By Dean Whittaker

My meditation this morning was on the power of focus and flow in daily life.  My routines have been disrupted by a pandemic. I am finding that being present and focused for small moments in time is the best I can do.  My daily routines of meditating, preparing and eating breakfast, shower and shaving, and getting dressed are somewhat the same.  My concerns are still for staying healthy, being supportive of my family, friends, and my clients in their work.  After that, everything has changed.

Working alone in my office or at home, missing the human interaction of my colleagues, and relying on technology to keep us connected is strange.  I do my best to reach out and check in with clients and friends seeking connection and to know that I am not alone.  If I fall prey to the barrage of the media, my anxiety spikes and I become lost in fear and lose focus. My meditation and breathing help bring me back and keep me focused on “one-step-at-a-time.” 

Generally, I am an optimistic person. Some would say I am a dreamer.  With my optimism in hand, I explore “the new.” On the personal side, playing the guitar and gardening. On the business side, podcasting, Zoom, and finding new data sources to improve the quality of my work. There are reminders that things are not as they once were.  For example, a trip to the hardware store requires donning a lone ranger face mask. Shopping for groceries at odd hours and counting the cars in the parking lot to determine my level of risk. Also, there is the Amazon delivery person dropping the packages at the door and running back to their truck. 

Nature helps me regain my balance.  The star outside my window at the end of my meditation reminds me that nature has remained somewhat the same. While climate change has brought record rainfall raising nearby Lake Michigan to record high levels, it also is creating an abundance of cucumbers in my garden rather than the usual overflowing crop of tomatoes and zucchinis.  While we get variation inside the cycle, we still have the same larger cyclical patterns. 

Reconnecting with old friends, although mostly through electronic means, has brought me great joy.  Hearing their voices, seeing their faces reminds me of the importance of human connection. The hug and the firm handshake have given way to the nod of social distancing and the smile to the face mask, but the love and care is still there. When I “reach out and touch someone” (electronically that is) I find they need me as much as I need them. And I am full of gratitude for that day’s gift of friendship.

Back to my morning routines.