Ethical Outlook Newsletter

Ethical Outlook – May 28, 2020

By May 29, 2020 June 12th, 2020 No Comments


The latest Ethical Outlook Newsletter is online! Read below to see what the Society and our members have been doing to stay connected while apart.

Contents

Contest Winners: The Sprawling Sky photo, and Corona Diary | Leader’s Desk | It Happened Again | Ethics in Action: Help Combat Voter Suppression | New! Ask the Members | Local Heroes | At Home | For the Kids (Parents, Too) | Young Ethical Explorers (YEE) | Sharing & Caring | On Hold | AEU | Our Ethical Family


Contest Winners!

In our last issue we announced a contest for contributors. Here are the two winning entries which, by serendipitous coincidence, complement one another. To participate in the Ethical Outlook contributor contest, send your entry to Elinore Kaplan, Editor, at ethicaloutlook@gmail.com.

Photo by David Vassar


An excellent, longstanding, and popular program is Elaine Gurney’s “The Joy of Personal Writing.” This piece is from Elaine’s most recent workshop series.

CORONA DIARY — March 20 and 21, 2020

By Mary Houts

March 20th

Even though Governor Cuomo’s lockdown for New York State hasn’t gone into effect yet, our neighborhood has started to change. Some neighbors on our block have already fled to their country houses. But most of us don’t have another place to go to, so we try to follow the rules and wait. I, for one, am not quite sure what we are waiting for. There is no answer to be had for too many existential questions. What does the future hold for my husband Peter and me and the members of our family, both in this country and abroad?  What does it hold for people everywhere?

The English sparrows who inhabit the street trees around here are our only neighbors who don’t have to worry. They have been making a lot of noise recently, which means that they are getting into an amorous frame of mind. I feel as though the fact that they could care less about the coronavirus should help me gain some kind of perspective, but I’m not sure what conclusions to draw at this point. I am just consumed by a gnawing sense of unease and foreboding as I listen to the news and watch the changes that are taking place in our neighborhood.

March 21st

The number of people on the sidewalks and the number of vehicles on the road in front of our building have begun to dwindle each day. We live one block from a police station, and we used to hear the cops zipping up the street with their car sirens wailing, but even they only seem to venture out occasionally now.

In former times, Peter and I would often take a walk around our block after sundown.  There would still be plenty of traffic on the street—cars stopping at traffic lights on the corners, some waiting only a split second after the light turned green to toot their horns, and cyclists blithely ignoring the traffic lights, endangering pedestrians trying to cross at the same time.

Usually there were people still out and about on the sidewalks, too, living their Brooklyn lives. On any evening we might see couples heading for the restaurant two doors down from us, people walking their dogs in a leisurely fashion, a Nanny urging a fractious toddler to hurry up, a Dad taking older kids to the pizza place around the corner, a couple of  young women chatting while making their way to their yoga class with rolled-up mats slung over their shoulders.

As the sky darkened, a band of golden light would spill onto the sidewalk in front of the bakery across the street each time someone popped in and then out of the door with last-minute pastries to complete their dinners. As we strolled along, we would hear snippets of discussions between people and one-sided conversations between individuals and their cell phones. There was a comforting feeling about all the familiar evening sights and sounds.

Tonight, however, as we started on our walk everything seemed surreal. Our neighborhood scenery of brownstone houses with their steep stoops, small shops, coffee houses and restaurants, had become like a stage set in a play in that breathless moment of waiting just after the opening curtain has gone up, but there is no one to be seen and no sound to be heard. As we made our way around the four sides of the block, the usual numbers of people and the usual sounds were missing.  We saw only four silent individuals, one on each side—a man smoking a cigarette on the top step of a stoop, a woman frowning as she hurried  along with a Trader Joe’s bag full of groceries, a teen-aged boy standing with a faraway look in his eyes while his dog slowly sniffed the weeds surrounding a street tree,  a young man hastily cramming suitcases and baby paraphernalia into the trunk of a car. The only sounds were the muted hum of diminished traffic on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway a few blocks away, and the haunting, muffled blasts of a boat on the East River in the distance.


A Moving Story — From 1847 to Today

By Leader Dr. Joe Chuman

It’s a story that moves me every time I hear it — a story of empathy and care for the stranger, of fundamental humanity and compassion born out of common suffering, oppression, and victimization.

