While many businesses are closing their doors as a safety precaution to this unprecedented event, others are ramping up their hours as a service to the community. Businesses like Nature's Paradise Health Food Store is flush with natural remedies and healthy food options. Tractor Supply Company is keeping inventory full to support farmers, ranchers and livestock owners in the area. Twin Rivers Winery got the OK from ABC to offer curbside delivery. Everyone is affected differently and we are learning of new ways to contextualize our individual situations, whether it be to fall back or to lunge forward. I will be prepping my garden area for a prosperous spring growing season. Starter plants have been showing up in town today!
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It simply seems that the business landscape is gong to change going forward. There is no getting things back to normal. Here is where we pivot and continue differently, like we always have done throughout time. Businesses don't have to be shut down for months on end. Social distancing will have to be a new practice in general. Masks on at the hair salon, don't handle and touch things everywhere you go. Continue sanitizer application while out and about will be the new normal and hygiene measures should increase. Shoes off when entering homes, cleaning clothes more regularly, staying away from crowds for the most part. It's all changes that a virus-ridden world have now given us. We must take seriously immune boosting treatments going forward. A healthier lifestyle in general leads a person to be less susceptible to things that are bad for the body, period. This whole thing has brought on a breath of fresh air and a proverbial new chance at living a less stressful life. Sometimes a shaky structure must be broken down to be rebuilt stronger.
"Survival on an Island" releases today. It is the first part of a series about surviving on the harshest island in the world, Manhattan in New York. Ironically, this first part is about coronavirus and journals through the first impending months from the epicenter. It is an eye-opening read about changing the way we think about health going forward in a non-conventional world. With COVID-19 as the catalyst, everyone is reassessing life and this is a good book to use as information to build from. Truth, fear, and uncertainty. Some very important pieces. There is no waiting for the normal to come back, now is always normal. Accept that and put yourself at ease...and simply live. Most of our problems are first world problems coming from people with first world complaints. I have little sympathy for complainers since we all have the solutions to our own problems, if we simply ask ourselves. Coronavirus is real. Fear is real. The dwindling economy is real. Death is certainly real. But, the present is the ONLY real. That is normal.
Let the stages begin! So, today is the first day of the rest of our lives. Now we can begin opening businesses (government approved) with our new hygiene practices in place. Many people are talking about life getting back to normal, but this is our new normal. There is no jumping back into crowded get togethers, and even if we did there would be half of the population that would be hesitant for health reasons. This will be a touching the toe into the water several times before lifting ourselves into the pool process. It makes sense for life to be open again because we must live in the world, we cannot hide for any longer. The time off gave everyone an idea of how important it will be going forward to take hygiene and health seriously, especially from the preventative point of view. I am looking forward to this clean new world of hesitant embrace as we endure another burden in our ever-complicated existence.
We have seen the start of restaurants closing their lobbies while still offering pick-up and delivery. This is in line with what has occurred in larger cities around the area. As smaller, locally-owned businesses have started to limit their hours, we have become aware that many of them are scrambling to find ways to pay their employees and move forward during this pandemic. Keeping your own finances in line is of upmost importance. Once the dust has settled and your own anxieties are under control, remember to find ways to help others around you...including the small business that are part of the soul of our community.
Maybe cabin fever is setting on some families now. Ideas are being tossed around by all sorts of sharp people about how to offer business services and products online. This isn't a new idea, but it is a great opportunity to reevaluate your business and conceive of new ways to use the internet in order create more income. Second Love gift shop downtown on Commercial has perfected this practice and in turn been able to supplement it's in-store revenues. Shoppers, use this opportunity and rededicate yourselves to buying locally. Offer up suggestions to individual businesses as to what you would like to see them do. Most ideas are at least worth considering. New businesses are showing up on this website every week offering products and services online. Let's support these ideas and help them grow Emporia.
Now the struggle seems to be whether businesses should be open in full swing or not. Each company has a different perspective and our personal health and our once burgeoning economy are at stake. I don't even know where I stand on this subject, but I do know that today is a holiday in much of the nation.
Chronically, the problem is perception. But to be blunt, we just have to keep on rolling. With the information dump piling up around us, it feels like being in the weeds. It's a good thing that Do B's is still open because I feel so even-keeled when I stop by there for a hit. Every time I get worked up and start on a rant, my friend J slaps the back of my head and tells me to pipe down. But he's a dope. Not like my friend Mark who celebrates his birthday today. He's no stoner. He and I used to watch 'Yellow Submarine' by the Beatles. I think they were high when they produced that flick.
The community is coming together to help First Responders and Health Care personnel have all the equipment they need to stay healthy and continue serving the citizens of Lyon County. Good work E-town. With the reality of the rest of April staying slow in life and at work I am excited to see that there is a new Stay Home Box Office deal so I can stream HBO for free this month. I have a feeling the 'The Sopranos' and 'The Wire' are both making a comeback in the next 30 days. They were a heck of a lot better than 'Tiger King' or whatever nonsense that was. Time for some real classics to make the scene again. Maybe that is what is ailing America...the entertainment available has been watered own and is altogether lame. Time to bring back some heavy hitters.
As the dominoes fall, small businesses are coming up with ways to keep cash flowing through their doors. Many of them stay open for regular hours while offering delivery options. Browsing inventory online and then calling to finalize details is a helpful way to keep them going and to continue supporting local entrepreneurs. If your family is starting an exercising campaign while at home, go to Brown's and gear up on new tennis shoes. Bath Expressions downtown has plenty of soap and bath accessories. L&L Pets will remain open as long as grocery stores are open so you can keep your pets healthy. That money that was going to be spent at Home Depot in Kansas City this weekend can now be redirected towards local shops.
