Cleaning Up My Perspective & Purses During COVID-19

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I work from home.  I’m used to it.  I’ve been busy, even as there’s a great deal of uncertainty in the entertainment industry.  Today, I took a breather and set out to the task of cleaning.  I cleaned my office and I emptied out my purses, which I hadn’t cleaned out since the lock down began .  It was like going though a mini time-capsule.

 

What was in my purses:

promotional materials for a film festival screening I attended

breath mints

coin change for parking

assorted colored pencils, highlighters and post-it notes for marking scripts on-the-go when I chose to work at cafes

an extension cord for plugging my lap top into an electrical outlet at a cafe

a movie ticket

Cleaning out my purses hit me hard.  As I cleaned, I felt like I had just been through a strange time warp.  We don’t know what the future will bring, though we’ve been told there’s a “new normal” coming.  What I want to emphasize here is that, yes, all of this made me blue today.  However, I quickly pivoted to my gratitude for those experiences and the hope that I can have them again soon when it’s safe to do so.

The film festival promo materials reminded me that I love film festivals and seeing my work on the big screen.    I am grateful to all the film festivals that have ever screened my work.

The breath mints were comic.  Though we’ll be wearing masks for awhile, the mints reminded me that we need to keep a (minty) fresh perspective.  Let’s not get stuck into to many ruts or bad thought grooves at this time.

They stopped enforcing most parking ordinances since the stay-at-home order in Los Angeles, so I haven’t needed to feed a meter.  Admittedly, parking Los Angeles has been way easier.  I am grateful for the days in Los Angeles when scoring a parking spot was the biggest of my worries.  I now know there are far bigger things to have anxiety over.  I’ve had to learn how to better manage my anxiety.

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I love my home, but sometimes I need to get out of the house to work more efficiently.  I get TOO comfortable.  I am grateful for all the times I’ve had great coffee and a great work day and even run into old friends.  I hope to enjoy this again soon.

The extension cord reminded me of how lucky I am to have basic utilities and that all of my utility services are still going, despite the pandemic.  Those working to keep our water, power and sanitation going are essential workers too and we owe them much for their service at this time.

A movie ticket…There’s much discussion right now of how to move the industry forward during the pandemic.  Fortunately, I am very diversified.  Some are not and it’s been difficult to see how many friends and colleagues are anxious and suffering right now.  The movie ticket is my reminder to rebuild.  The movie ticket is my reminder to adapt as best I can.  There will be no Dark Ages of Entertainment if I can help it.

Instead of yearning for the past, what can we do to bring our appreciation into the future?

 

Making the COVID-19 Numbers Personal

I  am sick (not literally) and tired (quite literally) of hearing people say that the deaths from COVID-19 are not large enough to justify the stay-at-home orders. I am fed up with people being so blase about the death toll in the US alone, much less the rest of the world.

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As of today, April 30,2020, there have been 63,538 deaths in the USA, with roughly 2000 of those deaths occurring today.  Globally, there have been 230,804 deaths, with 3,400 of those deaths happening today.  Numbers of deaths remain abstractions until we put names to numbers, until we compare.   Let me make some comparisons.

In my own life, I identify strongly with three places:  my county of origin, Atascosa Co., Texas, the University of Texas at Austin, my alma mater and San Antonio, Texas, the nearest large city that I visited as a child.

As of today, there have been 1,092,328 cases of COVID-19 in the United States.  Globally, there have been 3.2 million cases.  The city of San Antonio, Texas has a population of 1.5 million people.  San Antonio is the 7th largest city in the U.S.  This virus has infected the numerical equivalent of a large U.S. city.  Is that not enough?

Now let’s take a look at the deaths.  Deaths in the United states are at 63,000.  My county of origin, Atascosa County, Texas, has a population of roughly 49,000.  The University of Texas at Austin, enrolls 50,000 students.  It’s the 7th largest public university in the country.  Corona deaths have taken out the equivalent of a rural Texas county or a large public university.  Is that not enough?

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By the way, the cities in my county of origin range in population of 2,000-10,000 people.  At the current rate of deaths in the U.S., it’s like one small town is dying off per day.  Is that not enough?

I say enough is enough.  We think of numbers as mere data, cold, hard and impersonal, but these figures get very personal when you compare them to what and who you know, where you came from and where you are.  Let’s stay at home, stay well, stay alive and come out safer and stronger with as many members of our communities alive and kicking as possible.

