Article by Cassandra Johnson

It’s April 1st; April Fool’s Day.  It’s hard to imagine that what the entire planet is going through right now is not some sad joke.

The origins of the unofficial holiday is something of a mystery.  There are references dating back to 1392 though most give credit to calendar disputes in the 1500’s.  In Europe, there were people that started celebrating the New Year beginning on March 25th through April 1st.  However, the French rang in the New Year on January 1st and laughed at those who did not do the same; thus, coining the phrase April Fools.  There are biblical scholars that noted that April Fool’s was derived out of the Genesis flood narrative where Noah released the dove from the ark prior to the water diminishing.  This was on April 1st.

The death, sickness and destruction of COVID 19 seems to be a nightmare or joke we cannot escape.  I wish we could say that tomorrow will be different; no one can predict the end of this.  Personally, I know someone that is suffering from it physically, and I believe all of us are suffering from it on many different levels.

The uncertainty of health, income, education, travel, emotional and mental status and family and friends’ well being is causing the floodgates to be wide open for a lot of despair.  Love and connection is my highest value in life.  It is being challenged right now.  I’m finding my personality traits that I do not regard as positive are being heightened.  Anger, impatience, rebellion and the quest for perfectionism spike each day.  I cannot even tell you what day of the week it is because I have an almost blank calendar.  My normal work schedule is derived out of working 7 days per week with very few days under 12 hours.  I also volunteer, take riding lessons, attend exercise classes, am enrolled in the Touched by a Horse program, while finding time with friends/family and my spiritual life.  During the Safer at Home period, I have the time I have been craving and needing but I find myself sad and staring at the wall.  I cry almost every day and feel like I’m having a heart attack due to the pains in my chest.  At times, I feel my whole life has been canceled.

One of my favorite musicians, Bret Michaels is quoted: “My Life is Part Humor, Part Roses, Part Thorns.”  This quote resonates deep within my heart.  I used this quote to put things into perspective and to motive my positive self to shine during this time.

Part Humor:  Though none of this is humorous, I have to find something to laugh about every day.  I love laughing.  Smiling and laughing can bring the hardest of days into something manageable.  I challenge myself to find daily humor or I reach out to friends that can help me.

Part Roses:  I love flowers.  If I could surround myself with flowers every day, I would.  Metaphorically, I do.  There are people and things in my life that make up the bouquet of beautiful roses that will get me through these challenging times.  The creative ways people are connecting right now are phenomenal.  The way we need to do business right now is calling upon all of our creative minds.  I’m texting, Facebook messaging, video chatting, and talking on the phone like a teenager.  Every time I get a message, my heart sings.  The daily virtual hugs brings out the sunshine.  I have started working out every day; no excuses.  I attend online yoga and fitness classes.  I am more active spiritually than I have been in a long time.  I am finding that even though we have the Social Distancing order, strangers are friendlier.  We are finding what is truly most important to us.  The day isn’t without the pain, but it is definitely happier.  Happiness and daily gratitude is what I strive for before the sun sets.

Part Thorns:  I mentioned some of the thorns already.  The thorns we possess are similar thorns to what our neighbor is experiencing.  We are not alone though it’s easy to feel extreme loneliness right now.  We need to find self compassion and love to look at our pain directly.  We can choose to dwell on it or we can choose to crawl out of it.  If we do the latter, we could add to our bouquet of roses.

I will end with a message of love and connection to each of you.  You already know to stay home, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.  Stay well.

Photo Credit: Jörgen Sävström (Sweden)