Good morning and welcome to your ninth meditation. We’ve all been placed in the unique position lately of having to isolate from others in order to protect them and ourselves. For some this has been a welcome reprieve from a normally busy social life – a chance to slow down, to look inward, and to reflect on what we really want in life. But for a huge number of people this opportunity for reflection feels more like a prison sentence in solitary confinement. For those of us who feel this way, perhaps the everyday current suited us just fine. Perhaps being surrounded by friends and bustle was just what we needed to maintain a healthy psyche. If you are one of these people, you have almost certainly endured a shock in these past months. You have been stripped suddenly of something so fundamental to your identity: your way of being in the world. You have lived your whole life as an extrovert, and deep in your mind and body you’ve learned those pathways. It’s even likely that you’re comprised of genetic material that has made you that way. And now you are suddenly being told that you have to live differently, that you have to be different. You’re a social butterfly but are now suddenly expected to be a lone wolf? It isn’t a fair or even a realistic demand. So don’t try it. You’ll only become more frustrated. Rather, be resourceful. Figure out ways that you can still flap your social wings while remaining apart from the pack. They are not hard to come by. We live in an age where we not only can call our friends from the comfort of our homes, we can see a live video of them while we chat. We can be engaged in text conversations throughout the day with multiple people. We can share pictures of ourselves or songs or jokes and see people’s reactions. Of course none of these are an exact substitute for in-person social interaction. But it’s social interaction none-the-less. It’s just a different breed of it with its advantages and disadvantages just as in-person social interaction has its advantages and disadvantages. Yes, among those of us who live alone most of us miss physical contact. So what should you do? Touch yourself! Rub your arms, touch your legs, stroke your belly, give yourself a foot massage! Of course it’s not the same as another person’s touch, but it’s something. It’s self love, it’s pleasurable, and we all need to find a dose of pleasure wherever we can right now. So be open to it. Just because certain doors have been closed to us right now, doesn’t mean that we have to close the others on ourselves. Be careful not to exaggerate what is demanded of you out of an overblown sense of duty. Not only will this increase your feeling of frustration and powerlessness, it can also make you bitter toward others who may not be following protocols as scrupulously as you believe yourself to be. If you are supposed to stay apart, stay apart. But if it’s still possible to see a friend or two outside and from a distance, then go ahead and do that. It’s not an easy time right now. But while we all work together to protect each other, let’s make sure we are fulfilling our own needs as much as possible. Be kind to yourself. The world is in a muddle due to forces beyond our control. All you can do is try your best to navigate it. Keep it up. You’re doing great. Have a wonderful day.