In the 1830s, thousands of Native Americans, starting with the Choctaw tribe, were relocated by force from the Southeast to Oklahoma. It was an act of what today we call “ethnic cleansing,” and was a major episode in the genocide of the American Indian, authorized by the Indian Removal Act signed by President Andrew Jackson.

Native Americans were subjected to forced marches. Thousands died along the way in what became known as “The Trail of Tears.”

In 1847, the Choctaw Indians learned of a people in a faraway land who were suffering the ravages of great hunger; it was the Irish in the potato famine. I suspect many of the natives in Oklahoma had only the vaguest idea of where Ireland was or who the Irish were. But what they did know was that these were human beings who were undergoing suffering which, like themselves, they had endured.

Having heard of the famine in Ireland and despite their own meager resources, the Choctaw tribe was able to collect $170 that they sent to Ireland through a relief agency in New York.

In 1995, Mary Robinson, the President of Ireland, who later became a celebrated High Commissioner for Human Rights at the United Nations, made an official visit to Bill Clinton at the White House. She made sure to make a side trip to Oklahoma to personally thank the descendants of those Native Americans who had so compassionately come to the aid of her own ancestors in Ireland long ago.

A recent article in the New York Times reported on how, a few weeks ago, hundreds of Irish had collected hundreds of thousands of dollars that they have sent to two Native American tribes who have been badly stricken by the Covid-19 epidemic. In bestowing their gift, the Irish donors made sure to recall the generosity and kindness expressed by the Choctaw tribe long ago.

(Photo: Embassy of Ireland)


It Happened Again: 4th Universalist Church Vandalized

On May 16, the “Black Lives Matter” sign displayed at the 4th Universalist Church (“the 4th U”) on CPW and 76th St. was desecrated by spray paint and written over with the words “all whites matter” and “white lives matter more.”

This is not the first time the church’s building was damaged. Three years ago, swastikas and Nazi hate speech were carved in its front doors. Our Society stands with 4th U. Our Leadership and the Ethical Action Committee expressed our Society’s support and solidarity with our neighbors and friends in that community. Hate speech and acts of hate must always be called out and opposed.  It must never be left unanswered. Our “Black Lives Matter” banner was also defaced a couple of years ago. In response, we raised it higher to make it less accessible to abuse as well as more visible. Again we stand in solidarity with the 4th U.


Ethics in Action: Help Combat Voter Suppression

By Carol Van Deusen, Co-Chair, Ethical Action Committee

If you are wondering what you can do from your home to make a difference in the 2020 election, we have an opportunity for you! It’s easy and extremely satisfying to know you are directly contacting potential voters in voter-suppression states.

A few weeks ago, the Ethical Action Committee initiated a Zoom call for “Reclaim Our Vote” (ROV), a non-partisan organization that is an arm of the Center for Common Ground. ROV empowers voters in communities of color in states with voter suppression. Although there are several actions one can take, at this time we are focused on writing postcards to people who may have been thrown off the electoral rolls and need to check their registration and re-register if necessary. The addresses have been provided by the NAACP.  

Volunteers will be aware that they are writing to people who may have voted in the past but because of voter suppression have been purged from the electoral rolls. A previous campaign had an astounding success rate of 25% registrations resulting from the receipt of the postcards.

Janet Rose is creating packets for the volunteers, and a member from the Fourth Universalist Society will deliver them to the homes of the volunteers. The packets consist of specially created postcards, a very short script to be handwritten, a list of addresses, stamps, and labels that give the recipient information about how to check their status and register.

You can request a packet by emailing jrose@nysec.org or calling 212-595-0189.

We know how all-important the 2020 Presidential election is. Participating in this campaign is a safe way to be involved and make a difference.

To learn more: Watch the 30-minute video Suppressed: The Fight to Vote at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=03DGjnIkTdI and read this GeneralFlyer and FAQ.


New! Ask the Members

By Maggie Determann, Membership Coordinator

In light of the ongoing pandemic, I asked three of our members to share some of their thoughts with me.

Question: What have you learned about yourself during this pandemic?

