Well, here we are starting our third (or fourth) week of quarantine. I’d like to begin by thanking all of you that have responded to my previous communications with your support and kind words. I deeply appreciate knowing that I am part of such an exceptional community.
I hope you are all doing well. My family continues to do well. We certainly have had moments of anxiety, fear, frayed nerves and bored kids. (My fifteen-year-old daughter, Francesca admitted to me today that she has come to the realization that she is sick of her looking at her computer and wishes she could go back to school.) Go figure. I am well, I’ve had some aches and pains and a few slight dips in my spirit- as I’m sure you all have- but for the most part I find myself rested and eager to return to work with renewed energy , new ideas and an even deeper commitment to your care.
As I’m sure you all have had an information overload on all things COVID-19, I will keep my message focused on what we can do to maintain our health and wellbeing during these challenging times. I do, however, remain vigilant on looking at the specific data coming out of the LA department of public health. The LADPH is keeping a daily count on reported cases here in Los Angeles. Although this is a global Pandemic (as we all know what is happening in New York) it important for us to focus on the local situation. This is where the LADPH website becomes valuable as it reports the cases by individual cities within LA county, including South Bay. www.publichealth.lacounty.gov .
As you are all aware our beaches and trails were closed as of Friday. Given the midsummer like crowds we experienced last weekend, I’m sure this did not come as a surprise to any of us. And although inconvenient, it gives us yet another opportunity to look for creative ways to break out of our old routines. In my case Saturday mornings are my typical long run day and I had planned on doing my favorite 12-mile trail run through Palos Verdes. However, once the notification came across our cell phones Friday evening that all the trails and beaches were closed, I found myself wondering how far I could stray from my house. Considering that, I decided to do my 12-mile run by looping my neighborhood 12 times. Yes, I ran by my front door 12 times! And you know what, it turned out to be a great run. The novelty (and absurdity) of running around and around... and around my neighborhood became fun. The best part became that, after the 8th loop, I pulled into my house as if in a Daytona pit stop to hydrate, refuel and stretch – mid-run recoveries that I’m usually not able do out on the trails during a normal run. The last 4 miles were easy running.
Here are a few observations I’ve had while out running and walking on our neighborhood roads:
+ Many studies have shown that novel experiences are one of the most effective strategies for offsetting neurological degenerative changes associated with aging. I suspect that changing up our walking or running routes regularly is especially suitable for this potential benefit. We are now forced into this, so we may as well use our creativity to explore other areas of our neighborhoods and beyond.
The beaches and trails could probably use a break from our stopping
around on them anyway.
+ running down the middle of normally busy roads here in South Bay
+ When coming upon a walker or runner coming the other direction where there isn’t the space to give six feet, I am trying to be considerate of their space by stopping, stepping aside and letting them pass.
+ I’ve even found myself holding my breath while crossing paths with someone. (Intermittent Breath holding while walking or running is a training practice-whether there is real benefit or not remains to be seen, but it’s a challenge)
+ Finally, if you would like a fun and engaging app to record your new and novel perambulations; check out: strava.com . Many of you already use this app, but if it is new to you, it can be a lot of fun to explore, record and share your adventures.
+ Getting outdoors with my kids has been a blast.
Benefitting from rest and newly found time, I’ve been so pleased to be experiencing a burst of creative energy that I’ve put towards working on areas of growth for my practice. Even before all the recent events happened, we have been building a new website and creating new content that I am confident will of great value to all of you .Throughout the twenty years of practicing I have always supported the services I offer on the implicit core value of living well. Within that core value we then focus our treatments, education and empowerment on three specific pillars of our experiences that help us live well. They are Move Well, Eat Well and Think Well. For the past two weeks I have been working on making those core values more explicit with videos, audio recordings and blog posts. All to bring to you valuable and maybe even entertaining information. I can’t express how excited I am to finally share the insights and the ideas that I’ve discovered through my passion for living my life well.
We have also been busy here at home.
The most satisfying project we took on was to create a Zen garden. I “hired” my two daughters to help as we dug in and transformed a section of our yard into a peaceful and relaxing sanctuary. I learned from this experience that Francesca, as much as I love her, would not last 5 minutes in any labor-intensive job. She would indolently drag the rake across a small area of yard for a sweep or two, rest on the handle, and ask me what to do next. I had to repeatedly teach and prod her to continue to process of raking- as if the obviousness of the task (to rake the area until free of debris) wasn’t clear. My six-year-old, on the other hand, brought an exuberance of alacrity to the project. Except that her exuberance included hosing down all things, especially me, and on experimenting how much mud could be created thereby adding a water component to our garden. All in all, however, it was a great project, I had the girls outside getting dirty (very dirty) and we transformed some useless, neglected space into a little sanctuary in which I now sit writing this much too long note.
Lastly, I ‘d like to remind us that we have the opportunity to be the emotional leaders in our homes. Let us lead with calmness and equanimity. Let us be mindful in those moments when we realize that we have not been as disciplined in our speech as we would like. Those moments when we find ourselves tempted to repeat scary statistics or sensational sound bites coming from the news. Recognize when, for the most part, repeating any of this is of no value to our families. This is an example of the benefits of a mindfulness practice. Meditation is not a selfish act. When we have cultivated the skill of recognizing how our own minds operate, and with that , when we notice when our own fear and anxiety had taken hold of us - and we don’t act on those fears , we have cultivated a skill that can only be of great benefit to ourselves and everyone we love.
I continue to remain available for essential care and emergent situations that may come up, knowing that, by now, many of you could use care. Cindy will continue to check to messages daily and we will respond to your needs as they arise. Be assured that we will continue our strict protocols at the office to ensure your safety.
We will be together again. We will sing and we will dance.
Please enjoy this wonderful video to remind us how music can heal.