This week marks two months of being on lockdown in New Jersey during the COVID-19 pandemic. I think it is fitting to feature Elizabeth as this week's Thriver in Action because she re-connected with me at the end of February (we had met in August 2019 while my PR agency was promoting Women Warriors: The Voices of Change concert at Lincoln Center) and we were supposed to meet up in person in March. Sadly we couldn't due that because of the lockdown, so we had a Zoom date and it was so great to connect and discuss our passion in common: writing. Learn more about Elizabeth's short animation, what she learned about happiness from a Yale class and how COVID has impacted her daily life.
Name: Elizabeth Rose
Title/Profession: Elizabeth Rose Music/Story/Comedy
City/State reside: New York, NY
Tell me about your business/profession and why you started it/what your mission is.
I started Elizabeth Rose Music in my mid-20’s when I discovered the healing power of songwriting during a rough period. My mission is to create seriously funny stories that celebrate the human spirit.
Tell me about your personal experience with mental health. Can be lately during the COVID-19 pandemic or overall throughout your life.
The COVID pandemic, tragic as it is, has afforded me the opportunity to increase self-care. Before its existence, I had developed daily habits (meditation, yoga, exercise). At the beginning of the pandemic, Coursera offered Yale’s “Science of Well Being” online “happiness” course for free. I signed up. At the outset of the course, I wrote down the things that I thought would make me happier. My list was mostly about my projects succeeding. When the second lecture was completed, I wrote a new list – which had nothing to do with the first list: friendships, community, long walks, playing music, writing. Organizing my kitchen cabinet last week gave me an endorphin high.
Any projects or initiatives you are launching or currently working on?
I wrote a memoir, Yo Miz! (1 Teacher + 25 Schools – 1 Wacky Year), a romp through my year of substitute teaching in 25 Manhattan public high schools. It won 3 awards and was featured on PBS. It’s funny, sad and gives voice to the many students I met and fell for. I’m creating a short animation piece from one of the stories. Our most underserved students need to be seen and heard. Perhaps education policy-makers, most of whom have never crossed the threshold of an urban classroom, may be inspired to provide equality in public education.
What have you learned about yourself/community/life in general since the lockdown and COVID pandemic?
The minute we had to close down the weekly open mic that I host in upstate NY at Rafter’s Tavern, we took it to Zoom. We have kept our music community together every Sunday at 3 pm and it’s so much fun. Also, I’m on the Board of Directors of the Society of Composers and Lyricists. We had our first full membership community chat recently (also on Zoom) and found ourselves sharing resources and creating new collaborations across the country. Here’s what I know for sure: I thrive on partnerships, collaborations and close friendships. Yes, we have a new normal, but I’m experiencing an abundance of new folks in my life, more private students and proof that we humans always find ways to fulfill our deep desire to connect with and inspire each other.
Any other life lessons advice you would like to share to my readers?
Yes. Stay away from the 24-hour news cycle (5 -10 minutes = enough!). Don’t engage with knuckleheads. The science of neuroplasticity has proven we can change our brains. Breathe. Get into now. Old thoughts will rise up. Replace them with thinking about anything you appreciate and tell someone you trust about it. It could be how much you appreciate your new pillow. Doesn’t matter. It’s all energy. Appreciation destroys resistance. Practice appreciation…daily…moment by moment. Take exquisite care of yourself.
More on Elizabeth Rose:
Raised in a family of NY session musicians, performers, composer/arrangers, Elizabeth Rose's songs have been featured in TV, film and on stage. Rose’s memoir YO MIZ! won three indie awards. Her CD, SLEEP NAKED, continues to stream internationally garnering pretty words, viz: A wicked-smart contemporary singer/songwriter, Elizabeth Rose's bluesy, soulful approach has a touch of Bonnie Raitt, but with the insouciant funk of Rickie Lee Jones and the lyrical sophistication of Cole Porter. She has several projects in development including a new musical, an animated short and a documentary. Stay connected on Facebook, Instagram, Linked In and Twitter. Visit elizabethrosemusic.com and yomizthebook.com to learn more.