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Joy for the Week Ahead 20 April 2020


In the early weeks of this crisis, I had lots of helpful and/or joyous links to pass along to you. This week it was a bit harder to put this list together. Why? Well, I think we're beginning to hit saturation. I've now got a routine, and I'm not noticing much outside of it. Whereas in the beginning I was concerned about addressing fear and the unknown, I'm now used to the fear and the unknown. But that's not a good way to be. Numbness is bad for us. We're apparently re-watching things we've already watched and listening to things we already know. While I understand the urge to hibernate and seek refuge in comfort food, extended periods of numbness can't be a good way to go on into the future.

So I urge you to shake things up a little bit this week if you can. Don't let this be the new normal. Look forward to something different. We don't know what it is, but we can handle it. Try something you've never read or listened to or watched. Do something that's outside of your usual.

  • Once more, Dr. Judson Brewer. I've recommended Dr. Jud's meditations before (he has helpful free and discounted tools to fight COVID19-related anxiety on his website) but I hadn't realized that he offers daily YouTube videos to help with anxiety. The playlist is called “Coronavirus Anxiety: Daily Update” and features short videos addressing what you might be feeling right now.
  • Humans of New York. Started in 2010 by photographer Brandon Stanton, Humans of New York is full of stories of the people he has interviewed and photographed, not just in New York, but everywhere. Warning, once you start reading (or scrolling, you can keep up with his stories via InstagramFacebook, or Twitter) you won't be able to stop. Fresh, relatable, fascinating stories from the lives of ordinary people.
  • An uplifting poem from America's inaugural Youth Poet LaureateHarvard University senior Amanda Gorman recites her poem, “The Miracle of Morning,” courtesy of CBS This Morning. There is a brief ad at the beginning and a sudden burst of music in the middle, but I think even our very experienced national networks are struggling to put together and edit material shot during these social distancing times! Food for thought…I don't know what Ms. Gorman's plans for the future are, but it's wicked brave for a bright young person to publicly take on the mantle of “poet” nowadays. And what would we all do without the poets?
  • Global Big Day is coming. Every year, the Cornell Lab keeps track of bird sightings on a single day in May. Last year's Global Big Day was on May 4; this year the Big Day is May 9. You can participate, no matter where you are, no matter whether you are housebound or able to get outdoors. The Cornell Ornithology people want to know where and what the birds are! And by participating, you are connecting to a worldwide community of bird watchers as well as contributing to science. All you have to do is sign up. Then on May 9 keep track of what you see and type it into the website or into their free app. If you need help identifying the birds, they offer an absolutely wonderful free app for exactly that purpose. We use it all the time! It's called Merlin Bird ID, and with it you can identify birds by song, color, geographic area, etc. Then watch the Big Day page for sighting results. It's more exciting than the way it sounds, I promise. With the drop in industrial activity right now, there may be some fascinating results this year, a truly silver lining to a very cloudy spring.
  • Last but not least. Keep your spirits up, everyone. Here's a tweet from Boston.

I hope you're all staying safe and healthy. Remember that seemingly healthy people may have the virus and never get sick! Let's stamp this thing out.

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