Coronacation Chronicles – May 10, 2020

“Tanager Blues”

I’m starting to think that our timeline somehow became skewed to follow Biff Tannen’s alternate 1985, and that’s what directly led to the bizarro life we’re living today. Damn that Marty McFly and his terrible Grey’s Sports Almanac get-rich-quick scheme!

I battled a bit this week with staying positive in my search for silver linings. For starters, the week began with the announcement that schools will remain closed for the rest of the year. I knew it was coming, we all knew it was coming, but to actually hear the official announcement was like a punch in the gut. I won’t see my seniors ever again in my classroom, and I won’t see the others until…..who knows, September, hopefully? Heartbreaking, just heartbreaking as an educator. I chose to become an educator because of my innate desire to help students become the best versions of themselves. Don’t get me wrong, I completely understand the seriousness of our bizarro-world, but it’s nearly impossible to inspire students from behind a screen. My heart hurts because I never got to properly say goodbye to any of them, especially my seniors.

Maybe it’s a side-effect of that announcement, but the increased screen time from both teaching remotely and the hours of preparation that’s required to effectively educate from a computer negatively affected my ability to produce flowing sentences with meaningful words this past week. I want to write something that inspires and provides readers like you with a sense of hope, yet this week, I stared the blank screen or the blank page like Alley Oop without producing anything worthy of posting, including this sorry excuse for a post. I even neglected the two books I’ve been researching and drafting since February.

My increased screen time has also caused me to further isolate myself. After staring at a screen for nine-hours-and-counting on any given day, I am so screened-out that I simply cannot accept after-work-hours virtual Zoom or Google Meet or FaceTime invites for voluntary online get-togethers from family, friends, and fellow writers. Instead of experiencing camaraderie and a sense of belonging, virtual meetings, workshops, and interactions actually cause me to experience anxiety. If you’ve sent me an invite, I certainly appreciate being included, but please understand why I might not show up in one of the Brady Bunch boxes on your end. It’s not you, it’s me, and hopefully someday, I’ll become more at ease with sharing my virtual self.

Despite the creative void, a positive moment from the past week was spotting a male

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Terrible photo I took of the Scarlet Tanager.

Scarlet Tanager in my yard. I saw a flashing bright red body with sheer black wings fly from the cedar tree to the oak. The bird was about the size of a sparrow with its shocking red hue different than the coloring of a male cardinal and a shade I had never seen on a bird before. I observed its mannerisms as it hopped and flew from branch to branch high in the oak tree’s branches, and with a quick search on my phone, I confirmed it was a male Scarlet Tanager. He was one of the most beautiful little birds I’ve ever seen and a bright spot in a week full of the blahs.

Another positive this week: socially distanced visits allowed me to see all of my nieces and nephews over the past week in person. Their smiles never fail to light up my world and I long to scoop each one up in a tight bear hug. When they’ll once again be able to sit on my lap as we play a game or sit next to me as I tell them a story, I don’t know, but I wish it was today. Again, I understand the virus and all of its serious intricacies, but having to sing Happy Birthday to four out of five of them over the phone since the shutdown without being able to hand each a special gift in person was the absolute pits.

The times, they’re getting to me today, for sure.

Please don’t misinterpret what I’ve shared as complaints. Rather, my intention is to share with you the reality of what I’m living and feeling right now without shame and without embarrassment. It’s real, it’s unedited, and it’s authentic. As the saying goes, it is what it is, and it’s all part of the human experience to experience the good with the bad. Life has its highs and its lows, and last week was a subpar week at best.

Here’s looking forward with a renewed attitude to a new week, and if the doldrums continue, there will be another new week coming along, shortly.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – May 10, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on May 10, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Coronacation Chronicles – May 3, 2020

A few days ago, we experienced Florida weather here at the Jersey Shore. In a matter of mere minutes, we had showers, sun, downpour while sunny, wind, sun, hail, thunder, rain, then sun again.

Florida weather.

