NEIGHBORLY ADVICE: Words of encouragement from folks in our community
In tough times, it can be hard to see the good, or see a way out of a confusing and hope-starved time. But we’re still the same people, and the same community we were before. In that spirit, we reached out to some friends and folks around the community for some words of encouragement and maybe a little advice for their fellow Chippewa Vallians – to make sense of it all, despite the unknowns, and remind us that we’re all in this together.
"Keep your distance, but keep in touch. While professionals are showing up to save lives, the rest of us may save many more lives by not showing up. But we can still let neighbors know they’re not alone, and by neighbors I mean fellow humans, wherever they live. It’s about time our expensive devices earned their keep. And there’s still the natural world, fresh (chilly) air, a local landscape on the verge of blossoming, space enough to walk, run, skate, pedal, or sit without even bumping elbows with others, although a friendly nod or wave wouldn’t hurt, keeping our distance, but keeping in touch." –Max Garland
“In times of uncertainty, it's important to remember what is and isn't within our control. We can't command the sun to shine, but we can wear our life jacket, stay anchored, and help others who are caught in the stormy sea. Keep in mind too that we're all in the same boat, and no storm lasts forever.” –Yia Lor
“Now is not a time to forget about or devalue the power of community, and our infinite capacity for joy. I encourage everyone create space for all of it – yes, the uncertainty, the anxiety, the inevitable fear, but also to remember our ability to be in joy together.” –Katy Hackworthy
“I’m new to this too, and don’t want to pretend I’ve got it all dialed in. But based on my early experience I'd say reach out to folks by phone or stream if you can. Last night we met up online with our cousins and aunts and even though we have creepy-crawly internet out here, and even though half the visit was frozen and choppy it reminded us of good times and family jokes and the intangible nature of love and shared memories. After that call someone who’s alone.” –Michael Perry
"From a former couch potato: hike in the woods – county or state parks, or sections of the state-wide Ice Age Trail – nature is healing anytime and particularly during times of stress. And when you need to revert to couch potato-ism, know that the funniest TV show ever made, Mystery Science Theater 3000, is streaming 24/7 on Twitch TV." –Rob Reid
“Just remember we're going through it together, like a bad relationship, and we're going to make it out together. Once this is over, please continue on with the compassion and empathy you had towards humanity during that time, let's not lose that.” –Tyler Baumgart
"It’s not unusual for our better selves to emerge in times of national crisis. Maybe because national crises ensure that our problems aren’t limited to us. If we’re hurting, it’s likely our neighbor is, too. While we may not know quite how to help someone half the world away, it’s always easy to find a way to help a neighbor. In return, we get something pretty great, too: proof that we are not powerless, proof that the good begins with us." –B.J. Hollars
“We will all get through this together. I know it's frustrating, but it's important that everyone stay inside. Let's focus on our passions during this time – the things that keep us going. Just yesterday, I finished a 24-page poetry packet for my students. I spent the whole day working on this, but every minute was rewarding, and being sucked into this beautiful world of the poetic really helped me push through the day. Today I'm going to take the time to write a few new poems. Again, I know it's hard, but let's really focus on the things that keep us going and we will make it through!” –Dorothy Chan
"This is a time to plant our roots deep into our spiritual practices and self care. Each day has new fears and challenges, and connecting to what is sacred for each of us helps us connect to something larger than ourselves. It helps us to feel connected and less alone.” –Julianne Lepp
“1.) Look a photos of babies, kittens and puppies. 2.) Create a ‘Playlist for the Apocalypse’ (beyond R.E.M.’s earworm It's The End Of The World As We Know It) and dance in your kitchen. 3.) Rewatch The Road and watch for (maybe) the first time Casey Affleck’s film Light of My Life; remind yourself ‘that’s not us’ or ‘could be worse.’ 4.) Rural folks: walk to your mailbox each day and wave at your neighbors. Town folks: walk around the block each day and wave at your neighbors.” –Patti See & Bruce Taylor
"My grandpa would often tell words of advice. One he would always say is, “Don’t spend your time doing something, invest your time doing something.” So first, I am going to focus to invest my time doing things. Second, I know there will be significant impacts to people and families in our community with health and jobs/businesses. I want to be even more empathetic to people in our community and help in whatever way I can. Lastly, I am going to go for more walks and make sure to smile and wave. I want to continue to help build community." –Eric Anderson
"As comedic jugglers, our job is to create fun and laughter, which seems like a ridiculous, non-essential pursuit in the big scope of things. But right now laughter and levity is needed more than ever. Keep levity in your day by sharing family stories that everyone can laugh at, dress up in ridiculous outfits and send pictures to friends, dance around the house with reckless abandon, learn a new skill – like juggling - and laugh when you make mistakes. We’ve got years of practice with that!" – Kobi Shaw & Steve Russell
"There is no place for violence – or inaction against all forms of violence – in this world. That is why we need to crush apathy with the iron fist of generosity. Kick selfishness in the teeth while screaming, 'I will treat my fellow humans with dignity and warmth!’ We must drag contemptuousness and cynicism to a remote area in the forest, pour a container of hope on them, light up a matchstick of kindness, throw it on them, and watch them blaze with love. Be nice and have fun.” –Cullen Ryan
"There is so much time for ACTIVITIES y’all! Learn to code! Direct a movie! Knit a pair of socks! Create your own board game! Build a spaceship that goes to the freakin’ moon – they’re not in quarantine! There are literally endless possibilities. Reroute all the time spent thinking in fear into time spent doing things that calm your mind, make you smile, or stimulate your brain hole. This is YOUR time to shine, baby, even if you’re stuck at home.” –Serena Wagner
"It might be hard to see, but there is a silver lining here. We have an opportunity to come together. It’s not just our community, it’s our state, our nation, and our neighbors all around the world. We are all experiencing this pandemic together. Compassion is one of our greatest assets here.” –Sergio Sigala
"We are all related and we need each other. Safely and thoughtfully support the folx in need right now and consider others in the community as you navigate these times. Reach out if you need help and continue to check in on your people. We will get through this together.” –Brittany Tainter
Please, please, PLEASE be gentle with each other. Be patient. Be flexible. Hold your tongue if what you have to say is unnecessary or unkind. Trust each other.
Because I know two things for certain: 1. This is hard. For everyone. 2. Everyone is doing their best, and their best is different than yours.
We are all looking for answers that just aren't there. We are all grasping for control in the face of the unknown. We are all doing our best. And I, for one, am going to do everything I can to remember that. – Shannon Paulus
"Things are exhausting and uncertain and weird. But, we’re all affected by this, and so, in a way, we’re more connected than ever before.” –Aaron Brice
"Everything is currently cancelled or postponed except compassion and solidarity.” –Seth Gile
"As a comedian I believe laughter is essential. Thankfully your favorite sitcom is likely streamable as are a ton of comedy flicks and standup specials, there is a plethora of hilarious and silly podcasts to choose from, lots of great web-series, and of course so many great and witty writers with work to enjoy. Message the Clear Water Comedy page if you need recommendations!” –Jordan Duroe
Check back for more!