We had so much fun at dinner, yes sheltered at home, being playful with the words I NEED YOU.
The eldest daughter started the conversation sharing that this is for fun and also a bit uncomfortable. She offered to be the “facilitator “to keep things flowing and feeding back if needed. Here is a short list of what was shared:
I need you because you are my tech support.
I need you because you cook rice better than I do.
I need you because you make me think of other ways I can exercise.
I need you because you are pretty to look at. REALLY, that is why you need me. Ha ha.
I need you because you play the piano.
I need you because you always know where I left my wrist bandage.
I need you because you say sorry and say what it is that you did that really hurt me.
I need you because you just let things go so easily. I feel safe with you.
I need you because you light candles and make the table pretty.
I need you because you believe in me.
Other shares happened and then popsicles, wine, and cashews on the patio!
What do you need from someone if you are living solo? Sarah, living solo, said she needs her friend because she makes her laugh by texting those silly Covid-19 jokes. Kelly, also living solo, said that she needs her friend because she reminds her, often, that she will be re-hired because her skill set is awesome and she is not a failure. Mike shared that he needs his buddy who says to him, “it is not too late for you to find a partner. You always meet people easily.”
I need you. So please take good care of you because I don’t want to have to say goodbye.
Why do you need that particular person in your life?
Take extra care,
Natalie spoke with AARP about video calls, why they may be draining, and how you can cope.
Life coach and counselor Natalie Caine says that another way to keep calls enjoyable is to appoint a conversation leader in advance (someone who will, for example, ask everyone how they’re doing), and then structure the call on a certain topic, like sharing family recipes, rather than relying on small talk. (Similarly, Wright recommends using videoconferencing time to do a shared activity — like watch a movie, play a game, or cook — together.)
“It’s so much more meaningful and connected,” Caine says, “which is what people are longing for in isolation.”
We are all experiencing the enemy of this pandemic. That word, enemy, ignited a deep conversation during our women’s GROUP. How do I know if I have an ENEMY? These women gave me permission to share their stories:
A woman in her 60’s shared that she hasn’t thought about having an enemy in her circle since she got married to a man that another woman pined to catch. Forty years ago, that enemy gave her sleepless nights and binging. She added, “I still have nights of sleeplessness and binging but now it is from Covid-19. I need some daily practices for my ANXIETY and loneliness. This is the first time in years that I have been so slowed down due to Covid-19. I had no idea how much time I spend in my HEAD, and not feeling. I didn’t ask for help. I didn’t pause to learn more about my needs. Now I am.”
Another woman said for sure she knows she has an enemy. A man, who wanted his way, didn’t get it, bad mouthed her to the one person whose respect she chased since age 9, her father. “Your daughter is not a candidate for hiring. She is unskilled.” My father believed HIM over me. The pain from that enemy, over time, and therapy, helped me let go of chasing my dad’s approval. Of course, I still want him to say that he is PROUD of me, but at least that want is not CRIPPLING my life.”
Adding to the conversation, a woman around 49 said, “I am the enemy. My sister hates me. I can’t tell you how many conversations she and I have had and still a new path is not possible. Her perception of me, does not match mine. I know she talks about me back home with dark stories that for sure are untrue. I am done listening, explaining myself, saying sorry, writing her letters, sending gifts. I will probably stay the enemy. The PRICE to pay is too high to not be the enemy. Me, the enemy, discovered, I too wanted to be right. I wanted her to acknowledge what I put up with. More than all that, I just wanted her to let it go, see we have different PERCEPTIONS, and get to know me for who I am today.”
A mother’s share: I can’t seem to comprehend why my kids forget about me. Forget about me, meaning not thinking what I would like. Enemy, this sounds terrible, but the way they treat me I feel like they are the enemy. They cause me such sadness. I feel TRAPPED. I want them in my life. When I think about some choices I could have, I come back to it is not worth the sound of their ANGER on me when I do speak up. It is not worth them shutting the door on me forever. They have their partners and kids. The enemy, oh my, I just got it… is my fear of loss. Pause, long pause. She adds, the enemy is I don’t have a SHIELD to protect me from what they might say to me. I have never had a shield from deep disappointment. I shut down as a shield. Who wants to go shopping with me for a shield? Oh, we can’t shop. Shelter at home. Ok guys, there it is again. Even in my humor. I don’t know how to SHELTER myself.
Covid-19, the enemy, takes lives and leaves families and friends weeping, financially devastated, lonely, frightened, and grieving. Pleading for it not to be true, happens. Pain punches the heart, leaving bruises and longings for an OINTMENT that will speed the end of suffering. It is still INCOMPREHENSIBLE what people have lost and are still losing. My middle name is HOPE. I live that and lose it, even with this enemy of heartbreak.
Enemies. I don’t think I have any and yet, just as the other women and I chatted about, maybe we don’t know if someone can’t stand us, or feels hurt by us, or annoyed with us in unsolvable ways. How am I an ENEMY towards myself? Mostly from UNRELAISTIC expectations. That’s a conversation for our next time together. How am I an enemy towards myself? You could use that for a writing prompt today or for PONDERING on your walk.
