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  • Writer's picturehawaiichocolate

Creating New Routines

Life has been an unpredictable whirlwind since we closed our chocolate shop in Dec 2020. The choice to not renew our lease and plow forward during Covid was a tough one, but with no regrets. NM shut down food service business for about a year, so it would have been a really rough struggle to stay open.

Last year this time, I made the move to Texas to help out a friends aunt and uncle who had health issues and needed someone to shop, prepare meals and take them to appointments. They are thankfully doing much better now, so I moved on to the tiny community outside Austin called Liberty Hill. I am enjoying having neighbors I know. There is some comfort in that, even if I don’t know them well. It takes time.

I will pick up some chocolate making in the fall after I reestablish some supply chain and after the intense summer heat is gone, and I do an occasional liquor demo but work for the most part is not part of the summer equation.

One of the most challenging aspects of life at the moment is establishing new routines. What does life look like now? What do I want it to look life? It’s a tougher question than you might think. In a perfect world I’d have a group of friends I could call and say let’s go to….for a hike, a museum trip, a plant nursery, a swim, lunch out, a shopping trip or whatever. But I don’t have that. My real friends are scattered between New Mexico , Las Vegas, Hawaii and California.

So, I still do some of those things, alone, especially since now I am leaving Lillie at home for a few hours a day alone, inside with the air conditioning on.

Before the pandemic I went with a friend in New Mexico to a weekend Qigong retreat. She was a practicing acupuncturist and more connected to the alternative healing world than myself. We went to the Chi Center, just outside Santa Fe. I had no idea what QiGong was but went with an open mind. The retreat had an impact on me, but not immediately. What is QiGong? Basically it’s an ancient Eastern meditation and body workout. These are not workouts in the sense of traditional exercise, but integrated mind /body exercise more like yoga. For me the benefit is not being down on a mat. I’ve tried various yoga and did not like it at all.

Chi is the energy or life force in us. When its blocked or restricted we don’t feel our best and may even have disease. When energy can travel through our bodily meridians we are energized and relaxed at the same time. Healing can occur in this state. So its partially exercise and partially meditation. It involves warm ups, stretching and flowing type exercise to both stimulate and relax our lifeforce. Recently I started doing this practice again. I searched for a class in the Austin area but only found one, held evenings in downtown Austin. Not practical. So instead I turned to my computer. The Chi Center offers a monthly subscription and its packed with workouts, philosophy etc., but was more expensive than I have a budget for. I recommend reading their website however as this practice has been used successfully to heal cancer and other disease in the body.

I found a You Tube video by HoldenQiGong and signed up for a two week trial. There are 5 “workout” sequences, including one in a chair. And a basic introduction to the philosophy of QiGong and its benefits. His subscription rate which includes several live sessions per month plus recorded sessions is more reasonable. It is a progressive

practice as you build up your abilities and knowledge, and his sessions progress in an easy to access format. You can start with 20 minutes and build to an hour. In just the 2 weeks of the trial you will feel a difference in your body energy and awareness of it. Besides my dog walks of 1-2 miles a day, I feel better about doing something positive for my body that’s low impact on my joints.


So while I haven’t figured out what post pandemic life in a new State looks like yet, I’m slowly adding some routine to my life and exploring more of what’s around me.


Join the conversation. How has the pandemic shifted your routine? Does anyone else feel a little lost? (FYI the temps here are above normal for this time of year.)






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