Here’s what they had to say:

“Since I began quarantine, I have started following a number of photographers on Instagram and have learned that I’ve developed a near- obsession with visiting Greenland.  Another thing I’ve learned is how many things that previously upset me seem very small.” — Deborah Goldstein

“During this pandemic, I learned that I am grateful that it is spring.  More fortunate than many, I walk daily in two parks, have no family living with me to fear giving or getting the virus, and have a few friends and some family to social-distance meet in a park. Yes, I’m still receiving wages. And now, I have received some work to do from my job!”— Amy Schwarz

“The social distancing (read: cabin fever) experience has reminded me that I must continually fight against becoming my father. My dad tried his best, but when frustration reared its ugly head, he would find scapegoats to rail against under his own roof: his family. This unfortunate trait is something my brother and I have consciously—and effectively—rejected as we brought up families on our own. After nine weeks in this unbearable quarantine, however, I’ve found myself losing patience with my wife—who absolutely doesn’t deserve it! Finding myself flailing out is like revisiting my father’s frustration. After each loss of temper, I’ve realized what’s going on and I’ve apologized (something my father would NEVER do). So, what have I learned about myself? That undesirable traits may not leave us completely; they may be hiding, waiting for a stressful opportunity to emerge. But I see it for what it is and won’t let it.” Lou Lifson

What have you learned about yourself? Share your response. Email me at mdetermann@nysec.org


Local Heroes: Bringing Faces Back to Health Care Workers

Dr. Lori Justice-Shocket is an artist and a physician, an unusual but rich combination. Today she is making photo stickers for the healthcare workers at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx. Photo stickers? Who needs a photo sticker and why?

Consider how it must feel to be a COVID-19 patient quarantined in isolation for days, possibly weeks, often more than a month. No visitors allowed. The only human contact is with individuals who are garbed head-to-toe in personal protective equipment (PPE). We rely so much on human contact – not just touch, but the looks we exchange, the facial expressions that we’ve learned to read and respond to. But not now.

For those quarantined with COVID-19 in solitary hospital rooms, that loss of human interaction is affecting both the healthcare workers and their patients. It adds to the feelings of fear, abandonment, anxiety, and depression for the patients. For caring people who go into this caring profession, it’s depressing to not be able to connect in this way to those they’re trying to care for. It’s dehumanizing.

As it happens, Dr. Shocket is familiar with the work of L.A. based artist Mary Beth Heffernan at Stanford Research Center. In 2014, Heffernan spent her sabbatical from teaching at Occidental College visiting Liberia at the height of the Ebola crisis. When she saw the healthcare workers in their full garb, Heffernan was struck with what a frightening sight they were. This led to her eventually getting a grant and partnering with the Liberian government. Heffernan’s research on the effects of isolation on patients led her to conclude that to both the patients and the healthcare worker this dehumanizing effect was highly detrimental.

She brought printers, vinyl labels, and water-resistant ink and supplies to her first Portrait Project, taking full-face photos of the healthcare workers and putting them on laminated stickers to be placed on the chests of the workers’ protective gowns. They can be removed from the gowns, disinfected, and reapplied to fresh gowns repeatedly. The photo stickers mae a huge difference to the healthcare workers and to the struggling patients. Now the patients could see the faces of their caregivers. The patient recovery rate in Liberia increased by 25% with the introduction of the stickers!

As the coronavirus crisis escalated here and now, Stanford research scientist Cati Brown-Johnson, whose area of research is in humanism and the connection between doctor and patient, contacted Heffernan. Today Heffernan is partnered with Stanford, revived the PPE Portrait Project. They are providing portrait stickers to Stanford Hospital—and in at last 10 other U.S. locations. Italy and Canada have also contacted them about implementing the project.


At Home (a.k.a. Living in Limbo)

WHAT WE’RE WATCHING

Infinity Banksy Murals Around the World: Google Maps has cataloged 12 famous Banksy street art murals found around the world. View them all here. 

Tour the White House: The White House is the only private residence of a head of state that is open to the public, In addition to touring the White House, you can also visit the Eisenhower Executive office building that is adjacent to the West Wing. View the tour here.

Palace of Versailles: Choose from tours to view the art or the architecture and grounds—or take both. View on Google Arts & Culture here.

Prambanan Temple: View the Hindu temple complex in Yogyakarta, Indonesia, featuring intricate design details and paintings. View on Google Arts & Culture here.

