Me in the Middle Holding Space for My Country

Holding Space #2

Holding Space for My Country

My country is having a meltdown…… and I’m holding space for her.

When I began writing my story a few years back, I was motivated by an underlying sense that outcomes in our personal lives are greatly influenced by the political climate that’s unfolding at the coinciding time. Our attitudes, whether we admit it or not, are formed and shaped by our political ideologies and vice versa ~ Our political ideologies are shaped by our convictions and character for the good or bad. It’s how we navigate through those outcomes that can make us or break us.

I’m holding space for me and my country. What’s unfolding now is not normal and very uncertain. I’ve been in this place before.

[Liminal space ~ When you have left the tried and true, but have not yet been able to replace it with anything else. It is when you are between your old comfort zone and any possible new answer.]

We’re not sure of who we can trust anymore. Sources we thought we could trust have been proven to be false. People who we thought we knew in our personal lives have shown a side of them that has alarmed us. We’re setting boundaries to protect ourselves.  Our country is showing signs of trauma in dealing with the recent events. I’m holding space for America and hoping she’ll find her way.

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 This moment in our country’s history has become one of those events. We have a president who shows all the signs of an unhealthy personality. Signs that I’ve come to recognize as red flags and abusive over the years. He strives to divide us rather than unite us. How do you detach from the country you love so much when you see it in an unhealthy relationship?

We’re all in that liminal space right now. It’s been a long time coming. We have left the ‘tried and true’, as dysfunctional as that was, and are now moving into a totally unknown territory.

My circle of trust is in my faith that divine grace and goodness will see us through. Wherever this takes us we’ll have the strength and courage to take the steps we need to take. I wake up each day grateful for being alive and wanting to devote my time to the things that bring me joy and peace. Right now, I feel a sense of sorrow for this country I love. I believe America needs to go through this learning experience that’s still unfolding. I believe it’s time for change. I believe many are ready for change.

(My eyes replaced the virus raining down on me with a beam of holy white light from the heavens. I moved all the virus to the outside of that beam.)

I’m holding space for America through these growing pains and hoping to see her move forward to a better place.

© Mary Lou  ~ 2017 (Updated 2020)

Image (c) by Mary Lou

Pandemic 2020 ~ March

COVID-19 Coronavirus

When did I first hear about Coronavirus? I’m trying to remember.

My own life had slowed down over the last year or so with the onset of medical problems. It forced me to slow down and ‘self-isolate’ as I took time out for physical therapy and self-care. While at physical therapy I met a former co-worker and he was also working on recovering from injuries from a fall. He’s 86 and I’m 78.

For the past year and a half, we’ve been enjoying each other’s company, knowing that it was precious time given to us that we hadn’t expected at our age. We enjoyed trips to the Shenandoah National Park, went to lunch or prepared a meal together at home and spent many hours just talking about our lives and growing closer to each other. We knew that because of age we had no guarantee of continuing this time together. Our families were beginning to mention the possibility of finding new arrangements to help us with daily living.

Then, in January, the decision was made that Pat’s family would help him move to an independent/assisted living facility. I’d been going back and forth about twice a week to be with him as he wasn’t able to drive anymore. It was on March 8th while I was there that I told him about hearing the news of a virus that was spreading and how it was spread. Never did I think that that would be the last time that I’d hug him.

I was beginning to tune in more to the news briefings; local, national and global; and the implications of what was developing began sinking in. Then I got a call from Pat that no more visitors were allowed in his facility; no family, no friends and only essential staff and medical professionals. We made a vow that we would talk with each other every day and always ended the call with ‘Love you!’. He was still able to mingle with others who lived there in the common area and share meals in the dining room.

Each time we spoke on the phone, there was a new development within our local area and new guidelines. The growing numbers of positive cases statewide, countrywide and worldwide were setting off alarms. And then the news came that there was a positive case of Coronavirus at Pat’s assisted living place. All residents were guarantined in their apartments. Meals would be brought to them and each day the staff would be taking their temperatures and checking for symptoms.

For me, I’m into my fourth week of self-isolation. I leave my apartment once a week to drive around the block to the apartment complex’s mailboxes. Early on during the self-isolation, my daughter-in-law brought me groceries to stock up on. My niece picked up prescriptions for me, and my sister and her husband dropped off some ‘emergency’ wine.  It gave me hope to know that there was help to get through this. Soon I signed up at my local grocery store for delivery to my home. Yet I’m wondering how long we’re going to continue this way. There are so many unknowns.

There are increased texts, emails and phone calls between my siblings and me. My sons are reaching out “How are you doing Mom?”. One son is guarantined with his family in their apartment in Brooklyn, another self-isolating in Saudi Arabia with his family. Another son is on the other side of the US distanced in miles and contact with me. It’s a time for connection and my heart longs for that.