At one point, as pea-sized hail pellets bounced off the deck, I kept a concerned watch for locusts and aliens mixed in with the hailstones, as either wouldn’t have surprised me right about now.

The weather was absolutely perfect for chasing rainbows between the deluges.

I’ve always been an avid rainbow chaser, but I tend to miss more than I catch either because of my vantage, my location, or my timing.

Anyway, as the last bit of rain moved east about a quarter to six in the evening, the declining sun in the west broke through the clouds and created an angle of sunshine that was prime for painting rainbows in the sky.

I threw on my boots and ventured to our front yard, which faces west. The street flooded because it was high tide and the storm drains couldn’t handle any more water. I took some pictures of reflections of trees and houses in the water, nothing spectacular, just images to remember the moment. I splashed through the puddles then walked around to the back yard, where I roamed while keeping a keen eye on the sky to the east which had faded to a lighter shade of gray.

A blue jay watched me wander from high atop a pine tree and a cardinal crooned his cheer-cheer-cheer song from the blooming dogwood. I stopped pacing to appreciate the perfect water droplets that perfectly dangled from the end of each pine needle. A catbird appeared out of nowhere for the first time this season having returned from wherever he wintered. He sang to me a beautiful melody which he promptly followed with his loud meow-like call.

I thanked the catbird for his performance as I looked to the sky again, and there it was…

snapseed

This crappy photo I took is an insult to the rainbow’s brilliance, but I wanted you to have a visual, no matter how lame.

the brightest rainbow I’ve seen in a very long time glowing in the sky, its right side fainter than its brilliant left with its highest arch fading in and out of view. A paler rainbow with its colors reversed mirrored it for almost its entire length.

 

I whipped out my phone and quickly snapped a few photographs of its brilliance, knowing from past experience that rainbows can vanish quicker that they appeared.

This one, though…this one hung out for a while, unusually long as far as rainbows go. I put my phone in my pocket and just stood there gazing at its majesty. The vivid colors, I cannot recall ever seeing a rainbow so bright and radiant.

Suddenly, I became aware of the song playing from the radio in my husband’s workshop as I took in the rainbow’s splendor…

…Ooh child…Things are gonna get easier

Ooh child…Things’ll get brighter

Some day, yeah…We’ll put it together and we’ll get it undone

Some day…When your head is much lighter

Some day, yeah…We’ll walk in the rays of a beautiful sun

Some day…When the world is much brighter

Ooh child…Things are gonna get easier

Ooh child…Things’ll get brighter… 

“Ooh Child,” lyrics by Stan Vincent, performed by Five Stairsteps

Surreal perfection.

Absolute bliss.

Genuine hope.

Indescribable peace.

I existed in harmony with nature and its coincidentally spontaneous soundtrack, and in that moment, all was right in my world.

What I’ve written here doesn’t do justice to my experience, the full encounter and its all-encompassing effect unable to be replicated with words even by the finest Hollywood writer.

All I can do is offer you this message:

And the rainbow continues to shine…

 

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – May 3, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on May 3, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

 

Coronacation Chronicles – April 26, 2020

An osprey crapped on me yesterday.

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One of the culprits…this is the image referenced in the post. Photo taken 4/25/2020.

Yes, you read that correctly.

There’s no doubt that we are ALL suffering from a major infliction of cabin fever, and yesterday presented itself as one of the nicer days we’ve enjoyed in a while. A true harbinger of warmer days to come. The day’s recipe of impeccable sunshine combined with a pinch of minimal wind and a dash of feathery clouds coerced me to taste the day’s buffet by spending some time outside (while following obvious social distancing rules, in case I have to clarify this with a common-sense disclaimer for those in the back).

I cleaned up the yard a bit then went for a bicycle ride with my husband. At one point, three ospreys majestically soared directly over me in the bright blue vastness with their high-pitched call echoing down from their heights.

