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Write every day: Finding hope in science

Need to hear about hopeful ways science and biomimicry are working to stop the spread of COVID-19? I’m honored to be presenting my research and work at this Call to Action webinar on Tuesday, 4/7 at 2pm EDT with my colleagues and you can attend! The webinar is free and you need to register to receive the log-in information. Register at: bit.ly/2Ra2AF5

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Write every day: 2 ways to give help and 2 ways to get help

Screen Shot 2020-04-04 at 8.24.43 AMThis morning here are two easy ways to give help and two ways to get help if you need it:

Give help:
1.) Buy and donate cookies from the Girl Scouts for yourself, loved ones, and our brave healthcare workers!

This year the Girl Scouts had to cancel all of their in-person cookie drives which go to fund a lot of their activities and help girls around the world. So they moved the whole operation online with delivery. Online you can buy cookies for yourself, send cookies to others, or donate them to our brave healthcare workers!

Link: https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookie-care.html

2.) #Chalk4Joy
Share JOY on the Sidewalks of the World today! A global chalk painting celebration for you to do at home. Share what JOY looks like to YOU by:
– Doing a chalk drawing on your sidewalk outside (at a safe social distance from others) or on paper at home with anything you have.
– Share photos of your work on social media with the hashtags #ChalkTheWalk #Chalk4Joy
– Send pictures of your art to chalk4peace@gmail.com

Get help:
1.) Free food for all New Yorkers in need
If you or anyone you know in NYC needs food, 3 free meals will be available for ALL New Yorkers at more than 400 Meal Hubs, Monday – Friday: http://schools.nyc.gov/freemeals. No questions asked. Please help spread the world about this.

2.) Call your financial institutions if you need help
A lot of people are struggling financially right now and that’s causing a tremendous amount of stress. Many banks and financial institutions like Bank of America (which has been my bank for many years) have stepped up to say that they will work with customers, cancel certain fees, and offer extra assistance. Don’t be afraid or embarrassed to call them to ask for help. They have the means and they want to help you get through this. Call the toll-free number on the back of your card or contact them via their website to explore your options. Please tell your neighbors, friends, and family about this.

Write every day: How my PTSD is helping me survive COVID-19 in New York City

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Story and art by Brian Andreas

My sweet and dear friend, Colleen, sent me this beautiful card of encouragement about women of fire. I taped it up at my desk. Ironically, I had just read this story by one of our favorite artists, Flying Edna/Brian Andreas Studio, a few nights before as I was scrolling through inspirational quotes, a meditative pastime in these times of quarantine.

Over a decade ago, my apartment building caught fire and I almost got trapped inside. That fire literally and figuratively forged me the way a blacksmith forges iron. I developed intense PTSD as a result, and went into weekly therapy with Brian, a wizard of a therapist.

I sat with Brian every week for 3+ years and looked at every dark corner of my mind and past. It was a brutal, painful initiation. I had to do that heavy work on myself. I had no choice. I ran out of places to hide. I ran out of coping mechanisms. The fire burned them all away. All that was left was me. Not what I do or who my friends are or where I went to school or any of my accomplishments. Just the iron core of who I am.

It was messy, dirty work, and I’m so grateful for it. I didn’t do it because I wanted to. I did it because I had to. I’d never wish it on anyone; I also wouldn’t change it for myself. I’ve been into the darkness of my own mind, heart, and past. I lived there with a powerful flashlight in-hand, shining it into every hidden place. There, I found my own light. There isn’t anything I don’t know about myself. I know exactly what I’m made of, and how I’m put together. It’s powerful knowledge. It made me courageous.

That courage informs my biomimicry research around plastic. People’s reaction when they hear about my work: “How depressing!” and then they continue on with their single-use plastic loving lives. It is depressing. And if I can make a positive change in that field, it has an oversized impact. Solutions in dire situations are like that—it’s possible to make huge leaps forward because there is no other choice. So I get to work trying to make a difference with what I have—my science, business, and writing.

That courage also informs my reaction to coronavirus now. Another friend of mine asks, “How are you today?” They don’t wait for an answer before saying, “NYC is so awful right now. You must be so depressed and terrified that you can’t even get out of bed.”

No one needs to tell me how awful the situation is in NYC or send me the stats about it—I live here. I know all the stats. I’m surrounded by them. I read every official news report and listen to every press conference by every expert. And not once has it crossed my mind to leave NYC or stay in bed. Not once. Our essential workers need our support. I’m here for them. Thanking them, donating money and time, checking on my neighbors, and signing up to volunteer with the city when and how I can in a safe way.

What’s happening in NYC now will happen in many cities across the country. I’m here to learn, and to help my neighbors, essential workers, businesses, and government improve this city for all people. And then to help other cities that go through this when this disease shows up on their doorstep. And it will, and soon, and I’m sorry about that, and I will help you when the time comes. Personal therapy prepared me for this work, too.

NYC is in a dire state, and the circumstances of our essential workers is horrific. Just as I came through my fire a far better person than I was before, we have the chance to come out of this dark time a better community that helps many more people, especially our healthcare workers on the frontlines. To do that, we have to do the hard work of transformation. Together, we have to be committed to finally fix and heal and reinvent the many broken systems that have been broken for decades. We have to be committed to make all this difficulty mean something. I’m committed.

Write every day: How to help New York City

New York City got dire news and numbers today, and we’re nowhere near the apex. Our heroic healthcare workers are managing a staggering amount of stress in the face of coronavirus. If you’re fortunate enough to be able to donate anything at all, we would all greatly appreciate it. I just donated and will continue to donate to help support the people on the frontlines who are doing so much for all of us.❤🙏

To donate, please visit: https://nychhc.networkforgood.com/

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