Vulnerable Times

Hi Friends,

It’s been quite a week, hasn’t it? Did you score any toilet paper in the massive shopping spree? It’s sad that our national priority is to stockpile toilet paper, but it’s also kind of funny. Toilet paper wouldn’t be the first thing I would think of.

Now the stores are emptied of all canned and most frozen foods, paper goods, meat, bread and all other nonperishables. Fortunately for me, the produce section is still well stocked, and that’s mostly what I eat. Even so, I felt compelled to buy an extra 5-lb. bag of potatoes.

We’re all feeling vulnerable right now, either because of the virus or because of uncertainty about the food supply. Most events have been cancelled, and many people are afraid to leave their homes. We’ve lost the usual patterns and structure of our lives. We’re left alone with the chaotic thoughts of our minds. As fear sets in and panic ensues, we do whatever we can to make ourselves feel safe, including hoarding what we think we might need.

Shopping is fine if it makes you feel better, but there are other things you can do to calm yourself. Here’s what I did this week to stay grounded.

Hearing about the virus beyond the basic information that I need to know just makes me feel anxious. So I turned off the news and avoided social media. I limited my time with people who are caught up in fear. I listened to an excellent talk by Lee Harris about the challenges of our time and how to deal with them energetically. I spent time with my cat Luci and walked through my yard. And I did my best to feel joy by heading out to the studio to create art.

I felt like working with collage, and my first thought was “animals.” Who doesn’t love cute, cuddly animals? The perfect antidote to anxiety and fear. So here’s your animal cuteness for the day. These were created using images from discarded magazines.

Cassandra Tondro collage

“To Have and to Hold,” 12 x 12 inches, mixed media on wood panel

Cassandra Tondro collage

“Hello!,” 12 x 12 inches, mixed media on wood panel

I hope you’re all doing well and finding ways to cope with this disruption. Remember, this, too, shall pass. It may look chaotic and frightening now, but there are also positive things that are likely to come out of it. In the meantime, take especially good care of yourself, and find time to feel happy and grateful each day.

What helps you to feel safe during difficult times? I’d enjoy hearing your thoughts. You can share them with us in the comments section below.

P.S. – If you’d like to hear an extraordinarily different view of the coronavirus, watch this discussion with Thomas Cowan, M.D. and Sayer Ji. It’s very enlightening!

With love and appreciation,



  1. Enjoyed reading your post this morning. The collage work made me smile. These are scary times for sure but like you I am limiting my time watching the news. I am catching up on projects, making art, and feeling grateful for where I am. Stay safe and keep on making art.

    1. Thanks, Jean. Glad you’re finding time for your art and making the best of this. Strange times, for sure, but I’m already seeing some good things coming from it. People are more friendly now and willing to help.

  2. I was born in Italy and in Milan the most industrial city in that country. Toward the end of the WWII the British air force came every single night and dropped bombs on industrial targets. Most evening my neighborhood and my family would leave homes to go to the area where no houses existed.
    Or down in the storage shelter, in case a bomb would hit the building. One time the bomb came so close that the entire building shook. I was 7 then. A mother began to scream, really hysterical and my mother got up from her seat and slapped her. Saying ” shut up don’t you see how you scare all the children?” For me those were scary times. But interesting enough had I not gone through them and especially see my mother acting in such an appropriate way with that screaming woman (who also had two children there) I would have never grown up as I did.
    If a human being is unable to take charge of fear, think logically and act accordingly to a scary situation then s/he gives up the opportunity to gain strength to become strong enough to withstand the next crises with calmness .
    If I could I would tell all parents out there to remain calm, don’t panic for the sake of your children. Because they will mimic your actions.

    1. This is a great story, Elfie. Thank you for sharing it. You’re right — panic doesn’t do anyone any good. It’s a challenge to control fear, but as you said, something we can learn and get better at.

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