Post 5: #Coronavirus and a global perspective

And now we’re four! A few friends and I are chronicling our experiences during the lockdowns, quarantines, and other restrictions due to the #COVID-19 pandemic. Tonight we write from Falls Church, VA, and Fairfax, VA, USA; Beirut, Lebanon; and Malaga, Spain. Special credit to Mayya S. in Herndon, VA, who came up with the idea for us to share our experiences. Care to join us? 

From Roula in Falls Church, VA

My intuition tells me that the Washington Metropolitan Area will go on some kind of lockdown in the next 24 hours. Everything is pointing in that direction. So once again, my son and I ventured out for a few groceries and bread in the morning and we took a walk around the neighborhood later in the afternoon – just to observe.

The atmosphere here is still mixed. About half the people seem to be going about things normally, or at least visibly trying to hold on to the last moments of normal. The other half are wearing masks, which emphasize the fear and suspicion in their eyes. It’s unsettling because we haven’t tipped over yet and it seems the shaming of people who haven’t “gotten with the program” is beginning to emerge in the local media.

My son and I live in a 535-unit high-rise condominium building that is home to 1,200+ residents and employs about 50 staff. Things are getting tense around here, especially with the high number of residents over the age of 70 (including my own mama – a blessing!). Housekeeping staff disinfect “high-touch” surfaces every hour or so, and the management office is locked down. The manager and 2 assistants are there but a big sign at the door directs residents to communicate by phone or email. In one of our elevator rides, a woman stood against the corner and held her breath all the way down to the lobby from the 15th floor!

I teach yoga on the scenic rooftop of our building. Last week, I scrubbed and disinfected all blocks, straps, and eye-pillows. A handful of yogis showed up, and we set up the mats at least 4 feet apart. The yogis were hopeful that we continue with yoga through this thing, but I’m not sure we’ll be allowed to.

Blog 5-Francis_CoronaIt’s really tough navigating this thing solo with my 10-year-old son. There’s so much to balance: his learning, food, activities, play, physical activity, etc. Not to mention keeping this whole situation in an age-appropriate perspective for his delicate mind. I also have to police him and keep him on some kind of routine, as well as be his playmate. It’s an exhausting mental and physical see-saw.

These days, my sanity comes from long chats with friends, Win Hof method breathing, journaling, reading, yoga, cooking, cleaning (yes, cleaning!), watching Netflix, hot Epsom/lavender baths, cold showers, and nature walks with my son where the best versions of us emerge and engage.  I honestly don’t care how strict any lockdown is going to be. As long as we can still get out into nature, we’ll survive.

Inward, outward, and onward!


From Tina F. in Fairfax, VA

Today I wanBlog 5 Tinat to focus on all the “positive” aspects of what we are about to face in the inevitable lockdown in the USA. Check out this list! A fine outline of beautiful togetherness.

BUT the reality in my household is it feels like we are all in Jean-Paul Sartre’s No Exit. (If you are not familiar with it, please look it up).

We have a LONG way to go to get to this idea of happiness in togetherness.

Our reality is the TV is on loud, the music is on loud, those who are attempting to read cannot focus. Conversations lead to arguments. Yes, my friends, “ Hell is other people.”

Of course, that’s a bit exaggerated. But honestly, I’m not sure if people can just suddenly change. As Marianne Williamson put it, we have become an ADD nation. We cannot just sit and contemplate on our lives. If my family is unique to this outcome of togetherness, then we have a lot to learn. We are 4 individuals who have led independent lives. We have taken our social standards for granted. This should be a humbling experience.

I am fully aware of the resources out there of meditation, breathing, yoga, and self-care, and I can implement those as need be. But the real question is, how do you teach an old dog new tricks? Many people still think that all of those things are woo woo.

This is early days yet, and as we face more restrictions, it should become more interesting. If more people, including my family, learn to turn inward to find peace, then maybe we will come out of this as a better nation.


From RJD in Beirut, Lebanon

Philosophy Day: Blog 5_Rana_Sea ViewEnjoy each day and live it to the fullest Don’t think about the past, look to the future. What goes around, comes around. Live in the moment. The power of now.

As I drink my coffee this morning and stare at the sea, I listen to the louder stillness and start thinking about life and what is yet to come. What lessons should the world learn from the #Coronavirus pandemic?

  1. Gaza has been on lockdown for years. Is it time we realize that we need to be compassionate and put politics aside? Give peace a chance?
  2. Refugees all over the world fleeing from their countries…
  3. Climate change…look at the canals in Venice, the clearer skies in Wuhan
  4. War machines…
  5. Is it time we stop the greed (look at how Wall Street tumbled) and start being more communal with wealth?
  6. Is it time we gave up being selfish beings and start being more charitable?
  7. It is time to stop attacking the core of this planet lest it unleash its wrath…

When I look at how the Lebanese, who can’t count on their government, helped each other during the peak of the revolution, my heart opens. When I see individuals putting their lives at risk to run errands, for free, for those who can’t, I cry. When, we as a people, replaced basic services that the government hasn’t provided to help one another, I have hope.

World leaders, greedy corrupt politicians, and CEOs need to be held accountable for #Coronavirus and much more. So instead of sitting at home feeling sorry for ourselves, we should be coming up with a plan forward that will make this planet a better place. We need to save Mother Earth from us. And we need to hurl each and every one of those who got us here to oblivion.

Meantime, I am on strike: Not wearing a bra until this is over!


From @rafifj in Malaga, Spain

BREAKING RUMOR: The Spanish government may extend the lockdown to April 11. Not a rumor: The number of #coronavirus cases in Spain has surged past 17,000. This chilling information suppresses any urge to violate the lockdown rules.

OK, now that I’ve processed THAT news….yesterdBlog 5-To Do listay I joked on Facebook that if it weren’t for work keeping me busy, I’d be ironing my socks. I create to-do lists every day (here’s a sample) so I can feel like I accomplished something by choosing to stay home and repeatedly checking off the tasks.

In case the lockdown gets extended here in #Spain, and for those of you who are about to enter your lockdown phase, here are some sanity-preserving ideas:

1. Learn a new language. Try Duolingo or any of the other free services. Better yet, hire an online freelance instructor and keep someone partially employed.

2. Take a virtual tour. Spain, France, and Italy – I’m sure many others as well – have opened their most treasured museums to us all online. Visit the Louvre from your couch! Schedule discussion groups so you can show off what you’ve learned.

3. Exercise. Water bottles can make good weights, especially if you do enough repetitions. Please remember to tighten the caps unless you seek the efficiency of doing jumping jacks and showering at the same time. Now I know.

4. Read a book. It’s nice to feel a bit of paper every now and then, and give the screen a rest. Online book clubs must be flourishing by now, so join one.

5. Learn a new skill. I am going to learn – heaven help me – to cook. I have little choice anyway since restaurants are closed. For those who already know how to cook, there are plenty of resources to tap into for photography, art, crafts, and so on…

6. Organize a party. Who says everyone has to be in the same room? Use your various collaboration tools to host a virtual dinner or dance party. Your neighbors may be grateful, or you can give them something else to complain about.

7. Give back. Or just give. Lots of people are afraid, lonely, depressed, confused…if you can brighten someone’s day – virtually – you’ll have offered a tremendous service.

I can think of a hundred other things CLAPPING TIME is here.

#StaySafe #StayHome