 

 

Fear of the Future

Create a brighter future…The future is yours…

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The “future” is an abstraction we often associate with positivity, progress and something we can shape.  The truth is we love the future and often fear it at the same time.  I read tarot cards.  I do astrology readings, which more often than not are ways of looking into the future or what’s possible.  However, I know and need to point out that fear of the future often motivates us more often than we care to admit and acknowledge.

As we look towards a post-quarantine, post pandemic world, there is a lot to consider.  Whether we fear future or not is our choice.  Resisting the present undermines our ability to shape the future.  We need to admit that we’re scared, we’ve been naive or neglectful about certain realities.  We need to admit that the world has changed, will not “go back” to where it was and where we were wasn’t all that great either.  We have to shape the future with clear eyes, open minds and open hearts.

How do we do that? We need to ask some questions.

Who am I now?  Answer this honestly.  Own the good and the bad and respect the neutral.

Who do I desire to be?  

What changes, adjustments or work do I need to close the gap between who I am and want to be?

NOW…

What’s the best step I can take, NOW, TODAY, to make those adjustments?

We must also take up these questions as communities, states, and nations.  Who we are today shapes who we become.  We only ever have the present, no matter how much we speculate about what the future could or should be.  It’s time to get deeply present about what our pain points are and what we can do to change them, for the better, in a changed world.

The future is ours, once we fully invest ourselves in the present.

 

 

 

 

 

Quotes for the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day

It’s the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day.  With the corona virus still keeping us indoors, it seems the earth itself is healing too.   Here are some great food-for-thought quotes about our relationship to Earth.

  1. sky earth galaxy universe

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    “Earth provides enough to satisfy every man’s needs, but not every man’s greed.” Mahatma Gandhi

  2. “Trees are poems that the earth writes upon the sky.” Khalil Gibran
  3. “Heaven is under our feet as well as over our heads.” Henry David Thoreau
  4. “Find your place on the planet. Dig in, and take responsibility from there.” Gary Snyder
  5. “It suddenly struck me that that tiny pea, pretty and blue, was the Earth. I put up my thumb and shut one eye, and my thumb blotted out the planet Earth. I didn’t feel like a giant. I felt very, very small.” Neil Armstrong
  6. “Water and air, the two essential fluids on which all life depends, have become global garbage cans.” Jacques-Yves Cousteau
  7. “We don’t inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children.” David Brower
  8. We knew that man’s heart, away from nature, becomes hard.” Chief Luther Standing Bear
  9. “We are all butterflies. Earth is our chrysalis.” LeeAnn Taylor
  10. “Someday, I hope that we will all be patriots of our planet and not just of our respective nations.” Zoe Weil
  11. “What have they done to the earth?
    What have they done to our fair sister?
    Ravaged and plundered and ripped her and bit her
    Stuck her with knives in the side of the dawn
    And tied her with fences and dragged her down” Jim Morrison
  12. “If you really want to remedy the earth, we have to mend mankind. And to unite mankind, we heal the Earth. That is the only way. Mother Earth will exist with or without us.”  Suzy Kassem
  13. “Life is a dance between heaven and earth, the ebb and flow of life.” Maurice Spees
  14. “The planet was being destroyed by manufacturing processes, and what was being manufactured was lousy, by and large.” Kurt Vonnegut
  15. “Earth is a small town with many neighborhoods in a very big universe.” Ron Garan
  16. “Deep under our feet the Earth holds its molten breath, while the bones of countless generations watch us and wait.” Isaac Marion
  17. “When you look more generally at life on Earth, you find that it is all the same kind of life. There are not many different kinds; there’s only one kind. It uses about fifty fundamental biological building blocks, organic molecules.” Carl Sagan
  18. “We’re reaching the point where the Earth will have to end the burden we’ve placed on her, if we don’t lift the burden ourselves.” Steven M. Greer
  19. To define perpetual growth on a finite planet as the sole measure of economic well-being is to engage in a form of slow collective suicide. To deny or exclude from the calculus of governance and economy the costs of violating the biological support systems of life is the logic of delusion.” Wade Davis
  20. “From the Moon’s surface, the Earth is but a tiny, blue teardrop in the inky blackness of space.” Stewart Stafford

Happy Earth Day!

Admitting My Fears

I’d be lying right now if I didn’t admit I was scared.

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I am scared everyday.  I am scared by the lack of leadership and coherence.  I am scared by the lack of unity.  I am scared that there’s no vaccine and not enough tests for this virus.  I am scared of the halt to most filming.  I am scared for loved ones who live in states where social distancing isn’t respected.  I am scared when I sneeze or cough, or feel just plain icky.

Once again, it’s time to inventory what I can and cannot control.

