A Pivotal Space

–Do good.  Be better.  Lead best.

This is a surreal time.  What started as a bad dream has pivoted into an extremely long-lasting nightmare.  Yet, in spite of the pandemic, we as a human race have created a united front where real examples of hope and compassion and promise reign.

We have experienced plenty of new endings (Schitt’s Creek and Ozark in terms of television) and new beginnings (an upsurge in virtual meetings and free webinars).  We are finally truly aware of the integral roles of so many—from health care and grocery store workers to restaurants and cleaning services—who are making a positive contribution to our world with nary the recognition and appreciation they deserve.

I believe that, in time, we will rise like a phoenix from the ashes.  In a nutshell, I know we will emerge stronger and smarter from the catastrophe of this pandemic.

Coming to Our Senses

Trying to comprehend this abnormal time is difficult for people of all ages.  But maybe, just maybe, we can transfer our focus away from the pain and uncertainty of the day to our five basic senses and realize the beneficial effect this crisis is having on our world.  And, possibly, while falling back on our senses, we can find the good in this and count our blessings.  By expanding our awareness just a bit more—beyond our personal stresses—we can realize the positive impact nonprofits and organizations are making in our world…and then do our part to help them along.

Everything Looks Better

Have you ever seen the sky so blue?  It’s a miracle to behold.  What about reading children’s inspirational chalk messages?  They give me goosebumps.  Children have kicked up their imagination tenfold (thanks to the lack of playdates and sleepovers) and are powering through this blip.  It’s basically a retro movement—intense time spent with family and only family—where, like it or not, your kin are now your sole source of non-electric and non-internet entertainment.

The future’s so bright, you gotta wear shades…Through a child’s eyes, the world should be shiny and carefree, yet that isn’t the reality for many.  Organizations like Save the Children ( believe every child deserves a future – a healthy start in life, the opportunity to learn and be protected from harm.  The nonprofit has changed the lives of more than one billion children in the U.S. and around the world.

Everything Sounds Better

Zoom, Google Hangouts, FaceTime, and WhatsApp all make communication much easier.  To hear a loved one’s voice or participate in a stay-at-home virtual meeting is seamless with current technology.  These methods might not take the place of a hug or a handshake, but they definitely make the sweet sounds of the human voice seem like the music of a beloved concert in comparison to no interaction at all.

The sound of silence…If you live by the “glass half full” motto, then hearing sirens can signify rescue and relief.  The National Association of Emergency Medical Technicians ( was formed in 1975 and has more than 72,000 members.  It is the nation’s only organization that represents and serves the professional interests of all EMS practitioners and professionals providing prehospital and out-of-hospital emergent, urgent or preventive medical care.

Everything Smells Better

I haven’t driven my car in weeks, and it’s a good thing because less traffic means less pollution.  That translates to fresher air and more fragrant flowers.  A deep inhale followed by a long exhale is so much better when you eliminate all the typical stressors like a tense workplace or a busy lifestyle.  It’s both physically and mentally invigorating to fill your lungs with crisp, oxygen-enriched air.  It sure does a body good!

Every breath you take…Founded in 1953, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America ( is the leading patient advocacy group dedicated to saving lives and reducing the burden of asthma and allergies.  This nonprofit provides practical information, community services, and support to people through a network of regional chapters, support groups, and other local partners around the U.S.

Everything Tastes Better

Even though my husband is an amazing cook, I absolutely love eating out.  It’s a time-saving and interactive combination of fun, ambiance, convenience, variety…and I most definitely enjoy partaking in the actual food.  I miss the whole experience and look forward to returning to my favorite places so I can personally (and financially) thank everyone for their past and future service.

Cheeseburger in paradise…The James Beard Foundation Food and Beverage Industry Relief Fund ( provides critical financial assistance to small, independent restaurants that, due to the COVID-19 national disaster, have an immediate need for funds to pay set operating expenses, provide for workers, and keep from going out of business.

Everything Feels Better

Unless you personally suffer from a chronic ailment, I think most people take their health and medical access for granted.  Need medication?  Visit your doctor.  Broken bone?  Get an x-ray.  In all capacities, the world of medicine helps us feel better and get better.  Right now the news is filled with endless stories about our healthcare workers who are tirelessly battling not just COVID-19 but so many more diseases.

Everything’s coming up roses…The Daisy Foundation ( partners with more than 1,400 healthcare organizations and was inspired by the incredible nursing care of a parent’s son.  The DAISY Award for Extraordinary Nurses provides ongoing recognition celebrations throughout the year, honoring direct care nurses for their compassion and skill.

Lessons Learned During This New Normal

A Pivotal Space focuses on three premises:  Do good.  Be better.  Lead best.  Right now is your chance to accomplish all three…and then some.  Here are the top five concepts I have embraced during the past six months along with inspirational quotes that make me ponder my choices.

Be hopeful.

But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough can you see the stars.

– Martin Luther King, Jr.

Be gracious.

We must find time to stop and thank the people who make a difference in our lives.

– John F. Kennedy

Be considerate.

Kindness is a language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.

– Mark Twain

Be compassionate.

Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle.

– Plato

Be present.

Living in the moment means letting go of the past and not waiting for the future.  It means living your life consciously, aware that each moment you breathe is a gift.

– Oprah Winfrey

Which of your senses has been heightened during this pandemic?  I’d love to hear!


Rochelle Brandvein
Rochelle Brandvein
Rochelle is the owner of Brandvein-Aaranson Public Relations, a 30-year-old PR agency that shifted to solely handling nonprofits and companies with a philanthropic arm or foundation. She is a contributing writer for the bi-monthly publication Lead Up for Women, where her “A Pivotal Space” column focuses on nonprofits and their amazing work. Rochelle loves her family, her business, and—most definitely—a good piece of chocolate.

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