An Open Letter to my Brothers and Sisters the World Over:
My one birthday wish for today…a gift of healing for the world.
My heart is broken… I don’t know how else to say it. Never in my lifetime have we, as one race (the human race), faced such challenges as we do right now at this very moment with the COVID-19 virus.
For many of you – my fans, our generous Janie’s Fund supporters, and the multitude of brave souls who fight daily to overcome past trauma, these times almost don’t seem real, but I beg for us all to know… that they are! People are hurting, with each one of us being pushed to the brink and communities that we know and love, all turned upside down for the foreseeable future.
There is massive uncertainty right now in each of our lives that is forcing us to re-evaluate our priorities and face ourselves. What exactly do we do all day? How are we spending our limited time on this earth… are we loving one another? How are we serving one another? How are we taking care of the ones we love most, while also keeping in mind those near and far that we do not know… who desperately need that same love and care? And most importantly… how are we taking care and loving ourselves? I believe it’s in times like these that we are called to stretch our wingspan as wide as it will go to both look up… and reach down… to help those in need. We all need to find ways to do our part, while staying vigilant in following much needed safety guidelines. No one can afford to do nothing.
Somewhere between the false notion of total INdependence AND unhealthy COdependence, is a beautiful refuge called INTERdependence. It’s the full embodiment of being part of one humanity… what affects my brother and sister also affects me… we’re in this fight together, and we are depending upon one another. It’s critical that we don’t forget those around the corner, and those around the world whose circumstances may very well be more dire than our own.
I started Janie’s Fund more than four years ago not just to help girls and women overcome the trauma of abuse and neglect BUT to be a voice of HOPE, and most of all, a force of SERVICE to one another… it’s based on the universal truth that as we serve and help others heal, we too find healing… I, too, am in need of daily healing, just as much as my brother.
We’re all in this together, and here are a few practical things we all can do in the days ahead to make sure we are taking care of ourselves and our neighbor (be it next door or around the world):
- Join me in positive, intentional social distancing… STAY AT HOME and follow ALL safety recommendations to slow down and stop the spread of this virus.
- Call or FaceTime the people you care about and let them know how much you love them… HAVE those convos, listen with compassion and speak your truth.
- Check in regularly with the people you know who are struggling with virus itself or with money problems.
- Only purchase food and supplies that you and your family need.
- Exercise and get outside if you can, go for a walk or meditate… this will keep your immune system strong.
- Spend a few minutes daily writing down (or journaling) the things. that are heavy on your heart AND those things that you are grateful for… an attitude of gratitude goes a long way.
- Stay away from too much social media, especially opinion pieces that take our focus off helping one another or seeks to divide us.
- Find ways to safely support local businesses, especially those in the service and hospitality industries that are being hit hardest… order out as much as you can.
- If you have the means, please support your local food banks, Meals on Wheels programs, and others nonprofits that care for the most vulnerable… especially those first responders and health care workers who are on the front lines to defeat the virus.
- As for Janie’s Fund, and our partner Youth Villages, we continue to care for thousands of children and families that were already in crisis. Following all current guidelines by the CDC, and state health agencies, we continue to provide much needed care to always keep children safe, and ensure the safety of staff on the front lines providing behavioral and mental health services (which is essential health care).
While there will undoubtedly be a multitude of challenges coming our way in the days, weeks and months ahead that are totally out of our control… we do have a choice.
Join me in choosing love, compassion, perseverance and being of service to others.
In the words of my dear friend Mark Nepo, from The Book of Awakening, “To be broken is no reason to see all things as broken. The trick to staying well in these times… isn’t it: to feel the sun even in the dark… to not lose the truth of things when they go out of you… to know there is still water when we are thirsty… to know there is still love when we are lonely… to know there is still peace even when we are suffering… none of this invalidates our pain… but only straightens our way back into the light.”
Be safe, be prepared, and most of all, be kind.
With HUGE LOVE,
P.S.– Always remember: “Despair is contagious… but so is HOPE”