So many words have expanded meaning during a pandemic. Even the word pandemic itself, once associated with something far off, either from a movie or the distant past, before the vast majority of us were even alive, suddenly became present and very real.
During Memorial Day weekend, when we honor those who have died in military service, protecting our nation, let’s consider the word protection. As we’ve known it in the past, protection was associated with armour, military, guns, walls, machinery. In this brave new world, I challenge you to expand your understanding of protection to include it as a positive tool towards a healthier life for us all.
We’ve been raising awareness for years about the importance of protecting your brain and the five key elements:
- Nutrition (a mediterranean diet),
- Social Engagement (and learning new things) and
- De-stressing your life (How do you react? Finding joy).
These five elements, which also protect your mental, physical and emotional health, along with being sensitive to those factors for the people in your community, matter now more than ever. Learn more here
As we each consider our own risk factors and develop our own threshold for risk, in this evolving world, protecting yourself and others safely doesn’t have to be a fearful, stressful endeavor. In fact, it could be just the opposite. Get the facts, be still, figure out what matters the most to you and then find creative solutions. It’s how I taught Sophie to approach a math problem, it’s how we teach Sweet Readers to break through challenges to discover a person. It’s how Tess copes with social distancing from a grandfather she loves to be close to (read Tess’ blogpost here).
These past five months I’ve been tested more than I could have imagined. Being triply vulnerable to COVID19 could easily have found me putting up more walls, isolating myself further and becoming seriously frightened and depressed. Those were just not options for me (though I have surely had and continue to have my moments!). Physical distancing? A medical imperative. Masks, gloves, wipes, hats and even sunglasses have become organic parts of my daily life along with just about everyone I know.
At the same time, however, once I understood my approach to the evolving facts and changing circumstances, and developed my own rhythm for assessing risk, I have been able to put down walls, open my heart, strengthen my relationships and community and find fresh air and serious joy! I’m writing more, dancing more, laughing and singing more and listening better. It continues to be an evolving process, but slowing down and incorporating stillness into my daily routine has also fostered an exciting new creativity and continues to fuel my love of this one precious life.
As Dr. Rudy Tanzi noted, “The world you are experiencing is largely up to the choices you make”.
Maybe the expanded definition of protection could include love and compassion.
My challenge to you? Get still and find creative smart solutions; they’re there if you release your fears and open your heart and mind.
P.S. The featured image is of four women (mothers and daughters) who helped protect me in April and May, by providing a safe home for me here in Boston. Deb and Amy are also fierce protectors of their families and have found creative ways to make protection fun (dancing, gardening, enabling their girls to dance with the Boston Ballet even though neither family lives in Massachusetts, let alone Boston!). Thank you Amy, Deb, Sarah and Georgia!