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  • Writer's pictureSamantha May Lee

The Things I am Thankful For...

I must admit that after 3 weeks of being at home, isolating from everyone except for immediate family whom I live with and hearing that we have not reached the peak of the infection and that the forecast for the next 2 weeks is even grimmer than what we've seen so far, I started hyperventilating, my hands became clammy, sweat broke out of my forehead and an influx of worrying thoughts flooded my mind.  Being a business owner who just opened my online store, selling luxury products--these are not promising news.  I had a full-blown panic attack.  

We are in the middle of production for my Dreams by Halley Reh collection including charm bracelets, rings and gift collection in time for mother's day, graduation, numerous trade shows (all have been canceled) and of course, this year's holiday season.  At the beginning of this year, we've ramped up growing our Moissanite stones to be used for these products and started to aggressively market our loose stones for those who want to design their own engagement rings. Needless to say, all of these activities have been halted and will remain at a standstill until God knows how long. Our governor just announced an ordinance to "shelter-in-place" that will take effect tomorrow.  These are truly troubling times. 

I went outside to take long, deep breaths and remember to live at the moment.  I closed my eyes, took a slow, deep breath into my nose to where my abdomen almost touches the base of my spine and slowly exhaled through my pursed lips as if I am blowing through a straw.  I did this 6 times and as I open my eyes I asked myself, what are you thankful for today?  I walked around my backyard, the sun is shining bright, the weather is PERFECT! Not cold, not hot.  The pollen count is way down. The lake in front of me is beautiful! My strawberries are starting to bloom! My blueberries are starting to emerge, my pink dogwood tree is gorgeous! And the kales I planted just a few days ago have germinated.  All of my immediate and extended family are healthy and we all have toilet paper.  Immediately my mood changed.  I'm calmer, have renewed focus and renewed hope that this situation is going to change.  We may not know when, but we all know it will pass.  

I remember watching someone on TV describe how captors of American POWs try to break them by bombarding them with lies, unreal, devastating news.  Some, after hearing these shattering narratives on a daily basis started to believe it.  They will walk to the corner and perish of a broken heart. But soldiers who kept their hope that one day they will be freed, that one day they will be reunited with their families and dreamt of what they will do, where they will vacation and look forward to eating the food they miss, thrived and were eventually freed.  I hope that we all learn from this and look beyond what is in the now and dream of what we will do when this pandemic is over.  Don't forget that this is a temporary situation we're in. 

We, humans, have survived pandemics like this before and we thrived.  Just a little over 10 years ago, a lot of people lost their jobs, businesses, homes, their life savings but our economy bounced back and most of those people got their homes and life in-line again.  In the midst of these uncertain and difficult times we started to see how we are more connected and people are stepping up to help one another. I heard someone said, "If you can't do what you do, do what you can". So here I am doing what I can, sharing my own personal vulnerability so that whoever reads this and have the same fear as I do, know that they are not alone. I acknowledge your fear and feeling of uncertainty but don't get drowned by it.  It may seem counter-intuitive but I learned to give when I feel inadequate. It may seem counter-intuitive but  It gives me a sense of appreciation and connection to people, a sense of fulfillment instead of wallowing in self-pity for what I do not have at the moment.  The sense of gratitude that I am able to help others drown my sense of lack.  Now go and think about what you can do. If you're able, make sure you support your local businesses and donate to your local food bank. If not, realize that giving doesn't always need to involve money.  A chat with a friend who may be living alone will bring someone a sense of normality.  Send a funny GIF to someone celebrating their birthday. . . . and most importantly, stay at home.  It is the simplest, most important thing you can contribute at this time.  Stay safe and healthy!

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