When I write blogs, I love to get into that place where the words just have a life of their own. When I write, thoughts and words just merge into their own lanes so when I go back to read it for typos….I’m even surprised. Like today’s title….to save my life. I thought WHERE DID THAT COME FROM? Oh ya…from my mother in the 1960’s!
I am embarrassed to think about how much time I have spent binge watching TV in the last few years. The old TV show, Closer, which rolled right into Major Crimes when Brenda aka Kyra Sedgwick left the show was the biggie. He and I watched episodes back to back for months. I thought about the show when I wasn’t watching it..I was consumed. Reruns of Boston Legal was before that. Let’s just say I have a binge history and I’m just not comfortable spilling the details of my varied, crazy, ridiculous addictions *cough Dog The Bounty Hunter.
Now, in the midst of sheltering at home due to the pandemic, I can find NOTHING that grabs my interest on TV. In the back of my mind I want something to sink my teeth into…instead I’ve been spending time online reading articles, I’m reading books, I’m zooming with Unity groups, I’m keeping up with Family with a daily continuous message thread and FaceTime. I’m walking everyday and I’m sleeping like a baby!
I’ve given some lip service about how I think this pandemic could change me, society, the world. Cleaning us up ecologically, forcing us to embrace the “quieting”. We can read, do projects, express ourselves in our hobbies, get out into nature and actually see, feel and hear it. Listen to ourselves in the solitude without the life distractions. When negative thoughts enter, I’m working to stop them when they darken doorway. I am what I think. Negative thoughts will run right into each other in the hallway of fear and panic. Catch them…stop them…I started saying STOP outloud, then I can focus on what is happening right here right now. Ive found it is just as possible to develop positive habits of thinking as it was negative habits of thinking!
I woke up around 5 this morning, chatted with a bestie on line, tried to read a book which I’m not finding fascinating but I feel it does enhance my language skills since I’m not talking very much. There are a few big words in it which I hope I would pronounce correctly due to the fact reading written words is much different than wrapping your tongue around them. I knew the book could not satisfy me like a good sunrise on a clear day….and then I thought…I can be at the grocery store when it opens at 7 and avoid all of the angst of people.
It was freeking depressing. There were a few cars in the lot and every person in there other than cashiers were my age and older….and everyone looking like they did exactly what I did. Grabbed clothes hanging on the end of the bed and off to the store. Depressing…because I could feel it and see it in their faces. It was a totally different experience than a trip to the store during the heart of the day or after 5 pm.
There were no smiles, no nodding of the head. They slowed down on approach and actually stopped. I considered turning my cart around and going the other way so they would be more comfortable…but I realized this would not work looking at the big picture.
I tried to avoid everyone the best I could. I kept a smile on my face, love in my eyes and blessed everyone in the confines of my life in that moment. With the frequently blasted death sentence of the corona virus, older folks are genuinely scared and we need to respect that and love them with everything we have.
……and by mental, I mean what is the story we are telling ourselves. As I wander around the house seeing things that need to be done, I tell myself I don’t really want to do them. These are the exact same things I had all kinds of excuses for back in January and February…you know….the good old days.
Now because the “powers that be” have instituted new rules to keep me safe, I feel like I’m being disciplined. This is in no way a Pollyanna commentary that everything is just fine…there is a lot of suffering. But I am trying to just watch the back-of-my-mind running narration telling me that if this was my choice….a stay at home vacation….needed down time from the busyness, I would not be complaining at all. I would be breathing in the solitude…I would be enjoying the guiltless time to read a book, catch up on TV series I had recorded, settling in for an afternoon movie. It’s not like we are without any options for our leisure time.
Is it safe to say that the angst, anger, boredom in our required downtime is more the story we are telling ourselves than reality…saying “I can’t” rather than “I won’t”. Because of the fear of “catching” the virus and the uncertainty of available health care or for me….mortality, I choose to not have any physical association with others. But if that were not a fear… I have the choice …. like so many others are doing …. ignore the rules in order to satisfy immediate gratification. Theoretically this makes it my choice!
This may be activity day for the egoic voices in my head. This thought pattern was only the first 15 minutes of coffee in my hand, on the couch, waking up….buckle up!
It feels so weird to not need to check my phone calendar to see what time I should set an alarm for the next morning…. To not have anything on my calendar in general. Our Monday evening book club met on line last night and we began as we always do with a check in. So far everyone seems to be finding their water line…floating in the nothingness and seeking a new normal. I felt so much comfort realizing that everyone was feeling the screeching halt from a lifetime of getting ‘Er done. I FELT our friend, Carol’s, rapid acceptance…they are bringing wood in for a fire, she is doing her spiritual work and she finally has the time to read the books that have been stacking up.
I am actually feeling some comfort today. There’s nothing I have to do…there is only what I want to do…that thought is so foreign in my mind. I committed this morning to use the skills I’ve been practicing to think about life differently. Each moment is a gift that we live in that moment. We have no control…or our normal perceived control over anything. All I have to do is Be. Be in this moment with a gratitude in my heart.