So, things are getting serious on the east coast. I would say about half of Emporia is taking the COVID serious and the other half cares, but is still going about their business. I flip flop on an hourly basis. We have in front of us another month of slow business one way or another. It isn't going away. How we treat life over the next 30 days is huge. Do we take all of the consciousness that we have behind our technology and advancements and use it for good or evil? This is the pivot point for our generation right here. Unlike 9/11 we cannot see the enemy and we fear the unknown. This is altogether different for us. In Central Park in NYC there are triage tents and pop up hospitals set up like they have in the middle east. The war has come to our doorstep in a form that we were not expecting. Do we have a new renaissance emerge from our time in quarantine or do we come out the other side withered and weak from dismay?
With the orders of "stay at home" coming down the chain of command, we see misinformation that is startling people. The town is mostly shut down currently and people who are out on walks are staying their suggested 6 feet away from others. So in effect, we are already practicing our confinement methods. When a "stay at home" order goes into effect, there is more time slow down to the speed of life. Cleaning, organizing, and rearranging around the house can help with the anxiety. But, think of it in terms as a life plan. The Universe is telling all it's occupants to take a step back, slow down, reevaluate, and remember what is important. Similar to what 9/11 did to us as Americans, this new pandemic is doing to us as humans.
Life is staying tricky as we barrel ahead and try to get back to what we once knew as the USA. But things will never be the same, such as the world has always worked. Why do we question it so much now? Is it because we are spoiled and think the world owes us? The news flash of the year is that the world is not fair and the quicker we accept this, the happier we will be. This is an apocalypse of different sorts. Instead of earthquakes and mega-storms this is the type that conquers us from within. It takes away our sports, our amusement parks, and even convenient dining. It is killing us with a whimper and we are all letting it. It isn't our fault that we all feel differently, it's just that we are all individual beings dealing with how to be incarnate and have flesh and blood bodies to lug around. It's ok that we all disagree, because this place is only temporary anyhow. We are spiritual, universal beings residing in a terrestrial game. Don't get caught up in the game within game. That would be Inception. Just continue to love the game that never ends, the game of life. The one we started with the intention of joy and accomplishment. The reason that our true spiritual self began this journey. The answer isn't always "what," but "why?"
To Mask or not to Mask - that is my right. These words that follow will upset half of you that read this. I enjoy hearing complaints that unmask the ignorance of such whiners. The greatest thing about the USA is freedom with the right to live as we please as long as we respect the LAWS of the land. A recent division in our community is to decide for other people whether or not they need to wear a mask. Mask Nazis as I call them. My stance is always to let others be who they want to be. The laws of nature will catch up to each of us one way or another, I lean on the universe and God to decide my fate . . . not another man. I'm not breaking any governmental laws by not being masked - the importance of this is not lost on me or my time that I spend working hard in our community.
Respecting others and respecting the rules of each and every establishment in town is important. I wear a mask to visit my mother. I wear one to places that require it. More importantly I stay away from people and take care of my own health and my own actions. Just because I am around town working hard to keep our local businesses alive does not mean I am rubbing up on people all day. Germs were gross to me long before COVID. I am trying to help local businesses keep money coming in their doors. My efforts to help our local economy are sincere, heart-felt and diligent every day. Any number of business owners that know me will attest to my respect for this recent sickness and the families it has affected. I keep my distance from people, mind my own actions and clean myself (hands, body, face, etc.) on a consistent basis. It's a shame when other people's complaints hurt the small businesses that are trying to promote themselves.
We as humans can't rely on masks to save our lives. People can't simply wear masks everywhere we go for the rest of our days on earth. We CAN and must take personal measures to take care of our own bodies and health. This way we can live like we all want to again, instead of complaining that others are the problem. I am no role model but I do welcome the complaints because it really only reinforces my stance. For that Emporia, I thank you!
Consciously Moving Forward
This is the start of "Welcome Back." Nothing will be the same for the rest of the year. Gatherings will saunter back into normalcy, but not large ones like Disney or MLB. In Emporia we will see the Great American Market at the end of the summer, and that will be a great weekend. As we are finding ways to make our lives again, each business will have to find the right way to get the word out to let people know how to spend their money with them. It isn't a depression, not matter what the unemployment rate is. There is still money to spend, because we are Americans and that is what we do. But hopefully money isn't as important as it was 3 months ago. Surely we learned what is true in life. Time, family, experiences, and love. Right? Were we locked down long enough that we were taught a new lesson? Let's see what the answer is to that question come December. I'll consciously await.
What a mess. The positive COVID cases in Lyon county soared this week climbing over 20 each day. It's so polarizing to see us, NYC, Georgia, and California. Scattered across our country and in different states of the pandemic panic are people who scream entitlement only because they exist as a person. When did we stop taking responsibility of our own lives? Everywhere we see others whining for someone else to make our choices for us. Some people want to open up the country while others want to hide. By not showing favor to either side, I'm just ashamed of how far apart we are from a common good. The best way to start towards said common good is to respect your fellow human. Empathy, humility, understanding, objectivity, caring, responsibility, gratitude, willingness, love. Try a little each day, otherwise selfishness will drown you. It isn't always about recognition and giving/getting credit for a good, honest day of living, right? What ever happened to getting it right, enjoying the present, and then getting it right again the next day. Smiles will best toil every time.
Fear seems to be a common theme that is swimming through different mediums. This will ruin us long before a virus will. Anxiety and worry are real and can trigger mental health disruptions in situations like this, unknown and uncharted territory. It is prudent to keep in mind that we have a strong backbone to our country and the will of our people can remain undeterred. Small business owners are reminding us to remain calm and carry on. This upheaval will not go away without work, but remember all the sweat equity we have put into our lives. As we all go through our individual changes (professionally and personally) we will keep our eyes open in how to adapt with each other...and then reorganize to move forward strongly and together.