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04/06/2020 06:01:23 PM


Miriam Bradman Abrahams

Fear and Living in Long Island

Anyone who knows me is aware that I'm not one to sit around at home. I was born with shpilkes, the desire to get out, see and do, visit and attend. So these past couple of weeks of self-quarantine have been weird, to say the least. The only thing that makes it even more (or possibly less) bizarre is the fact that most everyone around the world is practicing this same exercise in self-control. And also, that it’s less a ‘practice’ but a life or death scenario. Thankfully, we lack for no humorous memes and videos emphasizing both the importance and the ridiculousness of the situation.

We are living with our newlywed daughter and son-in-law in a two-bedroom apartment, which is a source of great joy for me and my husband. I'm fairly sure the young couple do not share our excitement. Regardless, they are a wonderful reason for me to stay safe and home.

Our mandated self-quarantine after traveling back from Israel officially ends today, but to what end?

I haven't seen my parents in Brooklyn in over a month. The same goes for my two sons and daughters-in-law. Those who can are working from home and I've adapted to teaching my yoga classes via zoom. Like everyone else, we will just continue our state of quarantine – except for my husband, David. David returns to work as a physician at South Nassau Hospital this week. He will join his coworkers at the front line dealing with this killer virus.

I read Dr. Sidlow's brave, fascinating and horrifying first-person account of her selfless volunteerism at David's hospital and can only imagine the scene. My sister doesn't need to imagine. She is living the grim reality due to her work at Maimonides. My daughter-in-law does not need to imagine. She is a nurse practitioner, working with clients at a mental health clinic in Brooklyn. They are two of my inspirational heroes; selflessly leaving home to do their work, while also worrying about infecting themselves and their loved ones.

Which brings me back to my shpilkes and anxiety; as this situation has exacerbated both. Anxiety is a common trait shared among my yoga teacher friends, which must be why we were drawn to this field. 

So here are a few simple suggestions that help me cope with our current reality that I hope may help you too:

  1. Breathe mindfully. Meaning- stop what you're doing or thinking right now and take a full inhale through the nose, then exhale through the nose or mouth. Make a sound, a sigh or a kvetch with that exhale. And do it again. Try for a third. Keeping your attention for a moment or two on this activity will keep you from thinking of other matters. It won't make anything disappear, but it will just give you a moment of peace of mind. That one moment is everything, since in that moment your mind and body can relax and recharge.
  2. Try to stay in the present. The past is over and done with, the future hasn't happened, and we cannot predict it and shouldn't try. The present moment, right now, is the only reality. And it is fleeting. So make the most of it, by being aware of it. Right now, we are here, alive and present. We are human 'beings', let's 'be' here now.
  3. Ground yourself, your mind and body. Feel your feet beneath you, planted down on the floor. Notice the support and balance the ground is giving your body. Lengthen your spine. From your tailbone up to the lower back, middle back, upper back, then reach up through your neck and crown of your head towards the ceiling. Expand and release your belly and chest with your breath. Notice if you are sitting or standing taller, breathing more freely. Repeat often throughout the day.
  4. Try your hardest to give yourself a break. Not judging yourself or others. Each of us is experiencing this crisis in our own way. Let’s be compassionate to ourselves and everyone around us. We are all just doing the best we can.

Wishing you each health and peace of mind, one breath at a time.

By: Miriam Bradman Abrahams

Wed, May 25 2022 24 Iyyar 5782