My granddaughter in Arizona wrote this beautiful Facebook post about grieving for her high school Class of 2020:

“What honestly breaks my heart is that the seniors don’t know if they are going to get to walk across that stage on graduation night and take that diploma in front of their family and classmates on the day we all have been looking forward to for 12 years; counting it down day by day as the year went on; knowing exactly the date you graduate.
It could be postponed.
It could be cancelled.
But if we are lucky, it will be exactly on time.
EVERY SINGLE senior wants to feel the
feeling of relief, success, and the “I did it” feeling while grabbing their diploma and getting to throw their cap in the air with all of their classmates.
To all the underclassmen: It may seem fantastic, I mean no school for two more weeks?!
Who wouldn’t love that?!
But it’s the seniors that it’s gonna hit the most, when they realize their SENIOR (last ever)prom might have to be cancelled, and things might have to be delayed, and that college, the one they just found out they got accepted into is now closed due to the virus and now they have to hope it opens back up by the time they finish up high school to continue their journey.
I know this is all for our safety and I’m grateful that our health is coming first, and they are taking all the precautions they can. But it is sad. But all we can do it keep our fingers crossed and hope everything ends perfectly.

Keep your heads up class of 2020!”

© Hailey Askew

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This morning I got a long email from my son who’s on the front line as a cardiologist. He said that the briefing from the hospital administration is that Virginia will slowly begin the surge like NYC, only a smaller scale, in about 2-3 weeks. The hospital will fill quickly and the surge is expected to last at least two months, taxing all resources and healthcare workers, and taking us into May!

Where I was previously wondering how I would be able to pay my rent if the rents kept increasing every year the way they have been over the last five years, now I’m seeing so many who can’t pay their rent because they’ve lost their jobs! Now there’s talk of a nationwide 90 day rent moratorium.

All we can hope for is that Americans will finally see how distracted we all were and how divided we were with partisan politics. Hopefully we’ll open our eyes to how vulnerable we are and that we’ll begin to take care of ourselves more and take care of each other. We’ve taken so much for granted. And it took a force of nature ~ a highly contagious virus just going about doing its thing ~ to remind us of how precious it is to hug another human being. To remind us that we’re a small part of the universe and it doesn’t evolve around us. ‘Be humble or be humbled’.

Note: I had every intention of writing month to month during this Pandemic. This first post I wrote the end of March. As we all know, things got crazier and crazier. I was unable to focus on writing for the past four months. Now I’d like to go back and try to recapture some of the things we all experienced during the time. My next post will cover April.

Too Quickly

One of my beautiful blogger friends says what so many are feeling about the confusing and questionable behavior of some of our fellow citizens, including our president and vice president.

The happy Quitter!

Ein Mund-Nasen-Schutz am Strand von Tel Aviv

Feeling too safe, too quickly
Forgetting the ones we lost
What’s going to be the price I wonder
Restarting life at all costs

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Staying Home and Drawing Birds ~ Class Three

Staying home during the Pandemic 2020 has me leaning heavily on the enjoyable past-times that I used to enjoy. Turning to them once again has taken my mind off what’s happening outside my window and all over the world. I’m finding it hard to focus on reading. The things I’m turning to and finding rewarding are writing and sketching/watercolor.

One past-time that I’m getting a lot of joy out of is bird watching! What would I do without the view from my window watching all the local birds coming into my feeder. Little did I know that a huge portion of the world population is doing the same thing!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bird-watching.jpg

So, wanting to focus on something that would take my mind off of COVID-19, I began to think about sketching birds and watercoloring them with my new set of Sakura Koi watercolors. Or using colored pencils.

And along comes a Facebook Post about a cool webinar Audubon class ~ Drawing Birds ~ with John Muir Laws. If you’re on Facebook, you can find the videos on the Audubon California Facebook Page.

Class Three Drawings: Raptors (Birds of Prey)

Sketches (c) Mary Lou

Photos used from birdpixel.com, seeingbirds.com and pixabay.com

For more information on the Audubon webinar please visit their website: https://ca.audubon.org/?fbclid=IwAR1QD2Cgp8uW0B447dFt4KDzR-w7Z-uj3szdSqcVcYhxT4kinowhN7rcdYw

Staying Home and Drawing Birds ~ Class Two

Staying home during the Pandemic 2020 has me leaning heavily on the enjoyable past-times that I used to enjoy. Turning to them once again has taken my mind off what’s happening outside my window and all over the world. I’m finding it hard to focus on reading. The things I’m turning to and finding rewarding are writing and sketching/watercolor.

One past-time that I’m getting a lot of joy out of is bird watching! What would I do without the view from my window watching all the local birds coming into my feeder. Little did I know that a huge portion of the world population is doing the same thing!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bird-watching.jpg

So, wanting to focus on something that would take my mind off of COVID-19, I began to think about sketching birds and watercoloring them with my new set of Sakura Koi watercolors. Or using colored pencils.

And along comes a Facebook Post about a cool webinar Audubon class ~ Drawing Birds ~ with John Muir Laws. If you’re on Facebook, you can find the videos on the Audubon California Facebook Page.

Class Two Drawings: Shore Birds and Waterfowl

Stay tuned for Class Three Drawings: Raptors

Sketches (c) Mary Lou

Photos used from birdpixel.com, seeingbirds.com and pixabay.com

For more information on the Audubon webinar please visit their website: https://ca.audubon.org/?fbclid=IwAR1QD2Cgp8uW0B447dFt4KDzR-w7Z-uj3szdSqcVcYhxT4kinowhN7rcdYw