in a drawing to be held on March 20, 2021.