Gone for Good?

I did a post in April 2021 with my ‘good riddance list’ of things that had gone by the wayside during the pandemic so far. My list was based on an article by one of my favorite Seattle Times humor writers, Ron Judd: ‘From commuting to Costco samples: ‘Ron Judd’s list of 20 things we DON’T need back after the pandemic’.

Ron and I had a fair amount of overlap on our lists, such as:

  • Rush hour commutes
  • Retreats/Trainings/Conferences
  • Food sample cart jams at Costco
  • In person doctor visits
  • Super size buffets – I added potlucks
  • Frisbee size restaurant pagers

A year later, are these now Gone for Good???  Hmmmmm…not so fast!

  • Traffic is easily back to its pre pandemic level, as is travel – even though only 1/3 of Seattle workers have returned to the office.
  • My ‘still working’ friends are retreating and traveling to in-person conferences and trainings
  • At our recent visit to Costco, people were lined up for food samples again
  • I have an in-person doctor visit in June, but am delighted that telehealth is still an option
  • My favorite breakfast buffet at Marriott Residence Inns was gone for a number of months, replaced by a to go bag with sugary yoghurt, apple juice, and a granola bar ☹.  I am pleased to learn that their breakfast is back and much improved!
  • I’ve held two restaurant pagers in the past month

Of note, here are a few good things that do appear to be gone for good:

  • Real cups and plates at most Starbucks – you can bring your own cup or buy one from their vast selection! Their one use cups still head to the landfill.
  • Popcorn while you wait at Les Schwab Tires – I never had the popcorn, but a loss is a loss 😊
  • And, most importantly, we lost our beloved Yulie (7/22/21) ☹

History repeats itself over and over again, but most of us have short memories.

Mike Colter


Loving Kindness

I first started my meditation practice, such as it is, when we lived in CA.  JP and I attended a weekly group meditation and that was when I dipped my toe in.  I haven’t gotten much beyond my foot in the past 20 years.  JP, on the other hand, has advanced far beyond my still very rudimentary meditation practice.

My most recent foray into a more regular practice started at the beginning of the pandemic.  Thanks to Maria Shriver, I found the free 30-day series on Sounds True: Mindfulness Daily: Create a Life-Changing Meditation Practice in Less than 15 Minutes a Day by Jack Kornfield and Tara Brach.  I have done the course a number of times and frequently find myself repeating my favorite practice, Loving Kindness.

I am still a total neophyte, but the practice more or less consists of finding a quiet space and repeating phrases like:

  • May I be well
  • May I be safe
  • My I live with joy and ease
  • May I be at peace

The first step is offering loving kindness to ourselves, then to extend it to others (beginning with people you know), and finally to all living beings.  I have found this practice very helpful when I am down on myself (or am particularly anxious) or when I am challenged by someone (either personally or professionally).  Offering others loving kindness seems like a way to wish them well and to (hopefully) soften any negative feelings on my part.

This brings me to the people of Ukraine. 

I was interested to find out that Ukrainians form the largest group of European-born residents in Washington state. From 2000-2019, the Ukrainian population in our state grew by 69% while the Russian population increased by 22% (U.S. Census Bureau/Seattle Times).

My husband had an opportunity to get to know a number of immigrants from Ukraine when he fished for pink salmon last fall.  The fish eggs from female salmon are considered a Ukrainian delicacy and my husband was quick to offer eggs from the female fish he caught.  The fish eggs became a great cross cultural connector!

With the Russian invasion, this seems like a good time to offer Loving Kindness to the people of Ukraine.  With many practical ways to help, such as donating to the International Committee of the Red Cross, etc., offering them Loving Kindness can seem like a very small drop in a very vast bucket! I would argue that a drop is better than nothing.

Imagine all the people living life in peace.

John Lennon, 1971


P.S. The Ukraine sketch in the lower right hand corner of today’s collage is by Charlie Mackesy. If you don’t have his book or follow him on Instagram, you are missing out! 😊