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I started keeping a gratitude journal a few years ago. In the throes of a major life trauma, I felt as though everything was suddenly, wildly out of my control. I was floundering – scared, angry, panicky – my emotions always dangerously close to the surface. I couldn’t imagine what life might look like on the other side.
Gratitude was grounding; almost meditative. I developed mantras of thanks, reminding myself that I was healthy, that I was loved, that this too would pass.
This quote, from Barack Obama, was pinned above my desk until I no longer had a desk to work from. It said this:
“Hope is not blind optimism. It’s not ignoring the enormity of the task ahead or the roadblocks that stand in our path. It’s not sitting on the sidelines or shirking from a fight. Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it, and to work for it, and to fight for it. Hope is the belief that destiny will not be written for us, but by us, by the men and women who are not content to settle for the world as it is, who have the courage to remake the world as it should be.”
My friends, how will we ever get through this if we dare not hope? If we settle for fear and distrust?
I’ve started that gratitude journal again recently. This week, I am thankful for so much, but especially the following:
The neighbor, who bakes bread and brownies and shares her bounty (and her stash of toilet paper) with me. The workout buddy, who keeps me accountable every morning as we exercise and meditate together via FaceTime. My roof, which has become gym/meditation room/fresh air escape from the four walls in which I now spend most of my days. The precious friends who now hang out for virtual movie nights and bingo nights and dance parties and high teas. How quickly we have adapted to this new normal – the need for human connection too strong for mere social isolation to break it.
These things and more give me hope for humanity. Tell me what you’re thankful for. Fill my inbox with a flood of gratitude.
NOW WE’RE DAILY!
Since the COVID-19 crisis hit, we’ve moved from a monthly print publication to a daily newsletter, as a way of connecting our newly isolated community and bringing, we hope, a ray of hope in the midst of uncertainty and fear. Many of you have already signed up, and we thank you. If you’re still not on our daily list, subscribe here, and join the conversation. We see you, New York.
NEW YORK STORIES
Mother, singer, community powerhouse – Tanya Crist is a true Hell’s Kitchen hero. Read her remarkable story, and find out how she’s riding out the storm, at w42st.com.
DON’T CLIMB THE WALLS – DO THIS INSTEAD
Shop with a conscience
If you can hold off, avoid grocery shopping for the next couple of days, and make space for our neighbors on SNAP and WIC – the start of the month is when benefits come in for many of them. Please also be mindful of what you put in your own shopping basket, and avoid choosing items tagged with WIC labels unless absolutely necessary. You have a choice of what products to buy; those on benefits do not. Thank you!
Order from a farmers market
If you’re missing your regular fresh produce from the farmers market, these folks deliver all you favorites, from stands you’d normally find at Union Square.
Tune in for morning zen
The Rubin Museum has started a Daily Offering of art, ideas, and practices to help us achieve balance in this time of upheaval. You can also tune into its Shrine Room on You Tube, for two hours of meditative chanting.
Get your live theater fix
It’s going to be a couple of months, at least, before we’re all sitting in a theater again. Thankfully, the community has really stepped up, with some world-class action now being streamed online, for free. Thirteen is screening shows including School Girls; or, The African Mean Girls Play, Old Hats, Buried Child, and more right now. Just go to the website to start watching.
Go live at The Met
The digital premiere of the opera The Mother of Us All will stream on YouTube and The Met’s Facebook page tonight. Originally performed live earlier this year in the Museum’s American Wing, it was an ambitious collaboration with The Juilliard School and the New York Philharmonic.
Feinstein’s/54 Below continues its at-home programing with the Bright Lights, Big City 20th Anniversary Concert tonight. The rock musical follows a week in the life of Jamie, a successful young writer who loses himself in the chaos of 1980s New York City, and features Christy Altomare, Matt Doyle, and Annie Golden.
Do the Corona World Tour
Well, we can’t go clubbing this weekend. So, instead, Diplo is bringing his DJ set to you from his living room, streaming weekly on You Tube and Instagram. Get up and party here.
Make a collage
Young Oliver Tanner (aged seven) has inspired us to get creative with old W42ST magazines (below). Pull out the scissors. He went wild with our Wagging Tales pages. What will you make?
AND FINALLY, THIS …
You’ll have seen some of these videos, but not all. Enjoy.
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