I took the Prince of Darkness (my dog) for a walk today. I value a good walk since the entire day minus as few minutes are spent inside. As is the case for you too. We are all in this.
Life has changed for the world in fast forward. As is a collective reality and not just my own…I was thinking back to just over a month ago. I (we) hugged people still. We shook hands. We sweated around others in a gym. We walked down crowded streets and browsed shops. We brought tea to a co-worker with a cough. We grocery shopped for a week’s worth of items. We went for a drink with a friend.
On March 1st I was in Banff. Alberta was not on lock down then.
On March 13th, I booked a pedicure for my birthday. And for the first time; I actually seconded guessed my decision for human contact that wasn’t necessary. I ended up cancelling it and then wondered if I was being overly-cautious. And I felt bad for that amazing spa as it’s their business which I wanted to support.
A week later, I went into my room for 2 weeks in self-isolation away from my kids; and we all made do in the same home as much as possible. What a foreign feeling to fear hugging my kids, to be near them. It took me longer to disinfect the kitchen after cooking; than it did to heat a meal. I mostly ate eggs. And I ate once a day. Fear diet you could call it.
On March 23rd, I went to a converted school gymnasium to get a test for Covid19. We stood more that 6 feet apart. One-by-one we inched closer to the door, not sure what a converted gymnasium would look like. The woman in front of me reached the front of the line and realized she forgot her ID in the car. She screamed through her mask that she refused to go get it unless there was assurance her place in line would be held. I told her I wouldn’t go in until she returned, and the nurse smiled warmly at me. We understood her abrasive demeanour was just fear speaking.
I finally entered the gym, and my eyes adjusted to the light of a scene that looked straight out of a movie. There were distinct sections, one for disinfecting: wash your hands, put on a mask, and then arrows directing to a section of socially distanced chairs. A man in a mask wiped down chairs previously occupied.
The nurses were like disciplined soldiers. Donned from head to toe in protective gear; disinfecting on repeat. Transferring calm to fearful eyes who presented their ID. After paperwork was completed, and each person held their ID up to be checked from across a table, we sat in the next section awaiting our names to be called. You could hear a pin drop. I scanned the room and wondered each of their stories. There was a pregnant girl down the way. I thought of my niece who was also about to have a baby and felt for her…the stress of it all (side note, he’s here…and he’s beautifully perfect and safely at home with Mom and Dad)
The testing stations were partitioned off, but I could see one lady getting tested with a swab swiftly reaching to the back of her nose. I immediately regretted watching it; because to see it was worse than the actual feeling. A lady in front of me took out her phone, as is customary when us humans have to wait any amount of time over 30 seconds. The nurse instructed her to put it away, and she had to get disinfected all over again. While the whole scene was unfathomable to my mind; I was so impressed with the organization of it all.
The waiting for the results was the worst, but thankfully my test came back Negative. I had the regular flu in unfortunate timing.
As soon as I came out of isolation, my kids went to stay with their Dad. And I’ve been fortunate to see them for a couple of suppers. They talk about a buddy family, and for many of us…buddy family’s are modern families. And the waters are muddy there. Two sets of families, with another set of families. All of whom want to protect their space. Which is the right thing, but it doesn’t feel good in the heart.
This is not my normal; to be away from my kids and I’m processing the lonely. But, within my loneliness…which pressed me to for a walk today…I had a revelation.
We must choose Love over Fear my friends.
While none of us have ever experienced this series of events in our lifetimes before; we most likely HAVE been through adversity which comes with lack of control. A moment when life knocks the wind out of you, and you have no idea how long you’ll be in that state. Or if you’ll ever get through it. That unknown/loss of control of environment...that’s where fear breeds more fear.
I remember this fear feeling. It lived within my spirit navigating life through my divorce. It took me a very long time to learn to choose Love over Fear. To realize it’s a choice.
To create equanimity within my day.
I forgot that skill when I was locked in my room. I spiralled hard my friends. Like grossly hard.
So here’s what I learned years ago, and what served me well today during my walk epiphany.
I am not suggesting you live in a rose-coloured-glasses-bubble unaware of what’s happening in the world. What I am challenging you to decide for yourself is: how much is “too much” for your harmony. Your balance.
Yes, we should be informed; but we should also be empowered to step away from the hysteria it induces. We may have little control on the outside world; yet we can do our part by staying inside as much as possible, and changing our perceptions on what that means…a prison to one is a retreat to another.
OK that’s a given… I sound condescending. My apologies…
During my walk, I felt compelled to encourage you all (and I’m encouraging myself, white knuckling it all some days) to please protect your peace.
Go for a socially distanced walk.
Put on your favourite music.
Have a long bath.
Phone a friend. FaceTime a friend. Connect with a friend. Reach out to those you love because we are all lonely. Am I wrong? Do you feel it too? Even if you have your kids/spouse/partner/parents beside you within a safe environment. It’s still lonely! It’s still hard. I know I’m not alone in that feeling.
Find your equanimity. Every. Single. Day. I learned that word when I needed it most. It’s the ability to install calmness and peace within your spirit. To center yourself even within chaos. What does that look like for you? Is it within music, cooking, chatting with friends, meditating, writing, creating, organizing (heyyyy A-Type peeps)? Find it for a few moments. Daily.
Live day to day. That’s it. Just today. If you have have a front line job on Monday, and you have Sunday off….Please live in Sunday. Nap. Relax. Don’t borrow Monday’s stress if you can help it. I have to tell myself that often. I’m a borrower of stress.
There are two underlying emotions that can be traced to all experiences.
Within the fear of this beast, I hope you can choose some Love in your day.
From my heart to yours,