Our time at home, sheltered, has given hallways of QUESTIONS never asked and now being paced with night-lights plugged in for fear of falling. May we each have COMFORT in knowing that no matter what, we are here for each other. You only need one or two people of LOYALTY to comfort you when the night-light breaks.
Be gentle with yourself,
“To the world you may be one person;
but to one person you may be the world.”
– Dr. Seuss
In appreciation of all mothers here and those who have passed.
Take care, Natalie
Our women’s Zoom support group has partnered and solo women. They gave me permission to use fake names and share some of what’s up for them. They wonder how other solo women are dealing with isolation.
Sadie is working from home. No pets. Her friends chat on face time. Her sorrow is she fears she missed her window to meet a partner. Online DATING never worked for her.
Linda has no job. Food industry is shut down. She is doing dancing online. Will she ever be able to be a MOM? She just wants this Sunday, Mother’s Day, to pass quickly. Her mother died 7 years ago.
All the sharing’s from these courageous women were about GRIEVING for what they thought would have arrived in their lives by now. What they wonder about is, “Maybe I shouldn’t have divorced him.” “What if I just kept dating online rather than the frustration whining?” “Solo is just not included in dinner parties, concerts, vacations.” “I feel judged by people, like I am a failure, because I am not married.” “All this time of sheltered in drives me crazy because I am OVER THINKING. I’m bored.” “I know I am a great person. I just haven’t been lucky in love.”
Living solo, for sure has challenges. You are the only one to motivate you to get out for a bike ride or to EXCERSIZE with online classes. You have to carry all the groceries in, clean, and put them away. You lose a creative moment and wish for someone on the SOFA to say,” hey what cha working on?” You miss sex. You miss a FOOT that crosses yours in bed. You want someone to make the coffee and bring it to you. You want someone who lives with you and is your person to have DEEPER conversations about what is life about now? I’m losing it from fear. Help me.” Yes, friends also have deep conversations with you and sometimes they are not available.
All the women talked about solo in a pandemic isn’t fair, even though they know life isn’t fair, they still feel that unfairness. It messes with their self-esteem at times and with their wellness practices. It is so natural for that to happen. We are all vulnerable and going it alone is beyond the badge of courage and resiliency. One woman said, “This might sound self-centered, but I do think it … we are also the HEROES of this time. Many would not survive the day and night of living solo.”
Being able to say what’s up for you right now and how you are feeling with a circle of TRUSTING, caring women, is valuable and fulfilling. It is a community, a belonging, and a healing. Sometimes you aren’t up for brainstorming another way, as all of you know, and gratefully having a safe place to share is more than ENOUGH.
Take extra good care,
We will not forget the tragedy of those who died from Covid-19 and the families and friends mourning their loss.
Thinking of you during this unexpected Covid-19, shelter in place, isolation.
I hope you and your loved ones are healthy and finding moments of fun while living with uncertainty.
Take very good care,
Covid-19 has taught many that people who are good are still GOOD even if sheltered at home. Surprise is, some who weren’t “generous with LISTENING and DOING,” now are, because they are able to make better choices. We were wondering if they have made better choices because they don’t have the PRESSURE of hopping on a plane for the conference event, or long hours at the office that also included depleting driving.
Our Zoom support group, talking about TRANSITIONS, shared some of their thoughts and feelings:
1. My husband sees what I deal with now that he is home. I feel more APPRECIATED.
2. I live SOLO and more people are reaching out to me.
3. Wow, my KIDS actually are whining less when I ask them to set the table.
4. My PARENTS got that my partner and I, even though home together, want the boundary held of not calling every day. Exceptions will happen and that is ok.
5. Work at home has helped me FOCUS better.
6. I am good to myself while being home simply by DRINKING more water.
7. Oh the kindness of the DELIVERY people. Thank you
8. All thought facing DEATH and having people they know suddenly die, has opened hearts to love, LOVE, and love as a priority of living.
9. All realized they were PUSHING themselves way too hard before shelter in place.
10. All said they “lose it often” and are also able to APOLOGIZE sooner.
11. All have felt sad, angry, terrified, melancholy, lonely, STUCK, lost. GRIEVING for what they had is NATURAL. TRIGGERED by past losses is NATURAL.
12. All realized they have too many USELESS things and packed them up for donation when the doors open. Simplify buying.
13. All want to stick to a DAILY practice of quiet time, non-verbal.
14.All are GRATEFUL for taking walks.
15. ALL HOPE TO DISCOVER A NEW MEANING OF LIFE FOR THEMSELVES due to this terrifying virus. Some have and others are on the journey.
16. Some have been more creative, like piano, drawing, POETRY, a sheltered outside area like a patio, and woodworking.
17. They feel stupid when it comes to helping their KIDS with their homework. They don’t like the battle of getting their kids to do school ONLINE. They want the teachers back. Amen.