I grabbed my phone from my back jeans pocket and aimed it upwards in their general direction to take a picture, but the sun’s angle made it difficult to see. I blindly pressed the shutter button, hoping I captured the swirling birds in my viewfinder.

As I returned my phone to my pocket, I heard a quick pattering of what I thought were large rain drops hitting the pavement.

A crystal blue, mostly cloudless sky… scattered rain drops… that made little sense.

Then… plop.

On the ring finger of my right hand, there it was… a wet, white splatter smaller to those that now stained the blacktop around me and my bicycle’s fender.

Gross.

And awesome.

As always, I tried to assign meaning to being spontaneously baptized by an osprey. Should I be flattered, or irritated? Was I lucky, or unfortunate? Was the osprey’s release meant for me, or was I in the way as I most often find myself?

That’s one of the running titles for my future memoir, if I ever get around to writing it: I’m always in the way.

It’s uncanny… no matter what I do, I find myself in the way of someone or something more often than not. Even when I move to get OUT of the way, I end up being more of a hinderance or a target than I would have been if I had just stayed put. It happens at home, in the classroom, in the hallways, at public events, in train stations, in the aisles of the local grocery store, and even when I am by myself.

For example, when I was in middle school, I stood on the sidelines of the local soccer complex waiting for my younger brother’s soccer game to begin. Two teams on the field with players older than me battled it out during the final minutes of their game. One of the players kicked the soccer ball very high and in my direction. I moved about ten or so steps to my left to get out of the way, and the ball whaled me right on top of my head. If I had stayed where I stood a few sections prior to impact, I would have been fine, but the ball got me because I tried to get out of the way. Another time, as I cleaned my closet, I nudged a box on the top shelf with a yardstick to propel it down and I stepped backwards out of its path. Or so I thought. Wouldn’t you know the box landed square on top of my head anyway, just like the soccer ball had? Thankfully, neither incident produced a concussion as far as I know, although the double head impact could explain a lot…

Anyway, always being in the way is, and forever has been, one of my many idiosyncrasies. Wearing a perpetual target can be awkward and downright frustrating. When I move to get out of the way but end up becoming more of an obstruction, especially in public, I flush and feel like a graceless goon.

However, this idiosyncrasy, like all the others, is part of who I am.

I can’t shake it. I can’t overcome it. The only choice left is to embrace it.

Perhaps that’s why the osprey chose me, to reassure me it is truly a blessing to be different and my quirks and flaws make me one-of-a-kind

Of course, the osprey could have been trying to impress his two flying partners with his on-target aim.

Or maybe, he just had to crap.

I’ll stick with the lesson.

The world needs its eccentric, graceless goons. My name is Jill, and I am blessed and proud to be one of them.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – April 26, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on April 26, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Coronacation Chronicles – April 19, 2020

Week Six of Isolation…

The snap is starting to hit closer to home as many people I know have now lost a loved one to COVID-19.

That’s not a hoax.

That’s a fact.

I wrote in one of my posts a few weeks ago that it’s extremely hard to be an empath right now, and that remains true to my core. I thank my lucky stars that I haven’t lost anyone close to me (dare I say yet?), but I honestly cry every time I read that someone I am connected to has lost someone. It happened yesterday morning, when I learned that a fishing buddy of my husband’s lost his father; 80-year-old Jesus Sande owned two recognizable fishing vessels where I live. I never met Mr. Sande, but I cried my heart out yesterday for him and his family when I heard about his passing. Same goes for a local firefighter whom I also never met but shed many tears for as I learned that he succumbed to COVID very quickly. He was younger than me.

The good news is the growing recovery rate, as many people who have battled COVID have recovered. My heart dances with joy when I learn of survivors, especially those I know. I’m inspired by the dedication of those on the front lines and tremendously thankful for the helpers and essential workers. Even though we’re not all technically in the same boat, our boats are simultaneously trying to stay afloat in the same storm despite the different affects the storm has and will have on our individual vessels.

