As the corona virus pandemic restrictions continue throughout the world, life as we knew it here in America has shifted dramatically. For some, perhaps, the stay-at-home admonishment does little to change the daily routine: Many elderly, remote workers, stay-home moms and dads, and seasonal or contract workers typically spend much of their time at home.
The difference, however, lies in the loss of freedom to choose to emerge; the inability to patronize gyms, libraries, personal care businesses (bodywork, hair salons, etc.), restaurants, and many shops; and the encroaching feeling of vulnerability and nervousness. In retrospect to the time only two weeks ago when we were still able to move about freely—with confidence and contentment—life as we knew it seems a distant memory.
I feel a sharp pang of missing, of remorse, of shame: The twinge belies the ways in which most of us took for granted the infrastructure and external appearance of how we conducted ourselves mere weeks ago. I know that I gave thanks for those things that many do not have: friends, family, work, general health, and a deep spiritual abiding. Yet gratefulness often did not sway me from partaking in activities that perhaps were unproductive or self-defeating. Awareness did not necessarily cause me to change some of those ways.
Now, as the outside world stills considerably, and the fierce ambition to acquire that drives so many has been stunted by a directive of limitation, we all are faced with… ourselves.
Each and every day that drones on during this time, I wake up and am able to sustain my morning ritual. Prayers and mantras while still half asleep; stretches beneath the sheets; puttering my way to turn on the stove, laptop, and lights. While the kettle boils, I wash and then unfurl my yoga blanket.
I hear the whistle of my turquoise teapot and begin a brew. As the tea steeps, I check my email. Then, I shift to my soft support on the floor: roll the joints, tilt the hips, move the spine, and breathe deeply. Ten to 15 minutes of moving into the day, and my tea is ready.
I relish the warm, creamy, sweet drink that I create every morning, As I sip, I peruse the news, be it hard-core or celebrity-tinged.
“Tea-ed” up, my full yoga and meditation practice ensues: I waken fully, and am ready, come what may.
This is the beginning of all of my days.
Now, however, I wonder what my mind and body will do with the rest of the day.
Should I go out on a grocery “expedition?” Will it be a day of phone calls and email contact? And without a pool to swim in, do I walk or dance, stretch or strengthen?
Will my company be a book, a movie, or a trip down musical-memory lane? Will I seek out neighbors for a chat (albeit at a “safe” distance)? Or will I choose solitude and contemplation? And if that is the choice, where will my thoughts lead?
Today, tomorrow, and for probably many more days to come, the pattern will be one of uncertainty, prayer, hope, movement, meditation, despondence, renewed strength, encore despair, and a silent, but fierce will to keep going.
It will be a roller coaster.
But when has it ever been otherwise?
Every day of Life—even before this altered existence—we all have felt the ebbs and flow: some more brutal and life-defining than others. The difference now is that we have been afforded the stark realization that the ups and downs actually mean something. They DEMAND RECOGNITION.
My vow to myself is to change every single thing and every single thought that I have been doing or having, that does me no good. For if I engage in “no good,” that is an energy that percolates within; and that energy in turn is one that I conduct and emanate. Clearly, this world, in this time, can do without an added vibe of “no good.”
May each and every one of us hold ourselves accountable to ourselves, so that we may make this day—this Life—easier, softer, and more hospitable for all.