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Life Arts    H2'ed 4/6/20

Chalking It Up to Changes, Connections and Coincidences

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Chalk
Chalk
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Where I live, spring has sprung. And not a moment too soon. What with social distancing and sheltering in place, I strongly endorse walking for exercise. It's key to whatever level of mental health I've been able to achieve.

When I walk, I purposely don't listen to podcasts or talk on the phone. Although I love both reading and listening to podcasts and sometimes even talking on the phone, I've often felt that doing that on a walk defeats at least part of the purpose of interacting with and in the outside world. Multitasking prevents me from fully experiencing the present moment. So, especially now, I try to be all in when I walk. I aim for eye contact and a greeting. Lately, I've been on the lookout for handmade signs and sidewalk art. If I'm lucky, the artists are around and we can shmooze about their creations.

Last Thursday, I met Mila, 8, and her sister, Zoe, students at the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Literary and Fine Arts School. It was a sunny day and they were hard at work decorating their driveway.

Mila and Zoe pose with their artwork
Mila and Zoe pose with their artwork
(Image by Joan Brunwasser)
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Artists at rest
Artists at rest
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Their banner reads:  'You rock!'
Their banner reads: 'You rock!'
(Image by Joan Brunwasser)
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I am also busy collecting ideas for activities and resources we can avail ourselves of in this downtime. It's growing beautifully. One very underrated activity is getting one's yayas out. We all need ways to vent. Kids cooped up indefinitely surely need it even more. On one of my walks, I photographed a soccer goal in someone's front yard. It was early and no one was about. That afternoon, the kids were out in the yard along with their dad, who was manning his laptop. I introduced myself and explained about my project. He told me that he has made a point to keep his kids off FaceBook. I applaud that; I told him that I wish more people did. I asked if he would be okay with me taking pictures of the boys from the rear. He agreed. Here are those bonus shots. Much better AND I got a good story out of it.

A goal without a ball is like a...
A goal without a ball is like a...
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Taking advantage of a sunny afternoon
Taking advantage of a sunny afternoon
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Having a ball outside
Having a ball outside
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I ran across a great quote from Harry Potter but the combination of the shadows cast by overhead branches and the faint writing thwarted me from getting a clear shot. I wished that the anonymous scrivener would recognize the issue and redo it so that it was more legible and share worthy. Imagine my delight when the next day, the branches made way for me AND the chalk printing had been redone!

Quote from Harry Potter
Quote from Harry Potter
(Image by Joan Brunwasser)
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"Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light. - Albus Dumbledore

I have been making a conscious effort to tweak my morning routine. I no longer read mainstream or even alternate media news first thing in the morning. It sets a negative tone for the rest of the day. Instead, now I have access to several sources of good news - goodnewsnetwork.org and Yes! Magazine. Those good news stories make me smile and give me material to share with you readers, leavening some of the heaviness out there.

This is so important, for all of us--we are what we think about. Back in 2000, after that dismal election, being inundated day in and day out by what I considered bad news was really wearing me down. I had also inadvertently put myself in a vulnerable position by allowing myself to be literally jolted awake by my clock radio spewing bad news. Not a healthy way to start the day. I replaced the clock radio with a clock that wakes me up by shining a soft intermittent light. Being gently awakened as well as starting the day with good news are great steps toward setting the tone for my day. In a time when I feel powerless about so many things, this is a way of reasserting my control over those aspects of my life that I actually can control.

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Joan Brunwasser is a co-founder of Citizens for Election Reform (CER) which since 2005 existed for the sole purpose of raising the public awareness of the critical need for election reform. Our goal: to restore fair, accurate, transparent, secure elections where votes are cast in private and counted in public. Because the problems with electronic (computerized) voting systems include a lack of (more...)
 

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