In my vessel of isolation over here, we’ve been watching old “Cheers” episodes on DVD. It’s a little known fact that “Cheers” has always been one of my favorite shows with its timeless one-liners and classic storylines created by writers who masterfully intertwined the literal AND the figurative in order to tell a simple yet complicated narrative episode by episode.

I vividly recall watching with friends the “Cheers” series finale titled “One for the Road” in 1993.

In the episode’s closing scene, Sam (played by Ted Danson) walks over and adjusts the Geronimo picture hanging on the back wall. That framed Geronimo photograph hung in the dressing room of Nicholas Colasanto, who played Coach. After he passed away (which ironically was on my fourteenth birthday), it was placed in the set background and remained there for the duration of the series. As both the episode and series conclude, Sam adjusted Geronimo’s photograph as a final tribute to Colasanto, then walks down the hallway to the dark pool room. It’s a fitting end to the series, since in the very first episode, Sam makes his first entrance by walking into the bar from the same hallway leading from the pool room in the back. What a visual paradox.

There are a few lines in “One for the Road” said by Dr. Frasier Crane (played by Kelsey Grammar) that slug me in my gut every single time I hear them. It’s a seemingly innocent statement, but it’s teeming with significance and is just as relevant to the lives we are currently living today as it was in 1993, if not more:

You know, no one wants to be the first to say it, but I’m not ashamed to admit what I think we’re all feeling. Time goes by so fast. People move in and out of your life. You must never miss an opportunity to tell these people how much they mean to you. Well, I…I…I…

Hey….

You….

Yeah, YOU, who is reading this right now…

This is my opportunity to tell you how much you mean to me.

Maybe you are a childhood friend or just a passerby reader. Maybe you’re family or a complete stranger. Maybe I’ve known you for 49 years or 49 seconds. Maybe we grew up together, worked together, traveled together, or spent time together in a classroom or a watering hole or at a concert or a festival or a game, maybe not.

None of that matters.

What does matter is this:

Whatever footprints you’ve left alongside mine in my life journey, I am grateful for YOU.

I respect you. I honor you. I thank you.

Most of all, I love you.

I really do.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

 

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In Memory of Jesus Sande, owner of the Maria Noelle and Muros.

 

“Coronacation Chronicles – April 19, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on April 19, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

 

Coronacation Chronicles – April 11, 2020

1022px-apollo_13-insignia

Apollo 13 Insignia – Creative Commons

It’s status quo over here with no potential end to the socially distanced life we are all subjected to living right now in sight.

Maybe a month more? Maybe two?

Probably more.

The World Health Organization declared a national pandemic a month ago today. The 31 days between then and now were both the shortest and the longest days I’ve ever experienced.

Together, we are collectively living a kaleidoscope of paradoxes rife with a wave of emotions that shift by the minute.

50 years ago today, the ill-fated Apollo 13 craft with astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise, and Jack Swigert aboard blasted off from Cape Canaveral to the moon.

Two days later, after hearing something similar to a small explosion, Swigert said, “Houston, we’ve had a problem here,” then Lovell followed with, “Houston, we have a problem.”

A problem it was, indeed, a problem that seemed too big to solve. Doubt and fear for the crew grew with each passing minute.

However, Flight Director Gene Kranz had a different attitude. In response to doubting co-workers, he replied, “With all due respect Sir, I believe this is going to be our finest hour.”

Surprisingly, Kranz never uttered the phrase, “Failure is not an option,” as was portrayed in the movie Apollo 13.

But failure WAS NOT an option for those who tirelessly worked together to solve one of the biggest problems NASA would ever face: bringing the three astronauts safely back to Earth with only what was onboard and a limited supply of fuel, oxygen, and water.

Together, the three astronauts endured fear, darkness, illness, and frigid conditions as they waited in isolation above the Earth.

And in time, NASA’s dedicated team DID solve the problem: Lovell, Haise, and Swigert landed in the Pacific Ocean near Samoa without harm on April 17, 1970.

