Life feels a bit overwhelming and uncertain right now. It can be difficult to find and experience beauty and goodness when life requires us to stay home, but we can still experience the beauty of the world around us. There is open wall space in my living room, and currently I am turning it into a wall of encouragement, filled with words or phrases that breathe peace into my spirit.
Experience beauty through virtual travel
At the end of March I was scheduled to go on an adventure to the Grand Canyon with my boyfriend, but the rapid spread of the coronavirus quickly changed our plans. Many Americans are dealing with the sadness and disappointment of travel and the experiences travel brings with it being canceled. While it’s important to grieve and name our losses, there are many amazing ways we can still see and experience beauty without leaving our homes during this time of quarantine.
For the anglophile or anyone with an interest in the British royal family (or even just the casual fan of the Netflix series The Crown), there are lots of ways to feel you are spending the day in London. Visit the White Drawing Room or the Throne Room at Buckingham Palace. If the English countryside is more your cup of tea, there is also the option to visit Windsor Castle, the weekend home of Queen Elizabeth II and a private home for the British Royal family for more than 900 years. Or explore a British collection of art: located in central London, the British Museum has an expansive collection of art and artifacts spanning over two million years of human history.
Or would you prefer to spend the day in France? Learn about the Palace of Versailles by taking a virtual tour of this incredible work of beauty. You can learn about famous pieces of artwork stored there and “walk” through the famous Hall of Mirrors.
If you’re drawn to the simple beauty of French artists, think about taking a stroll through Claude Monet’s house and gardens located in Giverny. It is stunning. End your time in Paris with a virtual walking tour during which you’ll see the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and more.
One of my favorite things to do is to take a walking tour of various cities around the globe. And an afternoon walk through Rome always seems like a wonderful idea. Of course, no trip to Rome would be complete without a visit to the Vatican Museums, along with the Sistine Chapel. Google Arts & Culture offers a vibrant tour experience of Italy including videos, exhibits, and more.
Don’t feel like crossing the pond for an adventure? Consider a virtual walking tour of New York City or visit the natural beauty of the Grand Canyon. Do you love animals or have little ones who miss being able to go to the zoo? Many zoos around the globe have live feeds of all different types of animals. Watch a mother Polar bear play with her two cubs in Rhenen, Netherlands, or spend an afternoon with a family of elephants from the San Diego Zoo.
Focus on the good news
When life feels chaotic, it becomes all the more important to look for and find the good news in the world around us.
Actor John Krasinksi (aka, the beloved Jim Halpert of The Office) has recently created and launched a YouTube channel called Some Good News. With his Jim-type humor and wit, Krasinki shares stories and interviews that are good news the world needs more of right now. His first episode kicked things off with Steve Carell. You will both laugh and cry happy tears.
As the pandemic hit the United States, many musicians and bands began to offer free virtual concerts and shows. TV show personalities like Jimmy Kimmel and Jimmy Fallon moved their nightly late-night shows to their homes and gave people something to smile and laugh about in a new way.
If your Instagram feed needs a bit more joy and positivity, I am enjoying the Good News Movement. This feed will restore your faith in the kindness and goodness in humanity. The videos and posts remind me that there is always something good and beautiful to celebrate, even if life feels scary and uncertain sometimes.
There is also the Good News Network, a website dedicated to sharing talks, stories, and videos that fill your heart with equal parts hope and joy. Did you hear about the teens that created a hotline for isolated seniors to listen to pre-recorded jokes and messages of hope? Have you listened to Andrea Bocelli’s stunning Easter concert at the Duomo de Milano?
If you need a good laugh, watch Tom Hanks opening monologue on SNL where he addresses his COVID-19 diagnosis and recovery.
Tap into what’s important
Listen to voices that are refreshing to your spirit and mind. Well-known researcher and TED speaker extraordinaire Dr. Brené Brown has a brand-new podcast that launched in March called Unlocking Us.
In this interview-style show, Brown weaves in her unique insights and personal stories that make you feel like you’re having an authentic conversation with a friend over coffee. What I love about Brown’s work is that she encourages listeners and readers to feel and name their feelings while also taking responsibility for themselves. Her episodes on anxiety and comparative suffering were especially thought-provoking and insightful.
One of my favorite writers and authors right now is Emily P. Freeman. A writer and communicator, her words always feel like a peaceful deep breath for my spirit. I came upon her latest book, The Next Right Thing: A Simple, Soulful Practice for Making Life Decisions when I was navigating some messy decisions in my own life. That book was then developed into a podcast, The Next Right Thing. Each episode is no more than fifteen minutes, short and to the point, but equally thought provoking. The most recent episode, “Practice Your Life,” is a powerful reminder for all of us right now even in suffering or pain, there is a mysterious, transformative potential for us.
With all this extra time at home, you probably find yourself around your partner or spouse a lot more these days. Some days may feel easy and light, while others make you feel like you’re biting your tongue so as not to snap. Leading relationship and marriage therapist, Dr. John Gottman has a podcast with short, easy, and practical things couples can do in daily life to make a good relationship great. Little things can make a big difference in relationships, and several minutes a day with Dr. Gottman is a helpful reminder of that.
If you are looking for something more detailed and in-depth, Dr. Gottman and his wife, Dr. Julie Gottman, are offering an online eight-hour video course (complete with resources!) to learn and grow together as a couple.
Even when life feels chaotic and messy, it can still be good and beautiful. Much of that depends on our attitude and disposition of heart. Be on the lookout for the beauty and goodness in your life—you can find it, even here and now.