  1.  I can lead by example by social distancing and wearing masks and gloves.  I can post about what I am doing to stop the spread of this virus.  I can set a standard for my family to follow and take proper precautions.
  2. I can choose not to add to the din of social media right now.  I can choose not to attack my neighbors, friends and strangers online or offline.  I can choose to add helpful, factual information from credible sources and actionable tips and advice.  An ignorant person has to choose not to remain ignorant. I can instruct the ignorant, but its not my place to scold or punish those who are willfully and dangerously ignorant.
  3. I am not a scientist.  I choose to trust the science and the scientists, doctors and nurses.  When I need expert advice, I take it.
  4. Many of our industries will bounce back after a time.  It may not be on my preferred timeline, and there will be changes, but the film industry is resilient.  I am resilient and I will adapt as best I can to the changes that will inevitably take place.
  5. I cannot choose the actions or inaction of the federal, states or local governments.  I can share what I know to be true with my family.  They can make their choices in accordance with their local laws.  I may not like what other states are or aren’t doing, but I believe in democracy and I believe people DO get the government they DESERVE.  If you believe you deserve better, vote and act differently.
  6. I can keep my risk of contracting COVID-19 down by maintaining social distance, washing my hands, disinfecting surfaces and keeping myself minimally stressed.  A sneeze is not a death sentence.

When we keep facing our fears, we can be more honest with ourselves.  There is no “okay” right now.  It’s okay to be “not okay”.  However, we can’t just let our fears spin around in our monkey minds.  We need to get curious about them, like we would a new, intriguing species or a first date.

I’ve found Therapeer to be a free, valuable resource to discuss your COVID-19 fears with supportive peers.

Join me on Therapeer to receive peer emotional support, and to support others in need. Follow this link to get your own private support room for free https://www.therapeer.app/invite/xupg3

I am still scared, but I am supported in moving through and beyond my fears.

Managing Your Anxiety During Corona Virus

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I’ve been making light about the panic around toilet paper and other supplies on my other social channels, but I must  admit, as a person who’s anxious, it was hard to keep things in perspective when out getting groceries today.

I am not a health professional, so please check all the tips I am about to give against your  own common sense, life circumstances and the advice of your doctors, the CDC and your local governments.

  1.  Renew your prescriptions IF THEY ARE LOW.  I have one medication that I take that has some serious withdrawal symptoms if I suddenly stop taking it.  If that’s the case with your medication and you have a week’s worth or less, you may want to consider calling in your refill and picking it up.
  2.   Social distancing does NOT mean isolation.  Facetime and Google Hangouts work.  Reaching out doesn’t mean you have to be in the same room with someone. Reach out, especially to those who are vulnerable.
  3. If you are out, be kind, polite and give people plenty of space.  Our healthcare workers, grocery workers, retail workers and many others are seriously overburdened at this time.  No yelling, shouting or snarky comments are going to make things any better.  Stress ups our susceptibility to disease.  Don’t stress yourself or others out.  Smiling improves your health.
  4. Get support if you are going through a hard time already.  If you are struggling with addiction, there are support groups online too.  If your usual meeting is canceled,  Virtual meetings of AA, Al-Anon and CODA groups are happening all the time, all over the world, and you don’t have to leave your home.  I also recommend Therapeer, an app.  Join me on Therapeer to receive peer emotional support, and to support others in need. Follow this link to get your own private support room for free:  https://www.therapeer.app/invite/xupg3
  5.   Try to keep up your healthy habits, even if your routines are disrupted.  There’s a treasure trove of exercise and yoga classes on YouTube.  It may help to keep up your morning routine even if you’re not commuting to work.
  6. Many of us are news junkies.  It is very important to keep up-to-date on what’s happening, but if you find the news is making you anxious, limit your time reading the news.  Check in the morning, noon and night only, and for short, designated times.  Consider a digital detox.
  7. If you’re bored, try something new.  Take an online class or take on a household project.
  8. Meditate and rest.  Can’t stress this enough.  During today’s grocery store gauntlet, I had to stop and do a quick grounding meditation because I was so unnerved by how under-stocked the shelves were.
  9. Focus on what IS going RIGHT.  Be grateful when stores are still open.  Say thank you to people working at this time, especially in customer service jobs.
  10. Remember and remind yourself of what you can control…and what you can ‘t.  You can control your attitude, your preparedness and your response to this situation as it unfolds.  You cannot control others.  You’re doing the best you can and that’s sometimes the only thing you can really do.
  11. Laughter is great medicine.  Watch a comedy or some stand-up on your TV.  It’s for your health!
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