Reassessing “I Am” in Times of Coronavirus
Nowhere land is defined by the Merriam-Webster dictionary as: “an unknown, distant, or obscure place. Miles from nowhere.” It brings to memory long trips in nearly every country I have visited in which not a soul can be seen for miles. I used to reflect on our tendency to “cluster” in cities where we must walk almost sideways to have enough space to move and the contrast with this solitary vastness.
I have never found myself with so much time in my hands and so little disposition to make good use of it. Following a routine has become a task requiring an impressive amount of will-power, quirky alarm settings, and tons of to-do lists that end in the trash can.
It is not that I was used to a tight schedule, as much as having a basic structure to my madness. And now that the season has finally lengthened out daytime, I look at the clock bewildered- “it’s eight pm already! Where did my day go?” Lack of sleep is a contributing factor.
My sleeping patterns have been shattered. My biorhythm- if still existent- is something “amorphous” to put it mildly. I have watched more TV these past two months than in my entire life, I don’t even own one, but my tablet proudly displays as many streaming apps as goodies in a pastry store.
Who are you and what have you done with her?
Being “sheltered-in-place” is not an alien concept to me. My work and activities keep me mostly indoors, and if we think about it, most of us actually do — office, school, business, i.e.
What is up then? Someone or something else has decided what “shelter” I am supposed to be in and set an all-around schedule that gives me little choice. “You could go for a walk, or drive, gas is cheap!”- a voice in my head, “yes, go ahead get sick and jeopardize others because you cannot stay put!”- says its counterpart.
Everything is upside down. My tamed “comfort shopping” has become wild. My research abilities have turned into navigating through Amazon and the likes, endlessly. My to-do-list? Categorized wish shopping lists! I do not recognize myself. You need to understand, I used to be the kind of person who had to ask my neighbor to please call me, so I could find my phone! Once in my hands, I had to go through tons of emails, messages, or missed calls because I had forgotten to turn off the “do-not-disturb” the day before. Do not get me started with the exercising goal! I should have at least some evidence of the so longed “sick pack” by now, but the only “packs” here are those with cookies.
Get a Grip
Day after day I fight my way out this nowhere land with little to no results. I cannot say I am feeling scared though as my “symptoms” are not the obvious ones. I tell myself “tomorrow, I’ll get on track tomorrow,” I make new lists and set some goals. And tomorrow comes, I open my eyes and, “11:00 am?” There go my plans for the day. I even stopped looking at myself in the mirror.
By sheer luck -or perhaps an angel screaming at me, I realized that all my intentions to stay on track or bring some structure to my life were hindered by guilt. Every “should” and “should not” in existence were pouring down on and crushing me. Something huge is happening and I have hardly any control over nor the slightest clue where it is taking me or for how long. My adaptation skills need to adapt!
The more guilt I accumulate, the more resistance kicks in, the less I do and my craving for distractions grows.
Coronavirus is a question never posed before. I have neither sufficient data to go testing my assumptions, nor much clarity about what the hypothesis could be.
What can I do?
I can let go of the need to control and worry about a situation that is totally out of my hands and allow myself to walk mindlessly around the house until the energy of whatever emotion is crowding me runs out. No judgment. At least I am moving. Points for exercising!
Life has a way to settle back into a rhythm of its own. Perhaps a slower beat is something to welcome these days. I can give up my impositions and overruled structures and learn to dance to another melody. I might even enjoy it.
I can trust that my soul and heart, once given a break to mourn what is gone, will find a way to be energized and guide my next steps. Beating myself down is not working anyway.
Embracing the “Minimum”
In times of grief, big changes, or so much as aiming for the stars, we can fall prey to our emotions and doubts or become overwhelmed by our environments. Allowing my feelings and needs to just be, surrendering to whatever is and celebrating my 5 mins of (fill the blank), 2O words on a page, or one phone call, it is worthy, and it makes a difference. Taking the steps, I can in the moment, no matter how small they seem shall help me move forward.
Embrace the turtle, the hare had reigned far too long.
The hidden gifts
I was looking at a video of my nephew’s baby taking his first steps and enjoying a toboggan ride with his father. My niece’s baby girl laughs while playing “peekaboo” with her mother and grandmother. And the birds are chirping and green and many colors are blooming everywhere.
I thought, what a beautiful thing is to be able to enjoy every little miracle… time with our kids, an opportunity to see each other in a different light, the coming together in many creative ways to help each other navigate this challenge, the good “laughs” posts, the waves of appreciation going around, and the many “thank you’s” offered.
I reckon these things are invaluable and if I did not have the time to enjoy them or the mindset to be in awe before, I do now, and it is a wonderful gain.
Just sharing with you has made me joyful and energetic. I am taking 15 steps to the kitchen for a celebratory croissant.
What are you “simply human” reactions and what miracles are blessing your life?