Fifty years later, COVID-19 is our Apollo 13.

We’ve had a problem here.

It seems too big to solve as we live in doubt and fear.

We are enduring the darkness while in isolation and it feels like we’re floating in some surreal universe above the Earth. To make matters worse, some of us are terribly sick and those we love are suffering.

And some of us are dealing with a grief like no other.

However, there’s a dedicated team somewhere out there comprised of medical professionals and scientists who are working tirelessly to solve this problem because failure is not an option when lives are at stake.

It will take time, but eventually, they will solve it.

And when we overcome this pandemic, we will celebrate our finest hour together.

Until then, take care of yourself and your family, and please don’t lose hope.

Someday will come.

Someday.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – April 11, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on April 11, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

 

Coronacation Chronicles – April 5, 2020

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An Empty Planner: Blessing or Curse?

We are entering our fourth week of social isolation.

And for the record, it is Sunday.

You’d think because there’s nothing much to keep track of on my planner, it would be easier to know what day it is.

Nope.

It’s not.

Each day passes by inexplicably fast as it magically melts into its tomorrow while it simultaneously metamorphoses into its yesterday.

Before this drastic shift in life-as-I-know-it, my to-do list held me hostage and simply exhausted me. Run around, do this, check that off, don’t forget this, you’re late, you missed this, you failed because you forgot that

The frenzy of demands that, for the most part, served someone else’s or society’s checklist I religiously wrote in my planner and entered into my phone’s calendar took an enormous toll on my health and my emotional wellbeing, but if I ever admitted that, I’d be judged as a failure or labeled as “needing improvement.”

Turns out, most of those tasks were ultimately unnecessary in the big picture despite running me ragged.

This period of isolation, while foggy at times, has been crystal clear in presenting within itself a renewed illumination.

I absolutely miss seeing my family in person and would kill to hug my nieces and nephews right now. I miss my friends, my colleagues, my students…I miss the human connection.

But I don’t miss the frenzy, especially when said frenzy negatively affected my wellbeing.

Our current situation and the uncertainty that literally surrounds everything concerns me big time.

But the silver lining is this: my time is mine.

I’m spending a good chunk of time each week revisiting and updating my lessons to make them more meaningful for my students as we teach and learn from a distance for the foreseeable future. I’m helping my students make better connections and improve skills across the board, and I enjoy spending my time in such a manner because it benefits the greater good.

However, I am rather enjoying the limited structure of my days and having the freedom to walk on my treadmill, write for myself, and meditating whenever I please within the mandates of my pre-determined “time online” while keeping up with my professional responsibilities.

Life has given all of us permission to slow down.

And you know what?

I’m no longer suffering from the “fear of missing out” because of my fatigue, since there’s nothing to miss out on, and I’m no longer paralyzed with guilt for saying NO.

I’ve replaced the news with music, scrolling with gardening, and rushing around aimlessly with creating with words and crayons. I’m quickly becoming a talented “inker.” Kevin Smith fans will know what I mean.

If anything good comes of this extraordinarily strange time, perhaps it’s the opportunity to re-prioritize and adopt a renewed and enlightened attitude as we move forward.

Perhaps we will value time spent with loved ones, and creating meaningful memories will replace the go-here, go-there keeping-up-with-the-Joneses mentality.

Perhaps gratitude for everything we’ve previously taken for granted will outweigh entitlement and materialism.

Perhaps we will live more authentically and notice the little things with an increased sense of wonder and appreciation.

Perhaps respect, compassion, creativity, and kindness will flourish and “Look at you!” will replace “Look at me!”

Perhaps we will adopt a mindset of bettering ourselves and serving others not for external rewards or “likes” but to honor our intrinsic sense of purpose while promoting that lost concept of humanity.

Perhaps you will be able to finally live your life on your terms, and I mine.

Maybe.

Just maybe.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – April 5, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on April 5, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Coronacation Chronicles – March 29, 2020

snapseedIn Limbo.