Barnes Museum https://www.barnesfoundation.org/whats-on/explore-the-barnes-online In short videos, Barnes curators, scholars, and educators present off-the-cuff musings about some of their favorite works in the collection. You can subscribe to receive the videos daily. The museum also offers online classes.

The West Wing: Reruns of the full West Wing series are on Netflix, affording us to escape into the fantasy of a very different kind of administration, facing many of the same or similar challenges as this one.

Bolero a la Juilliard: More than 100 Juilliard music, dance, drama students and alumni participate in this creative, original collaborative 10-minute performance to Ravel’s Bolero, all while in physical isolation.” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rqzkn-jX-JU&feature=youtu.be

Broadway Shows: As of Friday, June 5, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts is providing free online streaming of Broadway shows from its archive. The shows were originally broadcast from Lincoln Center and the New York Philharmonic.  http://lincolncenter.org/lincoln-center-at-home

WHAT WE’RE LISTENING TO

Opera: The Met Opera continues to stream performances nightly at 7:30. Each is available for the subsequent 23 hours. For the week’s schedule, visit the home page of the website. metopera.org

WHAT WE’RE MAKING IN THE KITCHEN

Ice Cream

1 cup heavy cream

1 ½ Tbs. sugar

1 ½ tsp. vanilla extract

a pinch of salt

Pour the cream, sugar, vanilla, and salt into a Mason jar. Screw the lid on tightly and shake vigorously until the cream thickens (about 5 minutes). The mixture should almost double in size.

Freeze for a minimum of 3 hours.

Variations

  • Blend in a ½ cup of fresh berries, or a Tbs. of jam
  • Add 1 tsp peanut butter and/or 1 tsp. chocolate syrup
  • Add 1 tsp. ea. lemon juice and honey, plus 2 teabags blended with ½ c. cream and heated)
  • Add 1 Tbs. chopped nuts
  • Add1 Tbs. chopped chocolate bits
  • Others: pureed banana, grated coconut.

— Amelia Nierenberg, NYT 5/10/20

WHAT WE’RE LEARNING

Courses at MoMA: “Fashion as Design,” “Contemporary Art,” “Seeing Through Photographs,” … You name it, MoMa has a course about it. And they’re free!  https://www.coursera.org/moma

ZOOM Tutorials: The JCC is offering a weekly hour-long session, Fridays 12:30-1:30pm, for desktop and laptop computers, with knowledgeable and patient teachers. Free. Register in advance to receive the program link. https://jccmanhattan.org/programs/60-zoom-tutorials-desktoplaptop-session-33

WHAT ELSE WE’RE DOING

CAROL’S CROSS STITCHING

“The reservoir is full. The hillside is covered with grass and there is glacial stone at its base I have kept the tent hospital and the social distancing sign at the reservoir to remind us all to remain healthy and Covid-conscious. I will celebrate the coming of summer by filling in the sky and clouds, and will send the photo of the finished work in June or July.” — Carol Portlock


For The Kids — and Parents Too

SCAVENGER HUNT: Make a list of items for your child to find. They can be things that are already in place, or items that you have “planted.” Provide clues that will be helpful, some easy, some more challenging.

LETTER-WRITING: Who can we write to? Aunt Jane and Uncle Tom. Grandma. Cousin Casey. A friend down the block or in another state. A school or campmate. This will be longer than a text, much longer than an email. And it should be completed in more than one sitting, maybe over a period of two or three days. Your son or daughter can call that recipient to tell them to expect the letter. Then there will be the fun of anticipating a return response.

VIRTUAL CLUBS: Start a book or film or tv club. Everyone in the club reads the same book, watches the same movie or tv show, and then gets together via social media to talk about it.

GROUP GAMES: Kids can play these games while talking to one another. Among those available are  PogoPokemon Go and Facebook Games

HAPPY BIRTHDAY: How cool is this! NYC Birthday Clowns is offering free personalized birthday messages to children celebrating their birthday during the quarantine. Send an email to NYCBirthdayClowns@gmail.com and include the child’s name, age, and a list of their favorite characters. Ordinarily, these birthday clowns hire out on an hourly basis for special occasions, providing such entertainment as music, balloon twisting, face-painting, games and dancing, and magic shows.

