COVIDiaries 4 - Stay Positive!


This is the time for self-discovery. We all have this amazing opportunity to take a step back, evaluate our lives and truly see what's important. What have you always wanted to do but never had the time for? Running a marathon, creating cutting-edge sculpture, writing a collection of short stories, baking artisan bread? Now's the time to make those dreams come true! Fulfill your inner longings.

This society is way too focused on consumerism - now we can all change those toxic thought patterns and start living a more meaningful life. Go outside, go to the forest, breathe in the fresh air. Look at the spring happening around you and feel the mother nature wrap you in it's primeval embrace. Or walk to the sea shore and feel the sand under your feet. Listen to the singing of the waves. Who really needs those shops anyway? You can live without new shoes. Aren't you much happier here, in nature's own museum, than in Louvre? And the movies are streamed in Netflix - much cheaper than in the cinema. Enjoy this opportunity to rebuild your relationship with nature, and start your consumerism detox right here, right now.

Connect with your home. Your home is your haven. Make sure it's zen, so your energies can flow free and undisturbed by the underlying fear of, but never mind that now, take your yoga mat out and start breathing conscious, full deep breaths as you move through a vinyasa or two. Then eat a well-balanced meal you cooked with mindful love, because you have all this time for yourself now.

All of this tries so very desperately to hide the fact that we're all really scared. At least I am, and if you're not you're probably fooling yourself. We're trapped in this time of not-knowing - When will the vaccine be discovered, how many people will die before that, will I lose someone I love, when will we work again as normal, will there be work to return to, what will the economy look like in a year's time, what is going to happen? What about my work, my family, my friends, my hobbies, my life? And when can we go to the libraries again???????????? It's also a problem of choices. How to live through the days so that I don't unnecessarily put anyone in danger, but on the other hand, won't go mad myself? Can I go to the store? Can I meet this person? Is it okay, is it responsible? Should I delay cutting my hair, having a massage? Can I go to other people's houses? Visit my parents? Should I wear a mask? What's the right thing to do?

There are days when I have the energy to make bread, not artisanal, but very normal bread, and I have the energy to tidy something that has needed tidying for quite some time. There are days when I sit on the sofa and stare at nothing and think that it is not possible to live like this. There are days when me and the person I live with spend meaningful time together now that there's plenty of it available, and then there are days when we think this virus will bring our cohabitation to an end. Some days the online teaching gives sudden nuggets of joy and elation, and then there are many days when after teaching it feels like it's drained all my will to live, I feel so exhausted after. Sometimes it feels like I can breathe, and sometimes it feels like I can't.

These are weird, stressful, unknown times. I'm not saying you shouldn't think positive - on the contrary, I definitely think you should, if you possibly can. But if your vinyasa flow isn't quite working and you still haven't made any bread, if you go cry in the shower so as not to worry people living with you and you play computer games for hours on end to obliterate thoughts for a while, well, that's okay too. Someone somewhere said that this too shall pass, and that sounds very clever. While we're waiting for that to happen, though, remember that fear makes people behave in strange ways. (I knit socks, hate them, unravel them, and start all over again. Also I play patience and scream at people I love.) As odd or stupid as someone's behaviour might seem, have compassion. They might be annoyingly positive, evasive, depressed - but they're just coping as well as they can in a shitty situation, just like you.