By Norma Adams-Wade
Actress/activist Alfre Woodard stands next to abolitionist/activist Harriet Tubman as one of my special heroines. So, my eyes focused and ears perked when I saw the award-winning thespian on social media. The Tulsa Oklahoma-born talent was advising us how to peace out during the coronavirus shelter-in-place orders that are keeping active individuals and families confined at home. If Woodard-the-great said it, her advice must be worthwhile, I thought. So, I continued to listen. She made the point that we can perform a number of positive actions and accomplish a good amount of positive deeds while hunkered down at home.
That unplanned time, she said, can allow us to do meaningful tasks that we normally would not think about or have time to accomplish otherwise. I continued to listen, basking in the actress’s calming voice and expression that has filled so many movie and television screens with her innate performing brilliance.
Woodard, you see, comes across so natural and down-to-earth that you want to listen to her and believe her message. She suggested various activities to fill one’s day while confined. Such as:
- a. Organize old photographs in boxes in your closet.
- b. Practice meditating as you have always wanted to do but never found the time.
- c. Of course, organize your closet, and
- d. Reach out to friends and family on social media, which so many of you are doing already. My heroine’s list inspired me.
So, I was just thinking…Let’s each come up with our own list. I’ll start.
1. Box up all those old but wonderful magazines that come in the mail but, like me, you will never read beyond the cover.
2. Take those boxes to Half Price Books so someone else will get the chance to pile them up and vow to read them one day.
3. Write a letter – not a text message or email – to a long-lost friend you know would faint to hear from you.
4. Write a letter – not a text message or email – to a former teacher who you tell others inspired you but you have never told the teacher.
5. Clean the carpet of those awful stains you are sure will look better, although they may never totally disappear.
6. As an escape from coronavirus reality, watch old reruns of The Waltons or Little House on the Prairie.
The Waltons depicts that seemingly simpler time in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia during the 1930s Great Depression. We romanticize the slower pace of that time while we block out what surely must have been a worrisome period for the Walton family. It is clear that families knew they could not depend on others or the government to see them through the day, week or month.
They cultivated and nurtured the land that gave them sustenance and lumber – allowing them to feed and shelter their families. Little House takes us back to the small town of Walnut Grove, Minnesota in the late 1800s. Back then, the Ingalls family would pile into the wagon for a day-long trip into town to buy needed supplies from the town’s one store owner. These two scenarios lead us to the next point:
7. As my heroine Woodard suggested, meditate. But here’s the thought and image. Instead of seeing yourself jumping into the car and running five or six errands in a couple of hours – including standing in line at Wal-Mart – imagine a slow drive down a country road with the Walton’s or riding in a wagon with the Ingalls (humor me and disregard the race and period in time.)
Surely the slower pace, lack of hurry, and fixation on a single task would help us shed burdens.
8. Now it’s your turn. Find a quiet spot, sit, lean back, close your eyes. Peace out during this coronavirus. Imagine life as it should be. Then when all this chaos subsides, go out and help make a better world.