No schedule.

No plans.

Slow down.

Reprioritize.

I am you.

You are me.

Distance unites us.

Normal no longer exists.

The non-essential are most essential.

The least vulnerable are most vulnerable.

The ones who can breathe are the ones who cannot.

Eternal thanks to those who are working.

Compassion has regained its status.

Empathy exceeds entitlement.

Prayers for all.

And so it goes.

Just

Be.

 

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – March 29, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on March 29, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Coronacation Chronicles – March 21, 2020

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Nobody told me there’d be days like these
Strange days indeed
most peculiar
Mama…”

–  John Lennon

Some random thoughts from the front lines of this alternate universe we are living…

My life is in limbo, as is yours, and a giant shroud of uncertainty covers us all.

Everything is on hold until further notice.

I just finished my first week of teaching remotely without interacting in-person with my students and my colleagues. I miss their faces. I miss their smiles.

I never thought I’d see the day when my planner was empty.

I look at my calendar adorned with strike-outs and “canceled” stickers and wonder, when will the first social gathering happen that I will go to? When will until further notice end? Will it be in May? July? September? January 2021? Or beyond?

A more profound emptiness encircles us right now than the emptiness found on my measly planner pages… empty trains and busses, airports and parking lots, shelves and displays and freezer cases, playgrounds and basketball courts, classrooms and lunchrooms, stadiums and ballparks, arenas and aquariums, boardwalks and museums…

The biggest empty might be found inside our hearts and dreams.

Last week I wrote about hope, and while I’m clinging to hope the way a baby clings to its blankie, the daily shift further away from life-as-we-knew-it skews that hope just a little bit as it bends towards a new unknown.

I have underlying medical issues, and I am afraid.

Nobody deserves to die from this, yet we all know people who are going to die.

My heart is in denial and cannot accept that.

Nor can I wrap my heart around the fact that my five-year-old nephew figured out on his own that he wouldn’t be able to have his turtle birthday party next week. He’s bummed, but he’s okay with it. My heart, however, is not.

It’s extraordinarily difficult to be an Empath right now.

During my journalism lesson about 9-11, I tell my students that I’d love to bring them back to September 10, 2001 so they could experience the feeling of life before it was changed forever. I wonder, when I teach my future students about the history we are living right now, how drastically different our “yesterday” will be compared to the culture and society they will live in. How will their reality come about, and what will we collectively lose in the process?

Things will never get back to normal because normal no longer exists.

I’m off the news and listening to a lot of music. When I’m not teaching remotely or preparing lessons for remote learning, my words, my pen, and my keyboard keep me going.

So do the singing birds who wake me up every morning. I can’t hear singing birds in my classroom, but I can from my living room, and I’ve got season tickets with a front-row seat for their daily morning concerts.

Everything is blooming earlier than usual… the cherry trees, the forsythia, the weed flowers, the magnolias, the pear trees. Maybe the Earth knew we needed some color right now.

With a major announcement scheduled for less than an hour from now by our governor, I have no doubt that this post will be old news five minutes after I hit “publish,” but it’s a record of this moment: 11:15 AM on March 21, 2020.

We’re all human. We’re all concerned. We’re all connected. We’re all in this together. Much light and love to you and yours.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Coronacation Chronicles – March 21, 2020” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on March 21, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Tiny Purple Flowers of Hope

Life as we know it is changing by the minute as we are living through a very bizarre time filled with unprecedented events.

A week ago, I was enthusiastically looking forward to spring’s arrival and to making one of my ideas become a reality.

I’m still making progress towards my goal despite the altered reality we are living, and I’m still looking forward to spring.

However, I sit here concerned, confused, and anxious.

I feel like I’m waiting for Thanos to snap his fingers as he dons his infinity gauntlet brimming with stones.

History textbooks are being rewritten by the hour. Earlier this week, I told my students their children will someday learn in school about what we are currently living through. These students are, in fact, the previous generation’s children who have learned about 9-11 in school, an event their parents similarly lived through and experienced.

