under the hood

Day 43. I received the following email yesterday from a reader:

“Just to mention it, your post today would benefit from a little more explanation of your emotions and thoughts. For example, the pictures are lovely: Where are these places and why do you find them calming? What, would you suggest, others do to find their serene moments and escapes. All this is nice, but I think you have more to give and share. I’d like to see what’s under your hood. Let us see what underpins your thoughts and thinking. Be bold. You will discover more about yourself.

Dear reader, I will try and explain. Here goes….

I find myself going through phases as I live through, deal with, and cope with the Corona Virus and its impacts. At first, my focus was on leading (together with others) those for whom I have responsibility and who rely on me. First and foremost, taking decisions to protect my health and the health of others. Second, at the same time, assessing the potential economic impacts of Covid-19 and planing for them in real time. And lastly, most importantly, reassuring others that come what may we can and we will get through “this” together.

In addition to family, my efforts have been directed to three primary venues: Our law firm, Sulam, a non-profit in which I occupy a leadership position, and my community. While the details were different, all three had the same basic needs – (i) calm, decisive, thoughtful leadership, (ii) support and reassurance of stakeholders, and (iii) real time planing and implementation. This first phase had its share of stresses, for sure, but for me the challenge of crafting and implementing strategies and the rewarding feeling of being their for others and motivating team members to help each other were and remain big “positives” for me.

Early on I found myself writing this blog and sending a daily early morning email to my law firm. Both were intended, at least in part ,to help others deal with the obvious stresses – “Will I stay healthy?” “What will happen to my job?” “Will I be furloughed?” “What will happen to my savings?”. Since the blog and my emails were also a way for me to deal with my own concerns and stresses, I naturally turned to my photography as a means of expressing emotions, thoughts, aspirations, and hope for a better day.

Many of the images I have used in these endeavors have been of peaceful, beautiful places and things of nature. The pandemic represents a kind of “evil” i.e., what is bad in this world. The images depict the overwhelming “good’ that exists and will continue to exist, in this world long after this pandemic has passed. The daily news reports of infection and death steal hope from us. The images are intended to restore hope to me…and hopefully to others.

While many of the initial worries and stresses remain, I and likely others, are now suffering “phase two” stresses – the stress of staying at home for weeks on end, of being limited to virtual contact in lieu of interpersonal contact, of the prospect of a near term future that is undefined. For me, escaping for a moment or two to beautiful, serene places through imagery allows me to get through another day of being “cooped up” because it reminds me that the time will come when the overwhelming beauty of this universe will again be available for each of us to enjoy.

There you go, David. That is what’s under my hood.

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