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Powered by Hope

[1]“Are we going to die, Mama?” I overheard this conversation as I walked behind a young woman and her preteen daughter. The local government here had just announced the lockdown due to COVID-19 and the news was spreading. I had heard the mom tell the daughter that they would have to stay inside for now, as there was an invisible illness in the air that could hurt people. The mom stopped and hugged her daughter. And the child added, “I love you, Mama. I am scared.”

At some point, I think we are all that child. Scared, worried, uncertain about what is coming. I certainly wasn’t prepared for the torrent of my own roller coaster of emotions, much less the messages I was getting from my friends, family, and readers. I was still nursing my wounds of my twenty-four-year-long marriage ending, a heartbreak that I had not been prepared for, and the resurgence of my chronic pain issues, financial problems, and, well, you name it. [2]

And then the pandemic hit. It is like life was imitating a country music song: first the dog died, then the house burned down, then it felt like the world, as we knew it, ended.

I found myself on the other end of long phone calls, walking friends through some gentle guidance and meditation to accept what was happening so that we could calm our chaos and deal with the situation.

Every day, questions like these were arriving in my mailbox:

  1. I am so scared. I fear I cannot create any art.
  2. I feel so helpless and angry with myself. I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself and there are so many who have it worse than I do.
  3. I hate this feeling. I feel like I will suffocate.
  4. It is over, isn’t it?
  5. I am terrified for my family/my parents/my kids/myself.
  6. Does my work matter?

I knew I had to do something. So I created these short sound bites, Powered by Hope, to help my friends and readers deal with this surreal time in our lives. Their goal is to offer gentle stories, hope, and self-care for all of us. I offer listeners a different perspective, as our world faces a “new normal” and we learn what is means to be physically distant, yet connected as humans at our very core. At the end of each audio bite, I offer listeners the chance to put my reflections into practice, and lead them on a uniquely crafted and specialized guided exercise to calm and center the mind. The guided exercises allow people a moment of reflection, the opportunity to pause and think about their lives.

I hope you all will listen, reflect, and be inspired to find your bliss during these trying times: https://monicabhide.com/powered-by-hope/ [3]

(There is no registration or sign-up. Everything is free for you to listen to. I sincerely hope that this will be helpful.)

How about you? Have you found ways to cope with the uncertainty? Do you find that helping others to cope helps you?

About Monica Bhide [4]

Monica Bhide [5] is an award winning writer, literary coach, poet, storyteller, and educator. As a bestselling fiction and internationally renowned cookbook author, Bhide is known for sharing food, culture, mystery, and love in her writing. Having roots and experience in many places, Bhide inspires readers everywhere with present day stories which transcend cultural, chronological, geographical, economical, and religious borders. Bhide’s short story collection, The Devil in Us, topped the list on Kindle as a bestseller in its category of Literary Short Fiction. Her memoir, A Life of Spice, was picked by Eat Your Books as one of the top five food memoirs of 2015. Top Chef’s Padma Lakshmi picked Bhide’s Modern Spice (Simon & Schuster, 2009), as one of the “Best Books Ever” for Newsweek in 2009. A respected writing authority, Bhide appears regularly on NPR and conducts sold-out workshops on writing, food, culture, and scheduled speaking events at prestigious venues as the Smithsonian Institution, Sackler Gallery, Les Dames d’Escoffier, Georgetown University, and Yale University. She has taught all over the world including conferences in London, Dubai, US etc. She has also been the “Writing Coach in Residence” for the annual conference of the Association of Food Journalists.