The Kenwood Press
: 05/15/2020

Our deeper selves reweaving ourselves during lockdown

Donna Colfer

For days, I sat thinking about what I could contribute for this edition, feeling helpless knowing that people are losing their jobs or businesses in droves. Financial hardship and so many business failures for so many people seem overwhelming. As if the financial worries and helpless feeling weren't enough, people are dying in record numbers worldwide from the COVID-19 pandemic while the constant barrage from media continuously hammering our political divide pulls us further and further down the emotional rabbit hole.

I asked myself what truly has meaning and inspiration for others. One person who has always given me a calming reset of mind and heart is the poet John O'Donohue. The Coronavirus pandemic has been described as the invisible enemy. This is an excerpt from O'Donohue's book, Beauty: The Invisible Embrace.

The voice of your own soul

"When you take the time to draw on your listening-imagination, you will begin to hear this gentle voice at the heart of your life. It is deeper and surer than all the other voices of disappointment, unease, self-criticism and bleakness. All holiness is about learning to hear the voice of your own soul. It is always there and the more deeply you learn to listen, the greater surprises and discoveries that will unfold. To enter into the gentleness of your own soul changes the tone and quality of your life. Your life is no longer consumed by hunger for the next event, experience or achievement. You learn to come down from the treadmill and walk on the earth. You gain a new respect for yourself and others and you learn to see how wonderfully precious this one life is. You begin to see through the enchanting veils of illusion that you had taken for reality. You no longer squander yourself on things and situations that deplete your essence. You know now that your true source is not outside you. Your soul is your true source and a new energy and passion awakens in you."

These are unprecedented times that require each of us to let go of the non-essential and "to see through the enchanting veils of illusion that you had taken for reality," as we watch our incomes disappear and investments disintegrate.

As we shelter in place, what feels more realistic today is drawing out the deeper aspects of ourselves - our passions, interests, and abilities - because suddenly there's more time without the familiar routine. These deeper aspects have always been there, but lying dormant in part due to society's addiction to speed, productivity, and money. Being in touch with often ignored aspects of our lives allows us to connect more meaningfully with our children, significant others, and friends. Get outside. Feel the earth beneath your feet by gardening and getting the soil between your fingers. Read from the pile of favorite books waiting for you on the desk and call family members you haven't spoken to in a while. Meditate for an hour instead of 10 minutes. Retrieve the magic of the ordinary and rediscover the sacred in each thing. As time passes you may adopt routines that today feel strange and new but result in a stronger, happier you.

What is being rewoven in your life? What are you leaning into that's green and juicy and brings you a deeper sense of peace? I started a "reweaving" collage of what's altering in my life. I saved a small, open weave burlap bag that once held organic coffee and placed it in the center of my collage with beautiful images emerging from it and all around the bag depicting the rewoven parts of me. It's a beautiful reminder of transition and the realization that I'm on the threshold of a different "me."

I hope you're finding support during this time, possibly from unexpected sources. It seems that only when "normal" dissolves that we awaken to new possibilities...even if they were available all along.

A colleague of mine, Cynthia Riggs, a successful business owner for 40 years, owns Biz Diva, a business coaching practice. She wrote "Financial Self Care - Concrete Options for COVID-19 Relief" listing ways to help businesses stay afloat during the shelter in place lockdown. I've listed them below. She's also giving away a 30-minute conversation offering guidance. A great value! Email her at cynthia@bizdiva.biz.

  • The Federal Relief bill allows self-employed people to collect unemployment benefits. A new website opened April 28 especially for business owners and the self-employed called the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). Here is the link for California: edd.ca.gov/about_edd/coronavirus-2019/pandemic-unemployment-assistance.htm.
  • If you have a relationship with a bank that funds SBA loans, it's likely to accept round two of the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loan forgiveness applications. The program is available to corporations and solopreneurs. Time is of the essence: if you haven't already applied, do so immediately as the funds will run out again.
  • If you are a homeowner or own your business property, call your mortgage lender and ask for relief from monthly payments. There are banks delaying mortgage payments for up to six months.
  • If you rent, either personally or on behalf of your business, ask your landlord for a break in your rent or a delay in your rent payments. Not everyone will be able or willing to accommodate you but it's worth asking.
  • If you have credit card debt, contact your credit card company and find out what they can do for you. Options are available on their websites. Many are allowing deferred payments, and some are deferring the accrual of interest.
  • If you have a car loan, contact your lender and ask for deferment or temporary reduction on your payments.
  • Getting a break from your insurance companies is also worth the try: auto, healthcare, renter's insurance, and more.
  • If you're relying on credit cards to get through these challenging times or need to consolidate debt, I recommend asking your bank about applying for a federal disaster loan. They're low-interest and designed to help you stay afloat at a lower interest rate.
  • Review your expenses - including online subscriptions - and get tough about letting go of them. Even in the best of times it's a good idea to cut expenses. Now it's an excellent way to reduce monthly outlays of money.
  • If you are an Xfinity/Comcast customer, Xfinity Mobile is available to you. You can get up to five lines with unlimited talk and text and no phone line access fees. You only pay for data.
  • If your student loans haven't already been paused, contact your bank and ask for deferment.
  • Federal and California State Income tax deadlines have been postponed until July 15, 2020. Not only were your tax returns not due last month but you also don't make payments to the federal government until mid-July. This includes self-funded retirement accounts.
  • The Federal Relief bill allows employers to postpone payment of 2020 payroll taxes through the end of 2022. You will have to pay 50 percent of the taxes by the end of 2021.