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  • Writer's pictureeschaden

Day 161 -New Normals

I feel like I have had about 30 of them and that was just yesterday. So much is going on, everything is changing and shifting so rapidly. It is hard to know what to do, think or believe anymore.

I feel like I did when my community was being threatened by the Thomas Fire. First it was just disbelief. I just couldn’t wrap my mind around the idea that I could not only lose my home but also my community. Then we lost power. Then we packed up everything that mattered: beings (including guinea pigs, chickens, rabbits, a parrot, the dogs and the cats), clothing, medication, pet food, then we got in our cars and left. Drove to find a safer, less fire ridden place to shelter. The fire came for us there too. It seemed that we could not outrun the fiery heat. There were days that I couldn’t sleep, responsible for my parents, my children, work, animals, worried about friends, my community. In the end, we were only inconvenienced. We were ok. We did not lose anything but peace of mind and sleep.

Because of the virus, I am being asked to stay home. To shelter in place. To remain quarantined for my, as well as other’s, survival. But just like when I was packing up everything I owned that I could fit into my car, I find myself evaluating what is really important. It was not the designer clothes in my closet or anything in my kitchen. All my nice furnishings and decor was useless. It no longer mattered, and I found myself wondering why I bought it all in the first place. I can remember wondering what I would give as gifts for the holidays were we to lose everything in the fire. What was important a few days earlier, now was no longer important.

I am there again.

I am wondering why I have spent so much time building this home that I live in. I am wondering why I have spent so much time, money and effort on buying crap that solely supports my ego. Why do I have all the beauty products? The clothes? The shoes? If I lose my health, or my parents, my children, my employment, my community, what the hell do those things even matter?

I would love to say that my experience with the wildfire, changed me and my spending habits and it did, for a little while. I was more judicious in my spending, what I would allow myself to purchase for my life, home and self. But then I went back to how I always did things. Dressing up the outsides and allowing that to be super important.

There is a part of me that can’t help thinking that this virus is calling all of us to re-evaluate our priorities. I mean for reals this time. What is truly important to me? Here is what I have come up with so far:


No matter what comes down the pike, I remain committed to remaining sober. No matter what. It is the foundation for everything I value in my life. And no virus, economic downturn or pandemic is going to change that.


Without this, I am screwed. We all are. I realize just how much I take it for granted. How blessed I have been to be healthy. That my legs work and have the ability to take me where I want to go. My head is a relatively safe place to reside. That my lungs are not damaged from all the smoking I did when I was younger. That I am healthy as this global health crisis changes everything in our world.


I extend this title to all the people that I love. All the people who matter most to me. My children. My parents. My animals. My Tribe. My friends. My community. This is the backbone of my life. This is where I go for comfort, security, love, laughter and understanding. These people and beings are what matter to me most.


Who I am when no one is looking. This is vital. I used to really be the kind of person that did what was right most of the time, but I didn’t really like it. I really wanted to act out like an ass, but was too afraid you would see and call me out on it. I wasn’t good because I was good. I was good because I was afraid you would see me being bad. Not the same thing as having integrity.


We already know that I embarked on this particular journey about 15 months ago. But it remains something that I am super committed to. I don’t know where I ever got the message that I should be someone else, but I did and spent the better part of this precious life, trying to be almost anyone but myself. However many days I have left, I remain committed to being whoever the fuck I am and letting you see that. Really see it.


Being kind. To myself, to my family, to my friends, to my neighbors near and far. To people I don’t like. To people I don’t understand. To people that I judge. To all beings everywhere, no exceptions. I think that kindness is the most important thing that I do every day. Virus or no virus.

Spiritual practice.

My journey has been one of exploration and disappointment. I always want the solution to be out there. I do not think it is an accident that as a world we are being asked to go within. Our worlds are literally shrinking so that we might be able to really see what is really important. That our lives occur, flourish and thrive, at home. This is where we all live. My belief in something greater than myself, for me, is the core, the place I can return to when all else fails. I can have faith in unconditional loving kindness. I can believe that there is purpose in even the most egregious things and that I always have something to learn in every new normal I encounter which is really every single day of my life.

So as we all negotiate the anxiety that comes with things shifting faster than we can think, let’s all realize that while everything is changing, everything has always been changing. This is not really different even though everything is completely different. The new normal has been here all along and perhaps really is the only thing that is constant: its ability to constantly and continually shift despite all the ways we try to insist that it doesn’t.

I am trying to spend my time going within. Taking care of my interiority so that I can be of service to others when called upon. For now, I am staying home as much as I can and not giving my fear a total access pass to my psyche. It doesn’t help. For me, faith is the antidote to fear. And I think we could all use an antidote right about now.

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