Peace in a Pandemic

Finding peace in a disrupted time is tough. For many of our receiving charities, that's they're work-a-day gig. They companion people in disrupted life circumstances.

What is peace, anyway?

The word peace may mean something different to you than it does to me. For some, peace is a feeling of calm, or the absence of conflict. Some people experience peace as the lack of any emotion at all. Others feel at peace when they have a sense of control in their lives.

I've come to identify peace as a quiet heart. Sometimes that means a feeling of spaciousness in my mind, heart, or even body. Another way of describing that is the ability to take a deep, deep breath -- a feeling of relaxation and permission even when circumstances are very difficult.

That seems to be an important thing about peace? It is a sense of rightness, quiet, or well-being even when things all around are wobbling. Maybe even downright awful.

Can I find calm...even now?

What has the COVID-19 Pandemic been like for you? Are you having difficult finding peace in the midst of global fear? There are resources near you that can give you a little back-up if that's what you need. Seek them out. Your mental, emotional, spiritual, and physical health are worth the effort.

You may be someone who has had a gentle experience of this unprecedented upheaval. If so, might you be one who offers peace to others? You may be one of the helpers. If so, thank you! Please take care of your Self while you're reaching out to others. And if you're having moments when a quiet heart is illusive, reach out for your own supports, ok? We need you to keep getting your own cup filled up so that you can continue to share with others.

What DACC is doing to help

Here at Donate a Car Canada we continue to work through this crisis time to aid Canadian charities in their ongoing work. Sometimes cool cash is the best way to bring calm into the midst of a storm. Part of our role in all of this is to keep right on processing vehicle donations. Those donations result in the much-needed dollars our charities depend on to keep purveying goodness in our hurting world. Thank you for considering how you might be a part of that!

pick n pull

Peaceful Parenting

Parenting in an a new normal

What has this past month been like for you? If you're the parent of school-aged children you may be feeling a lot of pressure these days. Some of you are working from home while hands-on parenting. Home schooling used to be the practice of a minority (myself included), and is now the norm. If you have a child with special needs or learning challenges, you may have added complications.

Are you finding support in all of that? There are resources available to you. Do seek them out. This is a time for asking for what we need, and leaning into available resources.

Kim Golding on peaceful parenting

My colleague forwarded this on to me just yesterday. It's from Kim S. Golding, 2015, with an added acknowledgement of Clover Childcare, Norfolk.

This gentle 7-step guide may be a helpful resource for all of us as parents? First, it offers a reminder for us to take a minute to check in with our self when facing into a parenting conundrum. "Calm begets calm; peace begets peace." So say parenting specialists. That calm begins with us as parents. Take a look at this:

That trusty oxygen mask

The well-worn metaphor of the oxygen mask on the airplane applies here: Mom? Dad? Take your own deep breaths first. Then tend to your kiddo.

One of my practice instructors has patiently reminded me, "When we change the dialogue with which we speak to our self, we'll change the way we speak to others. As we transform inwardly, we'll change outwardly." What does she mean by that? Be nice!

This is the time to be "excessively gentle" (John O'Donohue) with ourselves. And as we turn compassion inward, we'll find ourselves more able to be patient and understanding outwardly.

May peaceful parenting bring about peaceful kiddos in a decidedly un-peaceful time in history. You've got this! And where you need back-up? Reach out. You are not alone.

pick n pull

“Self-isolation” and other new normals

Self-isolation. Quarantine. Social distancing. COVID-19. Home school. PPE. The language and practice of our times has shifted forever. Virtually overnight, we've adopted a new set of priorities (toilet paper!). Our vernacular includes words that we had little frame of reference for when the calendar flipped to 2020.

Living in our Sci-Fi-like world

What has it been like for you to suddenly face into a world where masks, gloves, and empty grocery shelves are commonplace? Are you doing well?

In my other life I have a unique "job": I listen for a living. Not as a therapist or counselor, but as one who holds story and asks questions. Challenging questions. Questions that help us to sink deeply into the mysteries and fears and wonderments of life. "Why is there suffering?" "What can I do about feeling completely overwhelmed?" "Is grief a form of mental illness?" "Am I broken?" "Is there a God? And if there is...what the heck is going on here?!"

The weird and wobbly shift we're experiencing globally burbles those questions to the surface for some of us. When getting in a car and driving to run an errand feels like you've landed in a B-grade pandemic movie...well...it can get the curiosity about the deep things stirring.

Boredom...and overwhelm

Do you have the sense that we're living in an altered reality of extremes? Those who are isolated alone, without work or resources, facing into unrelenting boredom. Others who, overnight, began juggling full-time work, hands and eyes-on parenting, and pandemic fears. Seniors with loved ones desperately reaching toward them; elderly feeling abandoned and fated to fall sick...alone. Essential workers grinding out hours of minimum-wage labor in the face of moment-by-moment risk of illness. Helpers (so many many many helpers) working flat-out to heal, relieve, come alongside suffering.

Where do you land on the spectrum? Are you okay? Maybe you feel this is all a hoax and you're just weary of the news reel. Perhaps you're grateful for the relief that the demand that you remain at home has brought into your overworked, over-extended life?

