It’s been a year and a quarter since everything stopped and I often reflect wistfully on what normal had been and sometimes how little gratitude I felt. In this year, many people lost family members and we have yet to feel into the layers of grief that people are carrying around. Other people lost their jobs. Businesses closed. There is some loss for everyone. Some people don’t know whether they will ever have to go to the office. Other people have to return in September.
Last year at this time I was taking classes about necessary safety precautions. I also drew information from my public health education decades ago. I reopened my practice on June 30th, 2020, establishing protocols in accordance with the CDC recommendations, even to the point of doing my interviews with people the night before treatments to limit the close exposure. I received my first vaccination on NYE. And now about 80 percent of my clients are vaccinated. Masks remain a requirement in the office, and I get to spend longer with each person. The cleaning routine between people is still there but I’m no longer obsess about door handles. And there are many things we still don’t know about this virus.
While we do have 50 percent of people fully vaccinated nationwide, we aren’t at 70 percent and the different percentages between states is rather large. Maryland, where I live, has made it to 70%. Things are reopening, and the desire to go out and be with family, friends and go to the movies is a real possibility. There is an array of unknowns about how this virus will become past tense. So far, the vaccine is making the difference. Now is the time to recover and create. The questions we asked ourselves during the past year of how to create a fulfilling life no matter what happens around us is still the question. Read, walk, paint, write, pray, meditate, practice Qigong or start to do those things that help your heart to sing.
In some ways, reopening after being so careful is a bit of a jolt. I know that stepping over the line to go to a gym is always a kind of effort that one can put aside. But now, there is another layer added to the mix of your inner reluctance. The question of how safe something feels to do is very personal. We will all be faced with situations that feel okay to participate in and others that don’t. You might be steered by gut feelings or by the realization that there are just too many people inside a room. Be compassionate to yourself and only step forward toward what meets your safety and comfort level.
Saturday I worked in my Dupont Circle office. I finished at 1 PM and went outside to celebrate with people gathered for the Gay Pride parade. It was joyful and happy. People got to celebrate life and who they are. Some people were creative and wore costumes fit for the stage. (I loved it.) There was music playing in Dupont Circle, and I did not observe much social distancing nor wearing masks. I wasn’t wearing mine either. I enjoyed hearing group laughter. I had my pooch with me and drank a smoothie sitting on a bench, while my dog gathered his admirers. There was fun all around. I’m grateful to enjoy it.
Let’s start this week with gratitude for everything. Gratitude for where we are with the decline in cases, for the amazing gifts of nature; and for me, the practice of Chinese Medicine, for the gifts of practicing Qigong, and just celebrating hearing real laughter. Enjoy your week.