On grief

The Harvard Business review has great piece on the subject of grief during this time

Sometimes we try not to feel what we’re feeling because we have this image of a “gang of feelings.” If I feel sad and let that in, it’ll never go away. The gang of bad feelings will overrun me. The truth is a feeling that moves through us. We feel it and it goes and then we go to the next feeling. There’s no gang out to get us. It’s absurd to think we shouldn’t feel grief right now. Let yourself feel the grief and keep going. ~ David Kessler

Highly recommend the entire article.

Zooming every day but miss the eye contact

Like so many people, I’m spending much of my day on a video conference for work or to catch up with loved ones.

I’m super grateful for Zoom for building an incredible video conferencing system. It is helping the world at such a critical time.

And while I have a bunch of feature requests that I’ll save for likely a future post, the biggest thing lacking with video conferencing is the lack of eye contact. I really miss the eye contact that we naturally experience with in physical, in person encounters.

Last year, Apple was testing a feature to “fix” this camera location issue in software but never launched it. It has some creepy implications for sure, but I hope this sort of thing becomes available as an option soon.

We are going to be sheltering in place for a long time and I could use some eye contact.

Please consider donating to the health care workers in NYC that need your help right now with meals and resources.

Persona Non Grata, Bright Eyes

It’s been a long time, but the band is releasing a new album. First track dropped yesterday.

A new (old) hobby

I was in a few cover bands in high school and college. We played a live shows and it was super fun. After college, I picked up an acoustic guitar and took it everywhere. But soon life got busy and I was drawn to other things in my life.

These days, I found myself wanting to play again. I dusted off the guitar that was hiding in the attic, tuned it and started playing. But it’s one thing to play the same set in a cover band vs playing by yourself. So I’m trying to get better.

For now, I’ve been using Yousician on my iPad Pro for daily lessons and practice. The interface is dated and the songs aren’t my taste. But it’s fine for now.

I am hoping there are better iOS apps and/or YouTube channels out there. Send me a tweet @bijan or email me bsabet at gmail if you have any recommendations.

Many thanks!

PS: Please don’t forget all the people in your life that help you on a regular basis and are now likely out of work (ie person who cuts your hair, person who cleans your house, person who dry cleans your clothes, the lady at the coffee shop you used to visit every day….) find them and send them what you can to keep them going. Ideally it’s the same amount you used to pay them each week/month or just send them love and kindness with your words and show them that you care.

An afternoon drive

Yesterday, Lauren and I went for an afternoon drive. We had no destination and we didn’t even get out of the car as we are still in a 14 day self quarantine following our out of country trip. I think we drove for a few hours in all.

It was pretty surreal. The sky was blue. Daffodils are blooming. Folks playing with their kids in their yard. Loved ones were going for walks. People on bikes and keeping a safe distance from each other.

One one hand, it felt somber. A heaviness in the air because of the reality the world is facing with this horrific virus.

And yet, it was a beautiful sign of humanity. Every day people living their lives and living in the moment. With their kids, with each other, or just taking wonder of a crisp gorgeous day.

I have two suggestions for today.

Call someone you haven’t talked to live in a month. It could be family, a friend, a colleague. Make it a live call and not a text.

And second, Stuart Butterfield and his wife Jen Rubio are matching all donations 5:1 up to $1MM to a number of important non profits. Consider donating any amount if you are able.

Mr. Brightside, Run River North

Please forgive me if I’ve posted this song already. The days are all mixed together these days.

Some good things are happening

The first thing I read this morning in the NYT: yesterday Italy reported nearly 800 deaths on Saturday alone due to COVID-19. It does seem like Italy’s reporting system influences their fatality rate**. However it still is an overwhelming and intensely tragic number for sure.

The bad news about how this virus is rapidly spreading — causing job loss, economic suffering and loss of life — and is only getting worse. We should all be prepared. There are no quick or simple answers.

And while our federal government has responded extremly poorly (gross understatement), there are good things happening.

Companies like Apple and GM are stepping up and so are wealthy individuals. And so are every day citizens with their time, money and personal sacrifice — at gas stations, grocery stores, hospitals, pharmacies, factories, trucking, airlines and more. In Korea, they are developing a 10 minute COVID-19 diagnostic test. All of this effort will dramatically increase: the world has woken up and humanity is not giving up.

So, I have two asks for you today.

1/ Please sign this petition to support our health care workers. It’s free and it’s an attempt to advocate for those that are putting their lives on the line.

2/ Please consider making a donation to Feeding America. It’s a fantastic organization. I made a donation today. A little can go a long way to help feed others during this critical time.

I’ll end this post with a portion of Andrew Sullivan’s recent article, How to Survive a Plague (via President Obama’s tweet)

These weeks of confinement can be seen also, it seems to me, as weeks of a national retreat, a chance to reset and rethink our lives, to ponder their fragility. I learned one thing in my 20s and 30s in the AIDS epidemic: Living in a plague is just an intensified way of living. It merely unveils the radical uncertainty of life that is already here, and puts it into far sharper focus. We will all die one day, and we will almost all get sick at some point in our lives; none of this makes sense on its own (especially the dying part). The trick, as the great religions teach us, is counterintuitive: not to seize control, but to gain some balance and even serenity in absorbing what you can’t.

There may be moments in this great public silence when we learn and relearn this lesson. Because we will need to relearn it, as I’m rediscovering in this surreal flashback to a way of living I once knew. Plague living is almost seasonal for humans. Like the spring which insists on arriving.

Take care.

**Update: Paulo André on Twitter makes a great point: these people wouldn’t have died now if it wasn’t for COVID-19