Physical Distancing, Not Social Distancing: Ideas from the Amava Community

One thing that widespread social distancing has clarified anew is that people need each other. So much so that people are starting to use the term “physical distancing” instead as they find new ways to connect with others socially from a distance of anywhere from six feet to thousands of miles. As the things that separate us fall away, the humanity that defines us emerges. At Amava, we are not at all surprised that the people who have chosen to engage with us have much to share with others. To amplify their voices to reach more people, we will use our platform so that more can benefit. The virus should not be the only thing that spreads in these times. With the help of our community, we’d like to help spread compassion and wisdom.

We’ve been gathering the words, thoughts and ideas of Amava Members and people interacting with us on social media. What follows are some of many messages we’ve received–from the practical to the philosophical–and we’ll keep sharing.

Direct Quotes From the Amava Community:

-Write notes and letters and send them to local nursing homes and assisted living communities. Phone and ask for an activity director or social worker.

-Boredom baking! It’s a thing…

-My husband is playing flute-o-grams for anyone who needs peace through music. If you’re interested, reach out to [email protected] and we will connect you.

–Lifting weights. If you don’t have any, use water bottles or tomato cans. Great work-out in a small space.

-Now seems a bit early but how about us that knit and crochet and have extra yarn start making mittens, hats, lap-gans, socks and other cold weather accessories for the homeless shelters and the food pantries to pass out this fall to the people who have little or no income. This is not an immediate”help” but down the road I’m sure these items would be greatly appreciated.

-I am from the baby boomer generation. When my son was born they had not yet created paper diapers. We survived. If the toilet paper shortage continues, be creative. Gather all those t-shirts you no longer want or wear. Be sure they are clean then cut then into squares. Put them in a basket by the toilet. Use and then throw away! Do Not flush! Problem solved.

-I have been volunteering at a soup kitchen for 20 years. With these trying times, I decided for my birthday to ask for donations for our Guests, who can no longer come to the facility except for grab and go lunches. To my surprise and utter delight my friends and family have been so very generous. Just thought I’d let you know, there are so many wonderful things happening in our crazy scary surreal world right now.

-I read something I think has great value for you and your neighbors. Everyone’s home, not just the ones where seniors or handicap people reside, should have two squares of colored paper large enough to be visible from passers by. If the occupants need help, the red card goes in the window. If all is well the green card stays in the window viewing area seen from the street.

–Call your neighbors and family instead of texting, make sure people can tell in your voice you care about them,

-Do a FaceTime tea party with your children and their friends.

-Attention quilters and people who sew (sewers?). We could help make masks, gowns and caps. Does anyone one have a resource for the patterns and fabrics required? There are thousands of us. Lots of scrap fabrics too!

-Please donate blood if you can!

-Making a time to bond. Clear n cleanse. Putting the things we have sitting about to use. Playing music. Learning or relearning pleasures of less hurried life styles.

-One thing we can all do is make sure we reach out to our own family as well as at least two neighbors a couple times each week. It takes a village…

-Clean your closet, give away not needed items.

-Take walks, beautify your yard, wave and smile.

-Making jam! Zen meditation!

-Keep busy. Be Creative. Bake something and share with others.

-I’ve been cooking for people and just checking in to hear them. They all need to vent and someone to listen.

-Help a homeless person.

-This is a good time to tend to my garden and get projects done that have been on my to-do list: clean closets and kitchen cabinets. Just don’t sit there idle, use your time to make things better for you and your family.

-A friend and I made plans to help each other, in each other’s gardens (when the rain stops). We can stay away from each other, by working in opposite areas of the yard, but still share time together.

-You could foster a mother cat and kittens, or a puppy that is too young to be at the shelter.

-I may add, maybe offer to take care of pets when the owner is too sick to do it.

-Make kindness rocks and pass them around the neighborhood on steps outside the doors.

-I decided to make a big pot of healthy soup weekly for the elderly shut-in of our church’s congregation. Now, I’ll be delivering those sanitized containers on doorsteps instead of personally visiting. Our social connections are by phone.

-Please reach out to your elderly neighbors!

-I’ve gone for a walk with my neighbors across the street. We meet at the end of the driveway and stay 6 feet away from each other. When we get back we stand 6 feet away from each other chitchat for 6-10 minutes, wish all a happy evening and go our separate way.

-Make sure to wash before going out and when you come in.

-I have also been partially coloring a page from an adult coloring book and sending it in a card with a sticky note saying I started, you get to finish it.

-Learn something new.

-Learn sign language.

-Just helping others gives you happiness.

-I’m knitting soap sacks for the local food bank I’ll put in a bar of soap also.

-Our family is using FaceTime and those calls really help.

-What can be done to help our Long haul Truckers since Restaurants are closed especially when they are delivering to Grocery Warehouses and wait for hours to be unloaded? They can’t drive through fast food and can’t drive to get to a grocery store while they wait to unload their Semis.

-Write in a journal about what you did during the 2020 Pandemic. Children can journal. It can be in a composition book or on any paper then make it into a journal when you can get a binder to put it in.

-Begin writing family history. Children can begin by recording their brothers and sisters.

-Access a platform like Zoom and invite your friends to a virtual coffee, tea, lunch or dinner. Chat over your meal.

-Invite others to read a selected book and create a book discussion or do the same with a film. Even better, read a book made into a film and compare the two.

– Write actual letters to people you care about and share how much they mean to you.

-Try new recipes.

-Train your pet; teach it tricks.

-Work on craft projects (painting, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, etc.).

-Work on home projects (rearranging furniture, organizing closets, purging clothes, or other projects you’ve been putting off).

-Work on puzzles.

-Play board games with family.

-Search for long lost friends on Facebook.

-Look through pre-digital photos.

-Fill a notebook with memory stories for your children or grandchildren.

-Learn a new software application.

-Create a treasure hunt for the kids (or adults) by hiding items throughout the house.

-Foster or adopt a shelter pet.

-Start communicating with a pen pal.

Some lovely interactions:

-Comment: “Americans will show their real strength.” Answer: “Damn right we will.”

-I wish you were my neighbor!

-You just made me laugh!

-Friend me and I will answer. I know you are out there and I hear you.

If you’d like to add something, please reach out to us at [email protected].

Read about how to stay socially engaged, make a difference in your community, lessons from a Member in China and other things you can do at home.

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