As all of you, I have been practicing social distancing and trying to adjust to our new reality. There are hours to fill that were once packed with appointments, meetings, events, dinners and lunches. I find myself checking off those things on my list that always seem to get shoved to the bottom: organizing family photos, filing documents, rearranging my office, clearing out my closet, reading that epic novel. As I clear out everything that no longer serves me and organize what does, I feel a sense of optimism and hopefulness as I make space for something new to take its place. Over the next few weeks, I intend to be mindful of how I make space in my life.
Making space for people
There are so many health risks associated with loneliness, and with so many people isolated as they practice social distancing, it’s more important than ever to send that text or make that call to check in, or more importantly, pick up that call even if it’s the last person you want to chat with! I’m also making space for a houseguest, a student we know who is close to our family but stranded on the east coast and not able to return to his home, as well as our adult son who prefers to shelter-in-place with mom and dad. I will really cherish this time we have together without a million distractions!
Making space for slower routines & new rituals
The upside of social distancing is that I have more time to enjoy the small things I usually overlook. Recently, I’ve been going to bed earlier and getting more sleep and waking up to enjoy a cup of coffee and the sunrise over Marblehead harbor. My morning walk, though now solitary, has been extended by another mile, and I’ve been introduced to the wonderful world of podcasts. Instead of a rushed lunch at my desk, John and I are enjoying all our meals together, and though I’m not the chef in our family (that’s John’s domain), I’ve stepped out of my comfort zone as the designated comfort food cook and started to try my hand at some more intricate (or intricate for me) recipes. The unread books piled on my nightstand from the book club I had to drop out of (never any time!) are being resurrected once again. These new routines and rituals might be hard to give up when things get back to normal, but I am savoring them while I can.
Making space for gratitude
Everyone has their worries, especially in these times, but it is important to take a moment to be thankful for the fact that if you’re reading this, you’re probably among the most privileged people in the world and in human history. If you have access to food, shelter, adequate clothing, running water, healthcare, and are able to meet your basic needs, you are beyond blessed! A daily meditation on gratitude can reset your mood, how you feel, and how you affect others in your orbit. Positivity is contagious!
Making space for a cause
Alexis de Tocqueville was impressed by the spirit of philanthropy and dedication to civic life that permeated the country and how we Americans would unite as a group to tackle any problem. As he wrote in Democracy in America, "In the United States, as soon as several inhabitants have taken an opinion or an idea they wish to promote in society, they seek each other out and unite together once they have made contact. From that moment, they are no longer isolated but have become a power seen from afar whose activities serve as an example and whose words are heeded.” Today, as ever, it is important for us to make space for the causes that we care about. Everything goes toward making things a bit better for us all!
Making space for new things while blessing others
As I comb through my closet, I realize there are so many items that I just won’t realistically wear again. I’ve held on to some of these pieces for sentimental reasons, and others I have just been stuffed to the back of my closet and continually passed over. It’s time to let go and make space for something new to one day take its place. I feel so much lighter now that I have cleared these things away, and I encourage you to do the same. By donating your unwanted clothing to the Salvation Army or your local church or charity of your choice, your unwanted clothing can be put to use in someone else’s life. Hoarding goes beyond stashing toilet paper in your basement—it’s a mentality that’s grounded in a fear of starvation!
At Cocktail Sneakers, we partner with Soles4Souls charity to collect unwanted shoes that are distributed around the world to people who are in dire need. Your unwanted shoes can make all the difference to someone who walks five miles to school on bare feet, or someone who works in an overcrowded city who has duct tape holding his/her worn-down shoes together, or a mother who steps on a rusty metal nail while gathering water for her family but has no access to a tetanus shot. You see, what we take for granted really is a gamechanger in someone else’s life and a gamechanger for the environment as many of us consciously try to move away from fast, disposable fashion toward a more sustainable model.
With that said, at Cocktail Sneakers, we’re offering 20% off until April 30th and we’re donating 5% of all sales to our partner, Soles4Souls charity (promo code: MAKESPACE). If you are making space in your closet and have any unwanted, gently-worn shoes that you’d like to contribute to our shoe drive, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. If you’re not located in the greater Boston area, please print out a free shipping label or find a shoe drive drop-off location near you. We hope that you join us in supporting our cause!
Stay safe, stay in, but never stop chasing the sun!