What are you reading/watching during this time?

It’s been fascinating to hear how people are coping with this time of enforced isolation. I know some of you are working harder than ever before. And some of you have commented that meetings are shorter than ever, and you have a little more free time. Some of you have kids at home and that takes up any extra free time you might have had.

What are you reading and watching? I’ve heard from many of you that you haven’t had as much as energy as you expected to catch up on that pile of professional reading. In the mornings at the beginning of the day, I’m reading a few pages from some of the following books, some of which have been sitting around for months if not years. This little-at-a-time reading worked for me long before this crisis.

Richard Rohr: Eager to Love The Alternative Way of St. Francis of Assisi. Most useful quote so far: “Yet Francis’s holiness, like all holiness, was unique and never a copy or mere imitation. In his “Testament,” he says, “No one told me what I ought to do, and then, at the very end of his life, he says, “I have done what was mine to do, now you must do yours.” (p. xvii.)

Aliza Israel and Avrum Nadigal, It Takes More than Love: A workbook for singles and couples. I learned (or re-learned) some things even after 40 years of marriage. And for singles, the section on how to create an online dating profile from a sense of self is worth the price of the book. Useful quote: “We can’t avoid stress without avoiding pretty much everything; without avoiding living. Given that you’re going to experience anxiety at some point, isn’t it worth learning how to harness it to help live a meaningful life?” (p. 45)

Loretta Behring, The Science of Positivity: Useful quote:…”I have watched dozens of crises come and go. I have noticed the way people pride themselves on their ability to find evidence of crisis. And I realized that I would never feel good if I waited for the people around me to feel good.” (p. 187) Even in a real crisis like this one, it is possible to feel good at least some of the time, by noticing what is going right.

The rest of the time, I’m reading historical fiction, mostly romance. It’s a great distraction–and also a reminder that many other periods in history have faced challenges. I read several World War II era novels, arguably the last time when the whole world was caught up in something the way we are now.

I’ve watched many Bon Appetit cooking videos (highly recommended!). I’ve also re-watched several movies, including Cold Comfort Farm, a quirky movie set in 1930s England which was one of my mentor Larry Matthews’ favorite movies about the power of presence to bring change in a system. (Hint to clergy: a great testimony to the power of showing up, being yourself, and not working harder than anyone else.) Sadly, it’s not available for streaming, although you can still order the DVD.

The best video I watched is the speech about covid-19 given by the Queen of England. It’s a great example of leadership. Shows us all how to do it in a little more than four minutes:  (Thanks to Katie Long for suggesting this video.)

What are you reading or watching?

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