COSTUME PARTY: Parents, you can offer some of your clothes and accessories (scarves, hats, boots, etc.) and have a costume party. Give it a theme. Join in!

INDIVIDUAL GAMES: At this website, find online educational games categorized by grade (K-5th), subject or topic, and even Common Core standards. https://www.education.com/games/?gclid=CjwKCAjwqdn1BRBREiwAEbZcR4IDUo9aXnuggFi3ctE6L3o543j_v4iVqDut_Y1ToOrthXRCAJkHTxoC77IQAvD_BwE At this website there are also fun games with cartoon characters: https://www.cartoonnetwork.com/games/most-popular/index.html?atclk_gp=gn_link_mostpopular

STORIES: Romper is presenting online reading and storytelling sessions with authors, illustrators, and educators. #OperationStorytime hashtag

CREATIVITY: Lincoln Center’s Pop-Up Classroom gives us a daily dose of creativity weekdays with live classes. They’re free, but you’ll need to open an account with your email and a password. Each session remains available on Facebook after the live broadcast so families can access whenever is most convenient. Topics include: creating expressive puppets from simple at home objects, writing a song with lyrics…and singing it, making woven works of art with recycled material like junk mail and cardboard boxes, dance lessons to get everyone up and moving. Lincoln Center Pop-Up classroom

CONCERTS: Also, Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts has teamed up with a group of artists who are bringing short world-class performances and diverse musical perspectives from their homes to yours. Check their web calendar. http://www.lincolncenter.org/lincoln-center-at-home/series/concertsforkids

RESOURCES FOR KIDS & TEENS: The NY Public Library system is providing resources available for all ages include ScienceFlix for grades 4-9, Early Literacy at NYPL to help young children develop essential language skills, Teen Book Cloud: collection of videos and books in different categories (graphic novels, biographies, etc.), World Book Online: offers games, science projects, maps and more. https://www.nypl.org/about/remote-resources/kids-and-teens

NATURE ON TV — SPY IN THE WILD (PBS, WILD): The web page description reads as follows: “In the most innovative production Nature has ever presented, this five-part series employs more than 30 animatronic spy cameras disguised as animals to secretly record behavior in the wild. These “spycams” reveal animals as having emotions and behavior similar to humans: specifically, a capacity to love, grieve, deceive, and invent…[They] infiltrate the natural world to film surprising behavior among wildlife around the globe.” It’s a fascinating series that the whole family will find intriguing. The robotic “spies” are amazing. Can you find the spy in this photo of an army of red crabs in the South Pacific?


Young Ethical Explorers & SEEK

The coordinators of both Ethical NYC’s Young Ethical Explorers (YEE) and the American Ethical Union’s new virtual Sunday Ethical Education for Kids (SEEK) are creating new online educational and enrichment opportunities for parents and children during these tumultuous times using Zoom! YEE meets every Sunday at 11:00am, and SEEK meets every other Sunday at 3:00pm. Both programs are free but RSVP is required.

To RSVP for YEE and/or SEEK, please contact Ethical NYC’s Youth Programs Director Audrey Kindred at youngethicalexplorers@gmail.com. For more information about all of our youth programming, please visit ethical.nyc/youth and YoungEthicalExplorers.blogspot.com.

THIS WORLD WAS MADE FOR ME

A Reading by the Author, J. R. BECKER

June 7, 1:30pm

“A playful, cautionary tale on respecting our planet, and our place within it.” — Cara Santa Maria

This newest in J. R. Becker’s Annabelle & Aiden series is a playful, thought-provoking tale. Becker puts sophisticated science and ambitious subject matter into delightfully rhyming, colorfully illustrated, song-like fun. The lyric power of the words makes this a delight for children as young as four and others as old as… well, any age! Becker looks at the delicate balance of climate wellbeing in this time of our global climate crisis affording readers a deeper appreciation of our fragile planet.

Participants will be muted for the reading, after which they will be able to participate in a dialogue with the author.

RSVP to receive your registration confirmation and Zoom code to attend.


Sharing and Caring

MENTAL HEALTH HOTLINE

Nearly 10,000 mental health professionals have signed up to help staff the new mental health hotline, which allows New Yorkers to call in and schedule appointments with a mental professional for free at 844.863.9314.

