Imagine that we are standing on the banks of the Mississippi River. It is in fact a few blocks east of where I live in south Minneapolis. Imagine with the writing of this column, I am leaving the rather secure banks of the river and jumping into the water. The water is life experience. With this column I am jumping in. It's scary! I don't know where the water is taking me. It's a fear of the unknown. All I can really do now is go with the flow of the river's energy. My ask of you is that you consider jumping into the river with me to see where Stories and Journeys leads us. You can do this by becoming a reader or even subscribing to or advertising in the Messenger, Monitor or Connector.
Now for me personally, at age 77, I have some sense of where the river is taking me. I call it from adulthood to elderhood and beyond.But I can't really limit myself so I am calling the column Stories and Journeys. Now the focus of this particular column is me describing my journey and telling the stories of how I went from being hit by a car while crossing the street at the intersection of 38th Street and 42nd Ave. in south Minneapolis to becoming a column writer and discovering gratitude for all that is as we flow with the river of life experience.
The year 2019 grew my awareness of my gratitude for all the people who helped me survive and recover from two events related to my health that caused me to be hospitalized, including getting hit by a car. February of 2019 I missed a scheduled opportunity to meet, Tesha M. Christensen, the new owner of the Longfellow-Nokomis Messenger at a gathering of Elder Voices, a small group that had been meeting monthly at Turtle Bread Restaurant. On my way I was hit by a car as I was crossing the street at the intersection of 38th Street and 42nd Ave. As I lay on the ground surrounded by people wanting to help, not realizing that my getting hit by a car is a traumatic event, I requested that someone make their way to Turtle Bread. My request was that they inform the Elder Voices gathering that I was going to be a no show along with the reason why. That announcement alone made the meeting memorable for me, Tesha and others in attendance.
In early 2020 through a variety of media outlets the following words started grabbing my attention: novel, global, COVID-19, pandemic. Out of sheer curiousity and my desire to see a big picture, I read "Deadliest Enemy: Our War Against Killer Germs" by Michael T. Osterholm and Mark Olshaker. This broadened my context for what was happening.However, it took a question asked of me by Tesha, during a phone conversation, that the pandemic started to become real for me. I had called TMC Publications CO/the Messenger to place a notification regarding the next gathering of Elder Voices. Tesha asked me if Elder Voices would be able to social distance. At the time my answer was yes and the notification was published. But her question continued to haunt me. Elder Voices would shut down not long after this conversation along with most of the rest of my life.
There was a period of about 10 days in March when I found myself in a state of shock overwhelmed by what seemed to be happening globally and close to home. As I began to regain my awareness the following themes emerged: 1)The world and my country is not pandemic ready, not even close. 2) People are going to die needlessly. 3) Health care systems and other systems that service us daily are going to be overwhelmed. 4)People's lives are going to be disrupted in some cases severely disrupted. 5) My daily life will never be the same. 6) In the end who will benefit? Who gains? Who loses? Who gets to decide?
My pandemic life and bubble unfolded along two lines. 1)Discovery that writing is how I process my life. 2) Realizing that the digital/technology world is not my natural habitat. In this regard I found out that I am not alone. I was totally lost and disconnected from what had been my in-person life and people whose connection to my life I had taken for granted were disappearing.The experience of grief and loss became part of my life. For a period of time anxiety and depression were all too real for me. Once again, I found out I was not alone.
Today, thanks in large part to Julia, at Longfellow-Seward Healthy Seniors and her IT volunteers I got the support I needed along with technology changes. While there is still much for me to learn about the digital and tech world, my comfort level has grown. I have what I call an online life whereby I can participate by way of Zoom in meetings and events I was missing or did not know about as well as webinars.
Then there was the discovery that writing is how I process my life by expanding my awareness. This observation was made by Amy, certified healing touch practitioner and chief administrative officer at Everspring Health. I became aware that I am always writing in my head, on paper or online. It was Amy's willingness to be the email recipient of my most recent emergence as a writer that enabled me to connect with parts of my life that had gone dormant or disappeared from my awareness. Her website, Delightful Healing Arts, at the time I discovered it played a huge role in my awakening. And Eversping Health, where I go for acupuncture on a regular basis, gave me a reason to get out of my house and became a critical part of my pandemic bubble.
More recently Tesha has come back into my life even though we have yet to meet in person. During an email exchange about an entirely different topic having to do with the launching of the Southwest Connector I mentioned that I was unsure about the next step for my writing. She proposed to me that I become a column writer for TMC Publications, writing about what I am learning from and reflecting upon my unfolding experiences.
So here I am with my Stories and Journeys column. I have taken the plunge. I invite you to join me. Everybody's story can be a unique expression of the universal experience of risk taking.What Stories and Journeys are happening or have happened in your life because you left the relative security of the river bank and jumped into the river of life experience? If you choose tell it to your self, some one else in your life or maybe me.
In gratitude. Stay tuned.
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