April 13, 2020

Pandemic Reflections #1

To Our Clients,

As we pause for some moments in the quiet of our office space, we gaze out our large picture windows, observing a fairly steady parade of unfamiliar faces walking down our city block. Some push baby strollers, some are led by dogs pulling on their leashes, some walking briskly acquiring destined aerobic heart rates, others leisurely ambling while gazing at the prolific leaf- buds unfolding themselves into an early spring. These people are evidently our neighbors living somewhere close by....a steady cacophony of beautiful humans embracing the deep breath that sheltering at home can invite. We resist the urge to rush outside to introduce ourselves, social distancing respectfully embraced, instead allowing our wonder to ask, "Who is that person walking by?" "What is her story?" "How is this virus and its impact affecting his life?" "How is it that I have never seen her before?" Multiple inquiries stir inside our thoughts as the parade continues throughout the day. Wondering.....

The evening news brings to our mind the increasing number of confirmed cases and unfortunate deaths in our community, our state, our country, our global humanity infiltrated by COVID-19. Leadership voices rehearse the litany of our shared responsibility to one another providing an initial roadmap to respectfully navigate our communal response. Here, washing our hands frequently becomes more than self-protection and good hygiene, rather a sacred ritual with others held in mind. Placing space between ourselves an act of reverent respect for the well-being of another as well as the self. Limiting our physical presence in our community becomes more than a willing discipline of personal liberty, instead a gift of sacrifice to the greater good.

We are navigating uncharted territory for most of us. But there is a sizable Us involved. We are affected....all of Us. What will we do with this shared impact? If we simply cloister in our homes and hold on to life as we have known it and anxiously await its return, what will we miss in this present now? What if there is the possibility of a potential unleashed within us....between us.....even in the midst of the unthinkable which continues to unfold?

Our work together here at Intentional Living is filled with these deeper questions of the soul, ignited by the challenges that we face. While often unsolicited, unwanted, and inconvenient to our current rhythm of life, these questions arise and knock at the door of our soul. Our choice then becomes a question of attempting to squelch the knocking sound by plunging ourselves more deeply into life as we have known it or by opening the door to investigate the Who or the What that is inviting discovery.

To this invitation, the Irish monk, Fr. Richard Hendrick, recently penned these words:


Yes there is fear.
Yes there is isolation.
Yes there is panic buying.
Yes there is sickness.
Yes there is even death.

They say that in Wuhan after so many years of noise
You can hear the birds again.
They say that after just a few weeks of quiet
The sky is no longer thick with fumes
But blue and grey and clear.
They say that in the streets of Assisi
People are singing to each other
across the empty squares,
keeping their windows open
so that those who are alone
may hear the sounds of family around them.

They say that a hotel in the West of Ireland
Is offering free meals and delivery to the housebound.
Today a young woman I know
is busy spreading fliers with her number
through the neighbourhood
So that the elders may have someone to call on.
Today Churches, Synagogues, Mosques and Temples are preparing to
and shelter the homeless, the sick, the weary.

All over the world people are slowing down and reflecting
All over the world people are looking at their neighbours in a new way
All over the world people are waking up to a new reality

To how big we really are.
To how little control we really have.
To what really matters.
To Love.

So we pray and we remember that

Yes there is fear.
But there does not have to be hate.
Yes there is isolation.
But there does not have to be loneliness.
Yes there is panic buying.
But there does not have to be meanness.
Yes there is sickness.
But there does not have to be disease of the soul
Yes there is even death.
But there can always be a rebirth of love.

Wake to the choices you make as to how to live now.
Today, breathe.
Listen, behind the factory noises of your panic
The birds are singing again
The sky is clearing,
Spring is coming,
And we are always encompassed by Love.

Open the windows of your soul
And though you may not be able
to touch across the empty square,

March 13th 2020


May we each listen within to the sound in our own soul and perhaps be brave enough to open the door and discover the mystery it contains. Know that as the privileged therapists who get to walk beside you in your quest to live your lives more intentionally, we can bear witness to your abilities to do just that. What might be unleashed in the collective, sizable Us if we were each willing to allow this unique time to take us to that deeper place? What song might our collective souls sing "across the empty square?" Wondering.....