JOBS

  • MAINTENANCE: NYC Housing Authority (NYCHA) is hiring temporary per diem workers at $19.33/hr to help with general maintenance at properties around the city. Residents are encouraged to apply, but positions are open to non-residents as well. Contact your local NYCHA Property Management office to apply.

On Hold

By Elinore Kaplan

You know how it feels when you call a particular company and you’re put on hold, and you sit there on hold…still on hold…still on hold… and then…disconnected? It doesn’t take much imagination to compare that with how so many of us are feeling now.

So, what does one do when one is left hanging? For starters, we need to remind ourselves that we’re really not disconnected and that so much of our life is not on hold. For one thing, we can consider the wisdom in the words of the AA Serenity Prayer: “Grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”

There’s so much out there that is beyond the control of any of us. And there’s so much else that is very much in our control. We can control the flow of our day. We don’t have to be at the office at 9, or the gym at 11, the bridge game at 2, the dinner date at 6, or curtain time for the show at 8, but we can nevertheless create and maintain a structure and a schedule. We can set a routine to our days, and it’s extremely important that we do. Make sure, in the routine you establish, that there’s time for physical and emotional health — including stress relief, fun, creativity, social connection. Build in a project and a purpose beyond yourself.

Gleaned from articles on the Internet, here are some wise and helpful words from professionals about how we are to deal with this.

Elizabeth Bornstein, SMH Oncology Clinical Counselor, Healthe-Matters, publication of the Sarasota Memorial Health Care System: The Pandemic Predicament: Coping With the “New Normal”

Though we don’t have control in many ways, we can control how we respond to our new reality and take care of ourselves each day. Self-care is essential now more than ever; as we strengthen our emotional selves, we also fortify our immune systems…Though we don’t have control in many ways, we can control how we respond to our new reality and take care of ourselves each day.

Check in with Yourself
Take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, be present and stop doing. Clear your mind and become mindfully aware of the here and now. Then ask yourself these questions:

    • How am I doing?
    • What is going well?
    • What is challenging?
    • What do I need?

Use your answers to create a daily routine around your own basic needs and create opportunities to boost your own well-being.

Practice a Daily Self-care Routine
A healthy, immune-boosting routine includes focusing on good nutrition and hydration, adequate sleep, exercise, relaxation, and stress reduction.

Stay Focused on Boosting Energy & Minimizing Stress & Anxiety
Limit the time you spend watching the news, scrolling social media, and talking about the pandemic. Make time to explore helpful coping tools; use them often and interchangeably. Try breathing exercises, meditation, music, creative practices with writing and art making, spending time in nature, reading, watching light-hearted television or movies, playing games and moving your body…And remember: Laughter is good medicine! Find things that make you laugh.

Stay Connected with Others
Make time for joy and to share your feelings and needs with family, friends, coworkers, and spiritual advisors. Schedule phone or video-conferencing time regularly each week. Connection with others and seeking support are especially important in an isolation situation.

Ask for Help
Find a licensed therapist who is knowledgeable about crisis, trauma issues, and the mind-body connection — someone you can trust to help you navigate these trying times. Most providers are continuing to “see” patients using telehealth with video or phone conferencing options. Ask your primary care physician or therapist whether medications to ease anxiety and depression might be right for you, if you feel you need it.

Theresa Nutten, Purdue University Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) Staff Therapist: Adjusting to the New Normal

Some people may find themselves in survival mode, gathering information and resources necessary to function at school, work, as a person, and in our relationships with others. Others may be attempting to settle into their new routines. For some, this means trying to combat social isolation. For many, it means learning how to live (or re-live) with friends, family members, partners, or roommates, which is not always easy. Others may be struggling with the fatigue, frustration, sadness, anger, grief, and anxiety (among other things) of adjusting… Some people (and I hope there are a lot of you out there), have gone through the adjustment process and are finding comfort in your new norm.

Centerstone Solutions: Resources for Coping with Uncertain Times

It is nearly impossible to go through one day without hearing alarming information on the news about national security concerns, terrorism, or disaster. We are reminded often that it is no longer a calm and innocent world. Through all of this, stress management has become vital.

