What is Organic

Focus, Gratitude, and Creativity in Viral Times

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It started raining in California a few days ago. The sound of it made me realized I had completely stopped worrying about the drought. This revelation was beset with another—that I fret too much about things beyond my control. Be it the manmade follies we employ, or the way nature throws us curve balls. 

Some say the virus has come to us to teach us something.

To show us what’s important—to slow us down.

To worry less.

To notice the quiet sky and, once again, hear the birds speak.  

To move around less and be content with a good book, a bit of wit, and a full larder.  

Things are different now as we hunker in place. I am performing feats I never in my wildest imagination thought would be part of my daily routine.

I search for paper to wipe the many surfaces of my life.

I rummage through liquor stores for bottles of Everclear to construct hand sanitizer.  

I stay up until 1 am listening to the rain, eat breakfast at 10 am, go back to bed for a nap, and savor my evening meal at 9 pm.

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I cultivate gratitude to keep me hopeful.

My forays into town for food make me eternally grateful for all the ordinary people working while I shelter. The farmers, field workers, truck drivers, forklift handlers, all working to move food from the field to my pantry.

I appreciate the new protocols they are embracing in the countryside and warehouses to assure that workers and customers remain safe.

I walk into my local food store, muzzled with a Turkish scarf, and I want to bow down to the people stocking shelves and scanning groceries at the check-out lines.

They stand on the front lines of this pandemic so that we all may eat.

Most, at best, make minimum wage and do not have the luxury to work from home—we need these people most of all right now.

I am grateful for the doctors and nurses—all the healthcare professionals who are working under terrifying and, quite frankly, despicable conditions. Without their dedication and care, more would perish.

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They need tools to save people, and they need protective gear to safeguard their health. My inbox contains an email from Congressman Jimmy Panetta. He is asking citizens to donate unopened masks, gowns, and hand sanitizers for our local hospitals.

What third world country do I now find myself in? With no concerted national effort to stem the tidal wave that will certainly overtake us in the next weeks.

Staying active and focused on the things I care about gives me structure.

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April is Earth Month, so I read Only Organic’s Blog that explains 5 ways that Organic is Great for Mother Earth.

I stay connected to the Climate Collaborative—because we cannot take our eye off of the Climate Crisis. They recently announced their 2020 National Coop Grocers and Climate Collaborative Awards. It honors natural product companies that are taking the crisis seriously, demonstrating that the new definition of success lies beyond “business as usual.”

I search The Organic Center’s website for scrumptious recipes that highlight the nutritional benefits of organic ingredients.  

I submit comments to the National Organic Standards Board (NOSB), which will meet virtually at the end of April to deliberate and strengthen the Organic regulations.

The USDA is looking for nominations to fill five upcoming vacancies on the NOSB. They seek two producers, one certifier, and two public interest representatives. Nominations will be accepted until June 1st, so if you know someone who has the time and experience to serve—urge them to apply.

Even though much of my work has dried up, I give donations as can.

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I find that giving to my favorite non-profit organizations empowers me. It’s time to support my local Hospitals, Food Banks, Farmers Organizations, and the SPCA. I give as I can to Planned Parenthood, my dance community, and The Organic Center.

For creative relief, I’m participating in National Poetry Month.

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Every night I challenge my husband to attend our cocktail hour with a poem in hand. We read the sonnets of Shakespeare and savor Maya Angelo and Emily Dickenson.

One of my favorite poems that gives me solace at this time is:

The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

  When despair for the world grows in me

and I wake in the night at the least sound

in fear of what my life and my children’s lives may be,

I go and lie down where the wood drake

rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.

I come into the peace of wild things

who do not tax their lives with forethought

of grief. I come into the presence of still water.

And I feel above me the day-blind stars

waiting for their light. For a time,

I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

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What are you doing to find gratitude, creativity and focus in these viral times?





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