Some People Are Painting Rainbows

Let’s not be so focused on the bad that we're blinded to all the good.

Posted Mar 23, 2020

Do you feel like a pioneer yet? Are you doing things you never thought you would do? Cutting your own hair, homeschooling your kids, baking your own bread, making do with whatever you have in the pantry? This time is going to go down in history. Let’s not miss the hidden gift.

Alice Sommers, the oldest living Holocaust survivor who died at 106 said, “Even the bad is good if you know where to look for it.” Let’s not be so focused on the bad that we miss the opportunity to experience the good. The universe has pressed the reset button. Mother Nature has sent us all to our rooms to think about what we are doing to this planet. Let’s not skip that lesson.

This is a time of creativity bursting out everywhere. Some talking dog YouTube videos are so funny that people are laughing till they cry. I was invited to an international dance party. People are writing songs. Balconies are the new concert halls.

Here in Montreal, we stood on our balconies and sang Leonard Cohen songs. In Italy, they’re singing the national anthem and playing accordion for the neighbors. People are cooking. My friend heard of a woman who is drawing a flower every day. I heard that kids are painting rainbows and sticking them in the front windows.

People are resilient, self-reliant, resourceful. We’re not bothering our doctors with our small issues; our dentists’ offices are closed except for emergencies. We’re figuring workarounds to make things happen. The organic grocer is taking orders, bagging your things, and passing the bags to you through the front door. You pay online.

Vikki Stark
Source: Vikki Stark

Let’s not miss the good in the bad. Let’s use our own creativity and make a souvenir to remember this wild trip by. All the things that seemed unthinkable that have become everyday. We need to write it all down. The schools are closed, restaurants are closed, we don’t meet our friends, we don’t go into work, Stephen Colbert did The Late Show from his bathtub. We couldn’t have imagined this!

As much as we’re avoiding each other, we’re reaching out to each other. Checking in. We have more time now that we’re not commuting, now that some of us are not working. We can contact our cousin in Tucson. We can have dinner parties with all of the guests eating at home connected by Zoom. Young people are distributing flyers offering to go grocery shopping for old people. We sign our emails to our friends with “Be well and stay safe.”

I honor the checkout people at the supermarket. I send love to my mailman. I bow down to the nurses, doctors, ICU staff, respiratory therapists. I pay reverence to the hospital cleaners and kitchen staff. I appreciate the public officials who are working hard: the doormen, bus drivers. I don’t forget the sanitation workers and those that work in the recycling plant. We see you. We honor you. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. Namaste.

Families are coming together or exploding apart. People are out strolling in household clusters. Husbands and wives are fighting. The stakes are high. Beautiful moments are experienced with kids. Vicious fights are taking place at 4 a.m. with everyone listening. When this is all over, the landscape will have changed.

We have more time. The world has become a village. Every day is Shabbat. The skies are fresh, and pollution is clearing because people aren’t driving. We’re cleaning our closets. Taking the dog for long walks. Doing Yoga with Adriene. Meditating. Taking up running.

How about keeping a journal on paper so you can remember it all? You can make one if you don’t have an old one in the back of the closet. Keep notes on events and thoughts. How are you feeling today? How did you sleep? Any bizarre dreams? Suffering? What’s the latest unthinkable thing that is happening? What are people saying?

Write it all down and then use your creativity. Put color in it, paste something into it, a quote, make a drawing, insert a photo that you can print on your printer. Make it beautiful, or raw, or painful, or full of fear but express it. And then express it again later in the day or tomorrow.

This is one for the books. Let’s not let it pass us by in a haze of anxiety, selfishness, and fear. As Ryan Holiday said, the obstacle is the way. We can use this crisis as a springboard for growth and change, love and kindness, courage and grace. Embrace it. Breathe.