Post 41: #Coronavirus and a global perspective on the first thing(s) we’ll do when it’s over.

We’re sharing our experiences, thoughts, and uncensored opinions during lockdown, quarantine, and self-isolation. For some of us, it’s DAY 41. 

All you need is sleep

RafifJ, #Malaga, #Spain

Here we are, Day 41. It’s becoming increasingly difficult to understand reality, virtual or otherwise, and time is becoming much more fluid as the lockdown rules eat away at my psyche. The current (Spanish) government guidance is that children 14 years old and younger can play outside for 1 hour, starting April 26. [There is no way, right, that I can get away with saying I also need to play? And I need sunshine, and a walk along the beach?] But hopefully this is just the beginning of a slow and gradual easing of restrictions for the rest of us.

What will the words “lockdown over” mean for us? Will we quickly jump back into our BC patterns? What are the first things we’ll do AC? I don’t know if we can ever go back to our old reality, and I’m sure we will engage in what used to be “normal” social behavior (like hug loved ones, go out to dinner, hang out at the beach) with more gratitude, now that we know what it’s like to be deprived of our people, our habits, our “normal.”

I know the list of first things to do is a long one….so I will keep mine short:


Yes, sleep. You know how dogs sleep on their backs when they’re super comfortable? Belly exposed, not a care in the world, trusting that all is right in their universe. That’s how I’m going to sleep. When the pandemic has been declared over, I will finally sleep, deeply – the kind of sleep that isn’t elusive because of insomnia, or interrupted by anxiety. I’ll probably do that for a couple of days. And then…and then, I will head to the beach for a quick walk in the sea, under the sun, on my way to the airport.

First things first

RJD, #Beirut, #Lebanon

I asked a few people around me about their ideas of what they will do when the lockdowns are lifted: “Go to the beach,” “Open my business,” “Travel on holiday,” “Go to a restaurant,” were a few of the answers I received.

…not go back to normal. That is my take on it right now. I am gearing up, for when the lockdowns ease, to change many things in my life.

First and foremost, hygiene. The diligence we have had to adhere to the past few months is going to be the way to go from here on out. However, I will use a lot more white vinegar to clean things than cleaning products. White vinegar comes in glass bottles, which are recyclable, as opposed to cleaning products, which are mainly in plastic containers.

Second, this lockdown taught me more of my priorities in my life going forward. Materialistic needs are gone forever. My needs are now to take care of my family, pets, garden, and self. I don’t need clothes, gadgets, and junk, things…I need to show care.

Family and friends. I will see my family and friends and cherish every moment with them. I miss being with them terribly, be it here in Beirut, or in Dubai, England, Spain, and the US.

Activism. I plan on being much more of an activist for many rights that a lot of us take for granted. The kafala system in Lebanon is one of them. Children trafficking. Recycling. Environment. I am going to have to find my niche and get going on it immediately.

Charity. I have always been charitable. But I am going to spend a lot more time doing more meaningful work that is direct and not through organizations. Boots on the ground.

And finally, give love. Remember, I am a bleeding heart and I want to be able to give love to every living being. I want to hug people and animals. I want to smile at every person I pass by on the street and say hello.

I also want to celebrate life and hope and gratitude.

What is the first thing you will do after lockdown?

Tina F., Fairfax, Virginia

Ahhhh!!! I dream about the end of this coronavirus a lot. But what is the first thing I will do? The list is long and includes the obvious like visiting family and friends, taking short trips, and vacationing around the world. However, before I can go back into “normal” life I need a personal reboot. I would love to go to back a place where I feel physically and mentally at peace. To a place surrounded by wonderful people and warm weather.

For the past three years, I have travelled with Studio Be retreats to Casa Om, a lovely boutique villa 2 minutes from the beach in Puerto Morelos, Mexico. We are there for one week of yoga, Pilates, meditation, food, sun, and camaraderie. For one week, I am surrounded by a group of mostly women who have travelled from around the nation to meet at Casa Om in Mexico. All with one intention: to give ourselves time for reflection and personal growth.

I am not an early riser, but when I’m at Casa Om I get up early. There is something rejuvenating about waking up before sunrise and walking to the beach for a sunrise meditation. The sand is still cool as you sink your toes in it. All you can hear are the rippling waves and chirping birds.

Every day there are a couple of yoga or pilates classes. The rest of the time you can sign up for massages, sound healing, participate in local adventure, or lay on the beach.

The first time I went there I was skeptical. I do not do yoga or meditate or eat vegan food. I did not let that get in the way and I participated in everything, even took part in a temazcal (a sweat lodge). By the end of the week my mind was calm, my body was relaxed, and I felt great.

The day after I arrived back in the USA I was in a restaurant picking up my food order, when the guy behind the counter said “you look so relaxed like you are glowing” …. I looked around to see if someone had set him up or if there was a hidden camera. Who says that stuff? Had he just come back from a retreat? I must have had an aura around me. I took it as a huge compliment and left smiling even bigger.

So my post-coronavirus dream is not only to physically go back to that place in Mexico, but to have everyone open their minds just enough to let in the spiritual peace that surrounds all of us, no matter where we are. I know traveling to a place like Casa Om is a luxury that is not available to most people, but it is the thought that we can all work on our inner peace right here at home that inspires me. This lockdown has brought so many virtual resources to our homes. We are learning new ways to do almost everything. Maybe we can learn new ways to invite self-awareness so we can accept others and situations that are out of our control.

However, one thing I have come to value as irreplaceable is human interaction. That will never be replaced by virtual reality.

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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