Tips for coping

    • Talk about it. By talking with others about the event, you can relieve stress and realize that others share your experience and feelings.
    • Spend time with friends and family. They can help you through this tough time. Stay in touch by phone [or various social media]. If you have children, encourage them to share their feelings and concerns with you.
    • Take care of yourself. Get as much rest and exercise as possible.
    • Take one thing at a time. Getting things back to normal can seem impossible. Break the job up into doable tasks. Complete that task first and then move on to the next one. Completing each task will give you a sense of accomplishment and make things seem less overwhelming.
    • If you can, help. Give blood; help prepare meals for others including the elderly. Volunteer to help clean up or rebuild your community. Read to children in the shelter. Helping others can give you a sense of purpose in a situation that feels beyond control.
    • Avoid drugs and excessive drinking. Drugs and alcohol may seem to help you feel better, but in the long run, they generally create additional problems that compound the stress you’re already feeling.
    • Ask for help if you need it. If your stress is so strong it gets in the way of your daily life, talk with someone. You can start with a trusted friend, relative or [pastoral leader]. You may want to talk with a mental health professional to discuss how well you are coping with recent events. This could be especially important for people who had existing mental health problems or those who’ve survived past trauma. You could also join a support group. Don’t try to go it alone. Asking for help is not a sign of weakness.

Dr. Shilagh Mirgain, psychologist, UW Health: Creating a New Normal During Uncertain Times

Develop Goals

There is a silver lining to be found in the limits of social distancing, telecommuting, and being home bound—find it and focus on it. This is an opportunity to step outside your usual routine. Work on a goal you previously didn’t have time for: learn a hobby, get in shape, clean your closets, learn how to use the library’s books and audiobooks, play board games with your family, write those thank you notes you always wanted to send.

Reach Out to Others

Expand your perspective to sensing others in your community and around the world having similar experiences. We are a global community having a common experience. Share kindness, care, compassion, and love with one another whether it is a neighbor, family member, friend, or stranger. In difficult times like these, using your support network while still practicing social distancing can be very helpful. Just make sure to reach out to people who are supportive and not those who will increase your stress. And be sure to talk about things other than COVID-19.


Connected As Never Before

In the course of the past couple of months, so many of us are learning to Zoom. We’re getting used to this way of connecting to those near and far. Aside from meetings, we’ve celebrated birthdays and anniversaries together, enjoyed cocktails and pizza parties with friends, and observed holidays in this brave new world of virtually connecting.

You may have noticed new faces at our Sunday Platforms, where we’ve visited with other Ethical Culture Societies and they with us, and members from other Societies are also looking in on our programs. Visit the AEU Online Ethical Community page at https://aeu.org/ethical-community/  to see the many programs going on at other Societies and drop in on some of them in coming days and weeks. On the righthand side of the page is a Calendar through which you can scroll. Click on the name of any program to learn more about it, and to join. There are game nights, book discussions, yoga sessions, workshops, numerous discussions about aspects of Ethical Culture itself, and, of course, Sunday Platforms with Leaders and guest speakers.

On the left side of that same page is the AEU forum, “Connections,” with a variety of discussion categories, right now pretty much centered on coronavirus issues such as safety and health recommendations, managing communications, and activism ideas and recommendations. There’s a slot at the top for New Topics, and you’re invited to post yours there.

We may be members of the “mothership,” the place where it all started when a young Felix Adler began the Ethical Culture Movement, but we’re only hundreds among the thousands of Ethical Culture members across the country. This is an opportunity to visit with many of them and, in fact, strengthen our bonds and our movement.


Our Ethical Family

Congratulations to Chris Everett on having received a Masters degree in “Reliability Engineering” from the University of Maryland. (For those of us who don’t know what it is, reliability engineering deals with the dependability in the lifecycle management of a product:  the ability of a system or component to function under stated conditions for a specified period of time. Chris works in the Information Systems Laboratories of NASA here in NYC.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO….

NANCY O’REILLY…………………… 6/2

RUTH COHEN, CHRIS EVERETT,

ELIZABETH HENDERSON, and

RICHARD MCBRIDE………………….6/7

DAN JULIN, ROSALINDA RUPEL…..6/8

LEE LOSHAK………………………….6/10

ANDREA REYES……………………….6/11

SANDI SACKS………………………..6/17

JERRY CHAMLIN………………………6/19

LINDA MEYER………………………..6/2


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