Trying to constantly reclaim, recreate, and “go back to the way things were” can have serious wellness ramifications. This isn’t to say we shouldn’t treasure our memories, honor sacrifices made, and mourn losses. We must! And if we practice, we can also learn to cherish the impermeant preciousness that comes with being human.
In an effort to do just this, starting around Thanksgiving, I asked my clients to help write a thank you letter to COVID-19. With their permission, here are some excerpts from our note.
Thank you for reminding me that I am in charge of my schedule. I decide how much energy I spend on things. I may never dash out for that 5:30 yoga class. I’ll take one online when it works for me.
I am awfully grateful for the opportunity to celebrate emergency responders, health care workers, grocery store clerks, delivery drivers… I’m going to keep doing this!
Thanks to you I’ve learned to use technology!. I’ve taken virtual classes, campaigned for political candidates, made calls encouraging people to complete the census and helped raise money for causes I care about. I’ve loved all the Zooms: “Unmute yourself!”, “You’re frozen”, and “Whose dog is making all that racket??” Plus, my dance classes have gone online and now I get to dance with people from all over the world! Over this year I have had such an appreciation of the creative minds out there that figured out how to do full orchestral and choir concerts from remote artists. I hope that this kind of collaborative art will just get better and better.
Thank you for introducing me to an octopus teacher, some british bakers and the denizens of Schitt’s Creek.
I sure appreciate having a great view from work now. I don’t have to be in an office to get things done. Although I’ve got to say how grateful I am for teachers!!! If my kids had to be homeschooled they would certainly have to repeat every single grade and I’d get no work done at all!
Because I was home, I have done a lot of DEEP cleaning. I even cleaned out my spice cabinet. These are things I am going to keep on my regular agenda. Because of you, I love my home again! From now on I will be more thoughtful about what I bring into it. Spending my money on things that I truly need or that bring me joy feels important now.
Thank you for reminding me how much I love to go to the movies. And concerts. And birthday parties. And all the places…
Thank you for making me slow down enough to get lagging parts of my body working a little better. You showed me that I need to take care of me first. I have walked 2 miles or more nearly every day for this whole year! I never thought I had that in me. I want to continue eating healthier. I feel better when I do! I have never cooked so many meals and am enjoying trying out new recipes. I am looking forward to going out again but don’t think I will ever feel the need to eat out as often as we used to.
I desperately miss seeing people, especially my grandkids. I get teary eyed just thinking about it. And while this makes me sad – it makes me so grateful to have them to love. I never want to take that for granted again! This year I have called neighbors and friends and try to reach out to someone every day. I have also started sending out hand written notecards. This is a great habit and I am going to keep it.
I’m at heart a planner. This year has taught me that I am capable of going with the flow.. It has been a challenge but I have risen to it. Grudgingly. You have given me so much more patience and I will continue to practice it daily.
I pick up my groceries at curbside now. I may never go back inside a grocery store!
Thank you for reminding me to use my senses. To see the sun rise, hear the birds singing, smell the flowers, taste my tea and BREATHE!!! I am reminded that while in one moment I may feel grateful to have a comfortable roof over my head, running water, a loving family and a great job, it’s also okay later that same day when something just as trivial as discovering I’m out of coffee filters drives me sobbing to the floor.
Even in the face of losing people and traditions, we can find joy. In fact, it is precisely the knowing we WILL lose them that deepens the joy of having them. I think when this is over, we will all be more grateful for things we took for granted. Thank you for reminding me how quickly life can change. I won’t forget it.
Yours in Gratitude,
Residents of Planet Earth April 2020 – April 2021
Erika Taylor is a community wellness instigator at Taylored Fitness, the original online wellness mentoring system. Taylored Fitness believes that everyone can discover small changes in order to make themselves and their communities more vibrant, and that it is only possible to do our best work in the world if we make a daily commitment to our health. Visit facebook.com/erika.taylor.303 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.