Oh, the sharing continued with DEEP BRAVERY when they talked about NOT BEING in love, feeling that all they had built for a GOOD LIFE, didn’t mattered now, and they had zero SPIRITUAL practices in their routine.
All of us have “get and go days” at home and other days where binge tv is all that can happen and times of “let’s each just figure out what you can do because I have no good ideas for you, FAMILY, even though I am the parent. Yes, I will still keep you fed. “
Transitions bring forward parts of us that are UNFAMILIAR. My hope is you are extra GENTLE with yourself and stop the CRITIC from believing him/her, as the only part of you, or even what is said to you in your spinning head is true. You can’t get rid of the critic, but you can walk away.
Take extra good care,
What an adjustment for many employees who so enjoyed feeling support from others across the desks and simply liked not being alone. During our Zoom chat, over and over the question of motivation landed in the room.
Here are some suggestions:
1. Get up and go outside even for 10 minutes. Look around and see something you may have not seen before.
2. Line up glasses of water in your kitchen in the hopes of avoiding opening the refrigerator. Add lemon or lime to flavor the water, but not the rind which may have pesticides.
3. Start your day doing something easy and fun, five minutes helps, then your work to do list, well unless you overslept and have no time before jumping on Zoom meeting. Congrats on good sleep.
4. Check in with yourself all throughout the day, asking, “How am I doing right now? What do I need today to feel supported? What stories am I spinning in my head that I need to stop?
5. Awareness of your critic, ” why didn’t I say something better on that call? I sounded so trite.”
6. Putting something on your desk; candle, photo of a loved place, inspirational quotation, that when you look at it, you smile.
7. Take a music break. Kick it up.
8. Be gentle with yourself. No one has a map with this unexpected change. It is natural to find your new rhythm and then lose it. You will get it again and again.
9. Some are enjoying the solitude of focus and not having to interact at the workplace. They are savoring this rare time working from home. Get to know new parts of yourself that you never had a chance to know until this stay at home arrived.
10. Take extra self-care. What is that for you, that is self-caring?
You are welcome to email me with your thoughts. email@example.com
Covid-19 is still here. In our Zoom group of MOTHERS, here are some of the wants they shared:
1. Sit outside with me in the yard, put a BLANKET on my lap, and show me a SILLY dance. I don’t care how old you are. It needs to be at least a two-minute silly dance. Yes, you can wear a costume or dress up or whatever idea you come up with.
2. Make up a song and use anything you have in the house as your instruments and then show me what ya got as I sit in the living room. Yes, the SONG is about ME. My day, and yes, all ABOUT ME; no, I am not self- centered. Just asking for what I like.
3. Of course write me YOU ARE THE BEST MOTHER IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD card, AND, make this love letter specific to why you love me versus Kate’s mom. I mean not as a comparison but as a way to SHOW how you know me.
4. Don’t ask me to do ANYTHING for you from morning to bedtime. Think you can make it through a day like that? Ha Ha.
5. Surprise me but not in the SCAREY kind of surprise.
6. Figure out delicious food for the day and night. I have COOKBOOKS.
7. Read to me, wait for it, from a POETRY book by my bed stand. Yes, read it out loud. No, you do not have to memorize it. This is not a school day.
8. And I save the best for last. Let me tell you all the things I love about BEING YOUR MOM and WHAT YOU HAVE TAUGHT ME without you being on the phone or computer or having to dash to something else.
Some of the above ideas can work if you are not sheltered in together If you only have the phone see if something above works or ask your kids to share a story, a MEMORY of you BEING with them.
I like to PUSH IT on Mother’s Day and ask something creative from them in the sense of a CREATIVE THOUGHT, not art. This year I will ask, “Share with me how you think the world will be BETTER when we move forward to our lives outside of the house?
Wishing you a happy, healthy time together on Mother’s Day.
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.
Poetry helps me during uncertain times, so I pass this one to you.
Each day I begin looking out the window, seeing what I have never seen before…a leaf that wasn’t on that bare branch yesterday.
Each evening I look out that same window to the vast night sky and thank all the people who are risking their lives to help the isolated, the ill, the hungry, the grieving, and the depleted ones.
In the midst of the unknown, I have had people call being more vulnerable than I have heard in the past, asking for help, and needing something that gives them hope and a routine.
When given a listener, you find a way that is helpful for you. You open to new possibilities.
It is not about a permanent solution; it is about what might help you today to feel you aren’t alone? It is ok to not be productive or “on top” of your life.
Meet the part of you that is scared, can’t take it anymore, so disappointed that “the world virus” has ruined your life. Get to know that part of you, not as an enemy but an ally.
Write to that part of you,” Hello you that scares me all the time, what’s it like for you? Hello disappointed self, what do you want me to know today about disappointment?
Be gentle with yourself… Natalie
Natalie Caine, M.A. firstname.lastname@example.org | 10061 Riverside Dr., Suite 1002 Toluca Lake, CA 91602 | 800-446-3310