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What is Normal

by Shirley Riga

I feel communities pushing

Impatient for the normal

holding denial in their hands

looking toward familiar routine

I want people to get it

Act responsibly

Feel their consequences

react from their heart

I’m mindful of the hat I wear

The filters I see through

Aware of my fear

Holding love in my hand

When I leave the house

I’m wearing my

Awareness with caution

My trust and smile

Before I know it

Fear slips in

Filter changes

False evidence appears real

So easy it is to lose focus

So quick it is to call it back

My mind searches for a ledge

Of safety I recognize with practice

With the presence of my silence

As my friend

This Is the Time to Be Slow by John O’Donohue

This is the time to be slow

Lie low to the wall

Until the bitter weather passes

Try, as best you can, not to let

The wire brush of doubt

Scrape from your heart

All sense of yourself

And your hesitant light.

If you remain generous,

Time will come good;

And you will find your feet

Again on fresh pastures of promise,

Where the air will be kind

And blushed with beginning.


  • I was tired last night and convinced myself I had the coronavirus. My fear escalated in 20 nanoseconds. I thought about an acronym for FEAR – false evidence appearing real. All I needed was rest. This morning I am fine.

  • I liked the lines “ledge of safety” and “wire brush of doubt”. I was agitated this morning due to online credit card issues. During the meditation, I processed my agitation and got into my breath.

  • It was all fear. Your intention was there.

  • It’s hard to define what is normal anymore. It keeps changing. I like the line ‘time will come good.”

  • I’m not in control of anything. I thought about that and my anger came up. I realized that that is my ego. I don't have to do anything or be anyplace. My body felt heavy and began relaxing. I'm letting go, which is my goal.

  • This was a good reading, it’s about slowing down. I was in a funk about not being able to celebrate my grandson’s birthday with him today. I focused on the feeling of me standing on holy ground. Wherever we are out in the world, our higher power walks with us. I was frustrated but I got into acceptance. I focused on gratitude and on giving, instead of what I can't do today

  • I started the meditation with agitation as well. By the end, I felt like I was floating in calmness. It took time, like the line “time will come good”.

  • I experienced great and scary things with my son yesterday. We drove to someplace new and got out of the car. It dawned on me that we had no masks and I wasn't on high alert. It was the first time after months of needing to protect self. It held normalcy but it was scary.

  • The moment held both.

  • I read a meme that said “crazy how we used to eat cake that people blew onto”. How it affects everything

  • We can lose focus quickly and also regain it. I have choices today, and I can go into good places or fear. It's my choice

  • I’m thinking about what will it look like when we come out of this. I’ve seen travelers from Japan in the past wearing masks and it looked weird. Now we are used to it. Someday, perhaps, there will be design awards for masks. We’ll develop fun new rituals. It’s hard to stay alert outside. But I feel it important to model good behavior so I grab my mask. Someday it may become automatic behavior to be alert.

  • Those of us who are white have not had to be so alert before when we go outside. But people of color have faced this for years. African-American children have had to be taught to be careful outside ‘driving while black’, ‘walking while black’, etc. Don’t go jogging or you’ll be killed like that young man was recently. White people are learning to be alert.

  • Puddle jumping is a term I use to denote speeding through life without learning from our experiences. It’s important to wade through the puddles in our journey to learn. If we are focused on the future, we don’t learn from the puddles we are jumping over. Puddle jumping leads to fearful thinking. Time has sped up. In a month we’ll know more and experience more than we know now. Stay in the present. Wade through the puddle.

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