“My immediate happiness and contentment came from my beloved canine companions. Simba and Turtle kept me in check – focused and in the moment.”

Dear Friends & Colleagues,

One year since our lives turned into something we did not expect. We did not recognize. That day in March when the world paused. The shock. The reverberation of motion coming to a halt. The silence on the streets. Doors shut. Windows boarded. And, we held our breath as we all asked, “What now”?

At work I sat and read the email that it was time to go home until… I sat at my desk wondering if and when we’d return. Glued to my chair I did not want to move. What do I take? What do I leave behind? Just days before, I was in New York City in one of those wonderfully crowded city events where you’re so jammed in with people you have to squeeze and turn sideways to move through the packed room. Where people were talking face-to-face and in one’s ear to hear over the roar of laughter and conversation. The buffet upon the table filled with mouthwatering delights, open to serve and take at will with everyone reaching over one another while discussing each beautifully laid out dish. Wonderful. Normal. Oh, how we take the ordinary for granted! Who would’ve thought that normal would lose its meaning in the next 48 hours.

Taking it all for granted. This is the focus I’ve attempted to change over the past year. To be grateful and embrace what’s good. What is the positive that one can hold on to that has come from this devastating historical global moment. Gratitude. I am grateful. My mantra. To embrace the mundane and make it wonderful. I admit, it has been challenging. Isolation makes one look inward to decide who you will become. Will I reimagine a new way of living? Can I imagine a new way to live or, will I go to sleep until it’s over! Life is challenging and forcing us to create in the moment and structure ourselves to be resilient. We certainly could not do this alone. We need each other. Social creatures forced to isolate. The outcomes are both happy and sad. My immediate happiness and contentment came from my beloved canine companions. Simba and Turtle kept me in check – focused and in the moment. Grateful. Calm, happy, active, in a routine. My rescue dogs taught me resiliency. They helped to rescue me.

Hope. Resilience. Compassion. You. That’s how we keep moving. All of us reimagining the work and the people we want to be within it. Challenges that sometimes feel impossible to overcome, but together we get through. Our hearts rebound. We cherish fleeting moments of joy and laughter and hold them tight. The world keeps turning. Daybreak comes. We wake. And, in that split second between slumber and the new day we forget that things aren’t as they were. We shake off sleep. Our dreams. We remember. The world has shifted. But, we rise. We stride into the new day. There’s people, there’s children, there’s animals that need us. We are in the walls of home reaching out into the world.

The sun continues to shine after the rain. Even a rainbow occasionally. A light in the darkness is now beginning to glow. We look back to when we thought: “How do we go on? How do we function?” We pause for those who are not with us. We pause to be grateful for all of the essential workers who were out there every day keeping our lives going. Keeping our health alive. I never thought I’d be so excited to see the postman. The waste removal and grocery store workers! They were not only there every day to help us, to serve the community, but there as a symbol of strength, inspiration – normalcy.

I will never ever get accustomed to avoiding people instead running towards. There’s a twinge of guilt when I distance myself. To overcome, I’ve learned to smile with my eyes. I wave, salute and give the victory and peace sign to try and demonstrate camaraderie and a connection. An understanding of where we are.

I miss all of you so very much. How lucky I feel to share this journey with you .I look forward to seeing you in person as soon as possible. For now, I close with a bough and hand over my heart to you and yours. Tonight I shall dream again of that crowded room in New York City. See you there.

Peace & love,