We're all in this together

However we're experiencing this wildly disruptive upheaval, we're all in it. Those of us that have enough food to eat and a place to shelter (in self-isolation...with, or without loved ones) may come through this quite comfortably. Many will suffer much more intently. There are speed bumps to getting medication, mental health care, financial aid, and the critical social contact of human touch. Some families are sardine-canned into tiny living spaces. Some rough and rocky relationships are unsafely confined behind closed windows and doors.

Our entire charity roster has taken a tremendous hit as everyone collectively holds their breath. As many of us clutch our wallets and resources close: what if I need what I have? What if there isn't enough to go around? I feel this shift in myself, absolutely. Where I might typically give without thinking? Now, I think carefully and do the math slowly.

When giving money and groceries isn't an option

Donate a Car Canada continues to work on behalf of almost 1,000 Canadian charities. If you need more space in your garage to create a little distance between you and your self-isolating loved ones, consider donating that recycle-ready car through our program! Clear the driveway. Clean out that back patch in the yard that's been cradling your, "I promise I'm gonna' fix it up one day!" old collector. We can help you reach toward the cause you love!

pick n pull

COVID-19

COVID-19 has now reached pandemic classification according to the World Health Organization. Visit their site for informative videos and instructions on how to interact with this concern in your area.

The live numbers

If you're curious about tracking the spread of actual numbers affected by this virus, Worldometer, and GIS and Data are both helpful resources.

Clicking on either of these links will bring you to clear information about which countries are encountering the illness directly. They note the number of active cases, actual deaths, and overall counts via graphs and other graphics.

What should I do if I think I'm sick?

CALL 811 (do not go to an emergency room).

If you have symptoms such as fever, cough and difficulty breathing and have travelled outside Canada or have been exposed to someone who has COVID-19, stay home and call Health Link 811. If you are not seriously ill, do not go to a physician’s office, a health care facility or a lab without consulting with Health Link 811 first. Call 911 if you are seriously ill and need immediate medical attention and inform them that you may have COVID-19.

What is self-isolation

Self-isolation means avoiding situations where you could infect other people. This means all situations where you may come in contact with others, such as social gatherings, work, school, child care, athletic events, university, faith-based gatherings, healthcare facilities, grocery stores, restaurants, shopping malls, and all public gatherings.

You should, (where possible) not use public transportation including buses, taxis, or ride sharing.

As much as possible, you should limit contact with people other than the family members/companions who you travelled with.

You should avoid having visitors to your home, but it is okay for friends, family or delivery drivers to drop off food.

You can also use delivery or pick up services for errands such as grocery shopping.

Avoid sharing household items such as dishes, drinking glasses, cups, eating utensils, towels, pillows, or other items with other people in your home. After using these items, you should wash them thoroughly with soap and water, place in the dishwasher for cleaning, or wash in the washing machine.

Wash your hands often with soap and water and regularly clean and disinfect frequently touched and shared surfaces such as doorknobs and counters.

If you need to leave your home for an urgent errand, such as picking up essential medication, as a precaution to reduce risk of spread, you should wear a surgical mask while you are out.

During this time, it is important that you monitor your health for symptoms like fever or cough, and call Health Link 811 if you have any concerns.

How can I protect myself?

To help protect against all respiratory illnesses, including the flu and COVID-19, you should:

Wash your hands often and well. Refer to hand-washing guidance here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/Page14955.aspx

Avoid touching your face, nose, or mouth with unwashed hands. o Avoid close contact with people who are sick

Clean and disinfect surfaces that are frequently touched

Stay at home and away from others if you are feeling ill

When sick, cover your cough and sneezes and then wash your hands. Refer to respiratory etiquette guidance here: https://www.albertahealthservices.ca/info/Page14511.aspx

Coronavirus, COVID-19

With Coronavirus on our minds, let's take in what the professionals are saying. Further, let's exercise our own good judgement.

World Health Organization

The WHO notes,

Coronaviruses (CoV) are a large family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. These include Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS-CoV) and Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS-CoV). A new strain is Coronavirus (nCoV)

Coronaviruses are transmitted between animals and people.  SARS-CoV was transmitted from civet cats to humans and MERS-CoV from dromedary camels to humans. Several known coronaviruses are circulating in animals that have not yet infected humans. 

Common signs of infection include respiratory symptoms. Fever, cough, shortness of breath and breathing difficulties can present. In addition, in more severe cases, infection can cause pneumonia, severe acute respiratory syndrome, kidney failure, and even death. 

Standard recommendations to prevent infection spread include regular hand washing. Morever, covering mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing, as well as thoroughly cooking meat and eggs is smart. Not only that, avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

WHO on Coronavirus

Global News on COVID-19

COVID-19 cases in Canada are mild. Canadian cases are all travel-related.

How to take precautions

We are not strangers to the threat of pandemics or outbreaks. As you recall, SARS, the bird flu, and others have all grabbed our attention in recent years. What is a wise response to concerning news about health risks such as these?

While panic and catastrophic thinking are unhelpful, a measured approach to having a stock of ready supplies may bring some peace of mind? Toiletries, water, non-perishable food, and a stack of really good books may be a good place to start. Two weeks' worth won't take up much space, and it may come in handy.

If you're symptomatic, stay home. We can each do our part to stem a spread if we ourselves are unwell. This is good practice with any flu or cold: we can respect our selves and our others simply by resting and healing when we're sick.

While you're tucked in

If you're under the weather and finding some unexpected down time, consider our 800 charities and the work they're doing to aid the vulnerable, ill, and unseen every day.

pick n pull