FIRE WITHIN by Donna Wong
A stealth disease is here. I’m well but I also could be unwell.
I’m definitely feeling a shift to a new normal, but still much is the same with modifications: move, eat, drink, poop/pee, sleep, replenish.
While having retired several years ago, I no longer recall days and dates, or differentiate between weekdays and weekends. Instead, each day is “named” in my head by yoga day, weight training day at the gym, and hiking day. Pretty much I have had to modify these activities due to the closing of gyms. I have continued with yoga and workouts with online videos and home equipment. The parks are still open, so I keep moving and hiking with my husband Ken. More outdoor gardening and weeding, playing in the dirt. Chop wood, carry water—-a Zen lesson—-helps keep me calm. Keep in the present.
Donna Wong’s grandchildren Kahlil and Kaia visiting Marietta, GA. December 2019.
Much of my creative energy also goes toward planning and cooking fun, ethnic, different recipes; but now shopping and food supply have markedly changed, affecting my meal plans. No fresh ginger. Only one bag of cheese left on the grocery shelf to be purchased. Not a problem as long as you’re flexible and resourceful enough to have a mish-mash in your pantry and frig. Still, the tension is palpable in public spaces: I feel the anxiety level when out in the market aisles as people hover and stare at near-empty or empty shelves; I sometimes catch a hostile glance and wonder, is it me being Chinese? Damn Trump and his name calling COVID-19 as the Chinese flu and fueling hate! We need empathy, compassion and global cooperation and unity. We are in this together!
Like you, family get-togethers with our adult children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren, regardless of being near or far, have all become video phone calls on “Skype” or FaceTime. Hugs are impossible, but still I hear the kids’ laughter and see their smiles and antics—-that is a joy, a joy to be grateful for.
Donna’s great-granddaughter Kaylin shows off her cupcakes.
To be grateful …..this is so important to be grateful during this battle with the virus, appreciative of the health professionals on the front line and of all the folks that keep life support services going! I’m grateful for the love of family, friends and the breath and beauty that we have.
I’m sharing my “Be Well” watercolor with you here. May this provide a bright spot: Dan tian is a concept of life energy in tai chi and qi gong. Everybody has this focal point below the belly button—- Keep your inner fires stoked, focus on life’s energy. Take self-care and be kind to yourself and others. Sending love and light your way, and be safe, well and peaceful.
Finally, I share what Rev. Al Sharpton stated during this COVID stay-in-shelter : “Don’t serve the time. Make the time serve you.” Do something—you can study and learn, so when this isolation period is over, we are all stronger to help this country come together.
Two generations of artists: Donna Wong and Kaia Sprague.
Donna May Wong strives to be a Good Trouble Maker, inspired by GA Civil Rights activist and Congressman John Lewis. She earned a B.A. in Fine Arts at U.C.L.A. specializing in painting and printmaking. Donna has a Master’s Degree in Education and a teaching credential in language arts and social studies. After a career in teaching abroad and in the U.S., she became an advisor and administrator serving diverse cultural student organizations in higher education at University of Oregon and Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. Donna, now happily retired, enjoys time with family, yoga practice, hiking, gardening, political volunteer work and art projects indoors and out. Living in Marietta, GA, she volunteered on Stacey Abrams’ campaign for Governor and is committed to turning Cobb County Blue. She is a member of SCLC and Georgia Advancing Progress PAC, a community organization fighting voter suppression and supporting a progressive agenda for Asian Americans. She is a wife, momma, grandmother (Poo)/great-grandma, sister, auntie, experimental foodie-cook and globe-trotting global citizen. Namaste. Om shanti shanti shanti. Peace.
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Kaia and Feena Sprague with Suzi Wong in Marietta,GA. December 2019.