After the dust settles, what’s going to be left economy-wise? How will this pandemic’s aftermath further alter an already skewed life-as-we-know-it? How will the healthcare system survive? What will our days look like a year from now? A month from now? Will I still be here?

Yesterday, I left my classroom after what might have been the last time I will see my students for a month or more.snapseed

As I walked to my car, I looked down and glimpsed three tiny purple flowers blooming in all their glory in the face of and despite the state of our world.

In Star Wars: The Last Jedi, General Leia Organa said, “Hope is like the sun. If you only believe it when you see it you’ll never make it through the night.”

Hope.

I might not see it, but I believe in it with all of my heart and my soul. Especially right now.

Hope.

The message from those tiny purple flowers.

Hope.

It’s what keeping me going as we collectively navigate uncharted waters brimming with hysteria and uncertainty.

Hope.

One word that’s making all the difference to me as one of millions living with underlying medical issues.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Tiny Purple Flowers of Hope” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on March 14, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved. Contact jillocone@gmail.com with reposting, licensing, and publishing inquiries.

Marching Onward, With My Heart at the Forefront

Logo Color RedI slept until 6:45 AM this morning, although, in reality, it was 5:45 AM and the time I normally wake up. When you’re an early riser like me, March’s time change is of no consequence in the morning, although my eyelids will probably become heavy before the sun has completely gone to bed for the night until I adjust to the change.

An extra hour of sunlight at the back-end of the day. It’s one of my favorite harbingers of spring, along with dancing to the song of the spring peeper frogs as I waltz into school, which I did on Friday morning.

Even though it’s still technically winter, March has come in like a lamb along the Jersey Shore, and I’ll take it.

There’s always the possibility that a seemingly calm March can turn into a lion on a dime with Jack Frost busting in and riding that lion like a rodeo cowboy. However, the best thing about a March snowstorm is that it melts rather quickly.

Snow or no snow, light or dark, sunshine or rain, I’m all aquiver today.

Despite my best efforts and attempts to keep a positive outlook, the first two months of 2020 were emotionally difficult for me.

I dug out of the funk by adopting a new mindset: I dedicated myself to ME. Making myself the top priority in my life, along with incorporating lifestyle changes such as a regular and honest journaling practice, daily meditation, and yoga, has resulted in an awakening of massive proportions.

I’m experiencing life with a whole new level of awareness, one I never knew existed before, and it’s freaking amazing. I’ve got a new bounce in my step and a ridiculously stupid grin on my face as my heart now matters most.

My heart is simultaneously content and thrilled about the limitless possibilities that lie ahead of me, and my soul joyfully celebrates alongside my heart in camaraderie and sheer bliss.

I am now enlightened with a vision that will allow me to use my gifts and talents to serve others while as I follow the breadcrumbs I encounter along my path, ones I now see with absolute clarity.

Finally, I’ve found my dharma.

I am wholeheartedly devoting myself to my vision as I create it and give it life. As such, I’m looking for a few educators who would be willing to serve as beta-testers of my idea during the month of April. Should you be interested, please shoot me an email with your name, school name, and grade/subject you teach to jillocone@gmail.com.

Out of three ideas I have in my hopper, this particular vision will enact positive changes in the lives of fellow educators through leadership, support and encouragement, and if it proceeds as I envision, it will also shift the course of my future for the better.

I have a vision.

I have a plan.

I have a goal.

I have a purpose.

I am productive and focused.

And throughout it all, my heart will matter the most, as should yours.

cropped-img_0764 Thanks for joining me on my journey. I’m glad you’re here.

With gratitude,

Jill

“Marching Onward, With My Heart at the Forefront” was posted on jillocone.com and on soulseaker.com on March 8, 2020. Views and opinions expressed in this post are solely those of the writer, who was not compensated in any way by any entity. Copyright 2020, Jill Ocone. All rights reserved.