It is Day 26 of my lock down. And it is looking like this will continue at least through the month of April and probably into May. And then, from what I hear, it is going to come around again in September.
The situation has been tolerable, but now I am hearing that we should not leave the house at all, not even to walk around for exercise for at least two weeks. Now I know that is for my well-being and the safety of all around me. And it is no big deal to be asked to lay on my couch all day. So I will do it.
It will end. It will. I have no doubt. But how will I change and how will we all change when it is done? Will we go back to the old normal of being selfish, shallow, materialistic, over-privileged jerks? Or will be move giving, more reflective, more spiritual, more magnanimous individuals?
Maybe I will slip back to the old ways, though I hope not. But I do know that I am grateful for a job, a roof over my head, food in my pantry, and so far — by the grace of God — good health. If there is no other benefit than learning to be grateful, then I will have done well.
Like hundreds of millions of people all over the world, I am trying to practice some social distancing during the pandemic. In order to “isolate” for several weeks, I ventured out to do some shopping for essentials to have on hand. At 6 o-my-sweet-Moses-in-the-morning in the darkness and in a pouring rainstorm, I went to one of the local warehouse stores hoping to avoid a crowd and possible exposure to the virus. That idea didn’t work too well. When I arrived there were already about 50 or 60 people waiting to get into the store along with me. I knew the crowds would only get worse so I took the plunge and got in line.
Seriously, I wasn’t there to hoard. I simply wanted to get some pantry staples. For example, I thought I would get a few rolls of paper towels. However, all the store had were huge packs of 24 rolls. I don’t need that many rolls of paper towels and to have purchased them would have been hoarding. So I left them for somebody else. I’ll use old fashioned fabric towels and wash them. It’s better for the environment anyway.
A lot of shelves were empty, but in spite of what I have seen on the news — people fighting over toilet paper and other insane behaviors– everyone I engaged was polite and in some cases even jovial in the attempt to take the edge off the tension. I quickly worked through my list: a few canned items, hand sanitizer, cartons of shelf-safe nut milk, oatmeal, and chocolate. (I can’t face a global crisis without chocolate). Then I checked out and high-tailed it home.
I had originally planned to fill my day with garden work, but since the rain has made that impossible, I had to find something else to occupy the day. I’ve made an inventory of my pantry (I’m good on food and toiletries for several weeks), I fooled around on social media, and now I am writing. This evening I plan to read. I cannot– CANNOT– watch one more minute of the news. It is not that the news about the pandemic frightens me. More to the point, it unsettles me. I am anxious. Not so much about my getting sick, but about things like what this is doing to the stock market, and the global economy, how does this affect my doing my job next week, and how do I keep myself sane when I am spending so much time alone. By the way, Alexa is not very good at holding sustained conversations.
Yesterday, a friend of mine had a digital copy sent to me of a well-known book on Zen meditation. So tomorrow, Sunday, since my diocese has cancelled worship services, I may sit and try to meditate instead. I have the next few weeks to worry about the state of things. Tomorrow, though, I will take a few minutes and try to find some calm in this storm.
Stay well everyone.
ljg (c) 2020
It is St. Briget’s Day and though it is not astronomically the first day of Spring, it seems like many folks are putting behind them the dark, cold days of winter and turning towards lighter and warmer days. Pagans celebrate this day with a feast called Imbolc, honoring the goddess Briget while some Christians have folded this celebration into their belief system by commemorating an Irish nun, also named Briget, as a saint. On Sunday, the church also will commemorate Jesus’ presentation at the temple. Historically, many of the devoted have brought their candles to church on this day for a blessing (Candlemas), a symbolic linking to the belief that Jesus is the Light of the World.
Let’s not forget that tomorrow many in North America will observe Groundhog Day, a weather-forecasting tradition brought to the new world by German immigrants. If a groundhog sees his shadow on this day, then there will be six-more weeks of inclement weather.
It seems that these celebrations, commemorations, and observations focus on themes of light and the turning of time, and this integration of themes has resulted in February 1, 2 and 3 becoming the unofficial start of Spring. It seems like we can’t help ourselves but to look forward to longer and warmer days.
I myself can see the sun rising higher in the sky each day and its rays beginning to creep across my yard. That being the case, I had better get to work in the garden and start planting some lettuce and beets.
ljgloyd c 2020
I have always been a bit of a lazy, undisciplined wretch when it comes to a morning spiritual/wellness practice. Oh, I do just fine with the functions of the day job. In fact, I get criticized for being a bit too rigid in my routines and processes. But when it comes to doing those things that strengthen and motivate my interior life, well, not so much. I’ve tried but usually backslide in a few days after “re-committing myself to my practice.”
