I’m thinking of eggplant parmesan for dinner. Crickets, cicadas...sounds of deep summer. A dove song…
I’m writing in reference to an assignments’ reflection questions…how has COVID 19 effected my mental state? What do I do to calm my mind?
I haven’t had anything to say for a long time. Nothing profound…no insight. No fucking clue about how to make sense of these senseless times. World problems, human problems bigger than any of my own tools or wisdom. Things are happening I do not understand. Immersed in my own marriage immersion experiment during a pandemic lockdown exercise. In a new home, a new community, no jobs, far from family. Two people scrambling at surviving this exercise doing as little damage as possible to ourselves or to the other. Two people working hard to learn and grow and love each other because each other is who we have.
It was never ever our intention to move so far without visitors or the ability to travel home to see family. If you’d asked us or told this fate, we would not have done it. Each of us navigating this overwhelming heart ache at times in our own ways while the other watches and learns.
The wind quite literally howls and whistles through the trees here.
How do I make sense in these senseless times? Shadows threatening to extinguish light. You know what I’m doing now…I’m watching the blades of grass blow in the wind…bend in the wind. Looking at them, they don’t seem to concern themselves with protection. They sway and blow and bend as the wind howls simply moving gracefully.
In reference to the reflection question…COVID has felt crippling at the very beginning of my life here. No longer in my old community and not fully in this one, fear has wrapped its gnarled fingers all around me. It is in the pit of my stomach when I think of my Dad and not being able to travel. Visitors no longer making plans, job opportunities no longer there. I turned my world upside down and came to an island in Maine…then the world turned itself upside down. Some days the heartbreak my fear can bring is overwhelming. Most days I put one foot in front of the other and continue the action of living, grateful to be in one of the most beautiful places in the world. I set aside internet, the phone, social media, news and find hope in the present moment. A new day…another first step. Can I have faith in the glaring face of uncertainty?
A sob escapes from deep in my chest. Even as I watch the apple tree blossoms unfold before my eyes. Lilac flowers open to fill the air with their perfume. A tiny baby fawn sleeps in the tall grass. The earth celebrates spring in vibrant green and breathtaking light in spite of our human existence. A business I have devoted my life to is struggling at best…crumbling into something unrecognizable as community. My heart breaks again and again knowing the reason people start these businesses is because they want to create connections. Wear a mask, stay back 6 feet…100,000 people have died yet the idea to some of being thoughtful and careful is too big a price to pay for the safety of others. They trample those lives lost and families grieving in the name of swimming pool parties. Trash cans overflow spilling onto the beaches. Who will clean up their mess? Who will suffer the consequences of selfishness and entitlement? Ugly, angry white men walk into a government building fully armed with automatic weapons…nothing is done. The president calls them good people. Ugly, angry white men murder a black man in front of our eyes. A nation…a world rages and marches in protest. We will no longer suffer the consequences of your selfish entitlement. A government entangled in deceit, lies, self-serving behaviors, selfishness, greed, cruelty and racism. The worst of the worst is normal.
We are all being stripped bare. Our shadows brought out into the light for all to see.
I might be called a high achiever….a doer. I set goals and accomplish them. In this time…the isolation of this place, the isolation that covid brought, has finally…and I do mean finally…because I have been busy and working constantly since I sold my restaurant…has brought me to my knees. These have been the 2 biggest years of my life…the most challenging, the biggest changes, the hardest goodbyes and an even bigger personal commitment. I have been stripped practically bare. I have grieved, been angry, depressed, lonely and still grateful. With enormous gratitude I am here.
The world is at a pivotal time.
My life is at a pivotal time. I don’t know what is going to happen in either instance. Personally, I don’t know what my next step is…and I thought I would be well on the way to that by now. So.
I wait. NOW…I finally just wait. Listen. Pay attention.
I think of my family and my heart aches. It’s been too long…I want to visit home. Yet, I cannot. I have the time and I have the means…but it is not safe.
So Covid…you have finally stripped me bare. I finally sit for hours and write. I finally sit and watch a blade of grass because I have let everything else go. If I don’t, it’s too much. My heart aches, my fear and my never ending to do list. If I’m doing and achieving, I am important. What if I’m not that important? What if its me in the house on the hill…nothing else. No one is looking or waiting or expecting or even thinking about me. It’s just me and I have no idea what the future holds…I have no idea how to prepare or what to do to get ready. That fear is so big there is really nothing for it but the deepest belly breathing. A big breath in and a big breath out.
Right now, in this place and in this time…this is it. Those deep breaths that reach all the way to my core…the place that faith resides. It is there that I hold the hands of trust. Every moment I feel myself getting anxious and afraid….I breathe into that place again. No distractions besides the wind and the rain.
Will you love me if I have nothing to offer but myself? Will I love me if I have nothing to offer but myself? No restaurant. No achievements. No awards. No accolades. No impressive projects or beautiful paintings, profound words, bountiful gardens, delicious meals. What if I let all the things go that make me important and it’s just me…laid bare…in the same sweatshirt I’ve been wearing since November. Gray hair. Learning to love others means learning to love ourselves first and to do that, we must be stripped bare.
Can I do the things…projects, to do list, dinner, staying in touch…because I love to do them rather than because I’m being measured by some invisible judge deeming me worthy or not. What if I sat here every day until an idea I really wanted to do motivated me to move. No obligation…I just waited until my own desire was made clear? Could I be ok at the end of the day if nothing came clearly to me…or would I judge myself lazy? Can I decipher what inspires me from obligation or the desire to make someone else happy as my mind bounces around looking for a familiar place to rest.
How do I make sense in these senseless times just to live each day without constant fear or anger, without blaming or judging? How do I live a good life because this is the life I have been given. Every decision I’ve made has brought me to this point in time. My time.
How do I love?
Take a deep belly breath and watch the wind blow. Take another deep belly breath. Trust.
Faith. When it feels good, move.
Continue to breathe. Learn to love myself unconditionally means
I am learning to love others that way.