Saturday, March 21, 2020

More Pandemic Reframing

Such a beautiful way of expressing it. I can't remember who said it, but:
If measures seem excessive, that means they're timed correctly.

If measures seem warranted, that means they're too late.
This applies in any realm with potential exponential compounding.

Reminder: you can listen to ghastly news on TV, and accommodate great disruption, while remaining happy. It's possible. It's a choice, though a hugely unpopular one.

If it gives you perverse pleasure to torture yourself over horrific thoughts, god bless, I won't interfere with that. But, otherwise, the smart move is to literally come back to your senses. Where are you NOW? How is it for you right here, right now? This swiftly reveals that cozily abiding in your sofa, or working through your Netflix queue, or improving your cooking, or taking long walks, is not Suffering.

And consider that we're living the very worst case scenario. "Global pandemic" has been atop the fright list for many very smart people for a long time. Well, here we are! Are you currently screaming in incessant agony?

Yes, not everyone has the good fortune to be cozy right now. Help if you can (I've volunteered as a Meals on Wheels backup driver, and have spent hundreds this week on takeout food and bakery items and beer growlers and whatever else I can to support the local economy; btw, takeout food is not a health risk). If you can help, help! But you needn't own the greater pain. If you've decided it's callous to be happy while others suffer, you've closed the door on any happiness ever. Bad move!

You're not Atlas. You do not have a world to hold up. Stress and worries don't help you and don't help the world, so just let it drop. Happiness is an option even now.

Grateful Things and Positive Surprises

1. I despised Andrew Cuomo and Bill de Blasio, but now I grudgingly respect Cuomo and find de Blasio redeemably awful, rather than irredeemably so.

Cuomo reminds me of Giuliani after 9/11. I'd loathed him previously, and while his messages to a terrified city were actually pretty boiler plate, at least he rose to the occasion. And that ain't nothing.

2. Doctors, nurses, and health technicians are heroes. They're walking into a battlefield without armor, and they're not backing down. Even in righteous wars, some soldiers go AWOL. But not these guys. Some will die because the government did not move fast enough (and dismantled the National Security Council’s global health security office - the pandemic response experts - two years ago), yet they're still reporting in for work, wiping down their face masks with hand disinfectant so they can be recycled.

3. The weather in the NY area has been so unbelievably beautiful. I'm doing daily three mile walks, feeling free as a bird.

4. It's a great time to start (or rekindle) a meditation practice. This is the stripped-down, non-dogmatic, non-joiny, non-woo-woo meditation method I've practiced for many years. Steer clear of the web site and forum, but the meditation practice is ace (if you like it, add this in a few weeks, then maybe this a few weeks later, then, very far in the future, this).

I faithfully devoted an hour per day to this during my most harried period running Chowhound, when I was really working five or six full-time jobs. So you can't tell me you're too busy for it! The alertness, relaxation, and attitude/framing adjustment you get from the practice more than repay the time commitment. Much more, really.

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