Last month, when I wrote my blog about the value of laying fallow, I must have had a foreboding. Life has been turned upside down. The coronavirus — and for me a back injury— has made us hermits. Normally I am an active person, but this back injury has laid me low, very low. I’m sitting on the hard floor, legs stretched out and back slightly forward; it’s the only way I can be comfortable while typing. Thank god for my adjustable laptop computer stand. Walking sends searing nerve pain down my leg, and the doctor’s advice is to avoid bike riding to let my sacrum stabilize for a few days.
The pain in my leg has brought up tears and I’ve relegated them to the pain the world is experiencing right now. it feels good to cry for the helpless masses that are at the mercy of their elected leaders. Your political stance and source of information can come to bite you bad at this time. Thank you to the governors who are daring to take the crisis into their own hands and aren’t waiting for direction from the White House. Thank you, Kate Brown of Oregon for putting us on lock-down.
This morning I didn’t remember what day of the week it was. Not because I’m in cognitive decline, but because the days have been rolling by with no significant difference caused by events, meetings and activities. Each day is a blank slate, and, as long as there’s food in the fridge, there’s nothing I have to do, or show up for. I don’t have to dress for anyone but myself, so sweats and a top to match the weather it is. No decision but to pull it on in the morning after checking if it’s time for a clean pair. Life is so simple, and it reminds me of being on a long-distance hike, when I’ve made clothing decisions before I leave and I wear the same thing, day in, day out. Such freedom. This is my current state of affairs of sheltering at home. A toddler’s life without the flexibility of a toddler’s body. It’s funny, because I injured myself while doing the yoga pose my little grandson was showing me. I’m 73, not 4 yo. But hey! I’ve come this far, this long, without ever injuring myself like this. Aging is humbling. My mind is still not ready for it.
As with any retreat, forced or not, you can fight it, flight it or use it to your advantage. Fighting the Corona lock-down, ignoring it, will put others and yourself at more risk. Not a good idea, but many take the #mefirst attitude as the Florida and Italian beach scenes demonstrated. ‘Flighting’ from the Corona lock-down means drowning yourself in home distractions. We have internet, streaming and an endless supply of movies, shows and music videos. Often these activities are paired with snacking and comfort foods and we can anticipate the ballooning of people who practice ‘flighting’. As Rilke warned: “how we squander our hours of pain.”
I’ve never been one to fight or flight with a vengeance, so I’m using this lockdown time to my advantage. My self-imposed schedule and my entertainment needs are light, and I have time to explore new avenues. I read more books from my to-read stack. I use the internet (what a blessing!) for exploration as I scroll through blogs and articles on topics that interest me and find new ways to do things — even how to deal with my back issue. I just figured out how to set up a better backdrop for an online presentation I’m doing! I haven’t tried touring museums online, but it’s there if I want it. The outdoors is my backyard; I’m not working in it but I enjoy the spring flowers and am thankful for all that this garden gives me. As this blog shows, I'm getting some writing work done as well.
When we come to rest, and slow down, we can find a fresh attitude, new activities, creative endeavors, and Zoom-in for virtual visits with loved ones. Life can still be transformative, even if you can’t travel.
If you read this and work as medical personnel, first responder, or as someone who risks his or her life to keep the basics in our society running, THANK YOU!
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