Present. What an interesting multiple meaning word. The pandemic has pushed us to be present, regardless of our circumstances. This is a gift!
It can be so easy to mind wander, to stand in the presence of another and be miles away, distracted by our own ruminations.
Ironically, during these pandemic times, many of us have been forced to keep physical distance from the people in our lives we care most about. This has been particularly agonizing for people with loved ones in need or on the West Coast as multiple burgeoning fires spread across three states and millions of acres of land.
And yet, with a little help from our friends, the gift of emotional, intellectual presence, perhaps more critical now than ever, has the power to engage the heart, mind and soul and give people purpose, love and a feeling of stability, especially when our own centers are being shaken.
While sometimes it feels heartbreaking not to be able to see or hug my own daughter, during our calls Sophie speaks from the heart and has my undivided attention, my full presence. I can feel her heart completely open and her open-hearted presence with me is a precious, heartwarming gift. I feel the same gifts from my friends and so many in our communities and hope I am giving that gift right back to them.
This month we are playing with Latin music in preparation for the first Hispanic Sweet Readers bridged communities. I can feel the music and even over Zoom, know our empowered Sweet Readers from De La Salle Academy, scattered throughout the five boroughs, will through it bond with their adult participants in Washington Heights and find common ground. Music has a brilliant way of bringing you back and keeping you present within just a few beats.
As we explore herbs preparing for our newest curriculum, we know the imagination and memory can also create healing “scents” across geographies, even in those who have lost their sense of smell. I can’t wait to see our adult participants in New Hampshire connecting with our Sweet Readers in Toronto – transcending technology, geography and the pandemic to be fully present with and discover each other.
These connections – to music, herbs, poetry, art, style and stories – bring us together and conquer loneliness, isolation, anxiety and fear. Giving someone the present of your presence can be as good for you as for the other….a vital reminder that we each and all matter, no matter what.
May rain fall and wind slow on the West Coast of the US, quelling the flames and devastation soon.
Wishing you a delightful dance as summer and fall take their turns and we transition into a new season and year ahead.