But then I decided to collaborate with some technology I have on hand and it has made all the difference.
To make a long story short, I created a “routine” on one of those digital personal assistants. (I don’t want to name names because she wakes up every time I say her name and won’t shut up.) Anyway. I programmed “she-who-must-not-be-named” to run a routine that I activate when I wake that gives me the date, time, weather, news brief, and then an in-bed yoga routine where the last asana gets me out of bed and on my feet. From there I can manage a few sun salutations. When I end with the savasana, I tell HER to play some appropriate music and set a timer for 10 minutes. I know then that I can meditate and pray without falling back to sleep on the floor.
After this, I set another timer for doing devotional reading and journaling. When that timer goes off, I proceed with getting ready for the day job, preparing breakfast, and packing lunch. Finally, I set one more timer to tell me when to leave for work. This usually is enough time for me to eat, watch the news, and maybe even work in my sketch book.
So far, so good. But it’s only been one day. So we’ll see.
The ancient sages and devotees managed their spiritual practices by watching the movement of the sun and being accountable to each other in the communities where they lived. I guess I am a little like that too — except my abbess is some AI chick in a little round container.
There is an expression that suggests when a person is being “lead down the garden path” that she is being deceived. I do not know who first postulated this idea, but I do know there was once a wizard who said, “all who wander are not lost”. I would rather wander down the garden path with Gandalf anytime.
Winter rains, cool nights
Green grass, red bark, orange boughs—
A compost pile looms
I sometimes feel overwhelmed at the enormity of what we must do to save this planet. As fires rage and oceans rise, as lands become barren and the path we walk along the edge of extinction crumbles away before us, I still feel hope. I am one simple woman. What can I do? I will take my one small corner of green that I am blessed to steward and plant flowers. Sounds silly and naive? Tell that to mourning doves who graze in my garden and the hummingbirds who hover about, and the bees who come looking for my lavender and rosemary. And when I plant milkweed and borage this spring, I hope the butterflies will come. That is what I am doing. Even if all I had was an apartment balcony, I would put out a pot of flowers to feed a passing pollinator. Before I start though, I need to show a little humility and perhaps, to use an old fashioned term, a little repentance for my part in damaging the planet. Then I will put on my gardening gloves and get to work– sowing one tiny seed at a time.
I usually don’t do much on New Year’s Day. It’s the day when I put away my Christmas decorations and think about how I must go back to the day-job in a few days. This New Years, though, is a little different. The “Teens” were a little rough for me, and I am easing — maybe even limping— into the “Twenties” with the hope that this will be the decade when things will change for the better and where I really might finally come into my own.
Today I am sitting in my garden eating lunch, enjoying the sun as it chases away the frigid cold that has burrowed deep into my bones these last few weeks, I am praying, meditating, affirming —whatever you want to call it— that I will enjoy an abundance, —physically, spiritually, creatively, and relationally,— in this new decade.
Let the Roaring Twenties commence.
I had a temper tantrum this morning. The usual place I buy my morning cup of coffee was closed.
Of all the nerve.
I had to drive a mile out of my way to get a cup. All the while I was mentally cursing the thoughtlessness of the closed coffee house’s management.
When the caffeine finally kicked in and the fog began to lift, I realized that I was behaving like the first-world, privileged princess that I am.
My priorities began to reorganized and I had a moment of thankful clarity.
Life just blindsided me. The details are not important, but I want to share what I know about my thinking process that is helping me cope with the confusion and insanity that are impinging on my life.
First, I have learned that:
The remedy for me is if I can change my thoughts, then everything else beyond it will change for the better.
So when encountering a situation, here’s what I do:
I choose positive thoughts by practicing positive affirmations. There are lists all over the internet and I google them whenever I cannot come up with any on my own.
Second, for me, negative thoughts are often based on my anger at other people. Anger is my false attempt to control other people. Since I cannot control other people, then the only solution is for me to forgive them. Forgiving is not letting them off the hook; it is me letting go of the anger within myself. I feel empowered when I forgive since that puts me back in control, not them.
One more thing, regarding breathing, I just read Yogi Seane Corn’s new book, Revolution of the Soul. In it she writes there: “Breathe and everything changes.” I have found this to be true.
ljg (c) 2019