This morning I was listening to this talk with Liz Gilbert. A few takeaways:
1) If you are suffering from empathetic overload, try replacing your empathy with compassion. That way, you are not *taking on* someone else’s suffering, but instead remaining strong in yourself so that you are able to help, and, of course, look after yourself. Pace yourselves; ‘this is a marathon, not a sprint’.
2) Replace the words ‘quarantine’ or ‘self-isolation’ or ‘lockdown’ with ‘In Retreat’.
…also so many other points that lit up my brain. I would highly recommend a listen.
I am lucky to live in the nicest 2km stretch in the world.
And, thankfully, people are sticking to the rules and it is ‘safe’ to wander in these parts today.
I am very sorry to hear that Tim Robinson has passed on.
I’ve been reading his books while staying indoors.
Have been trying to get a printed Connemara map for a long time now.
I hope heaven is as pleasing to your eyes as Connemara has been. ❤️
I am trying to keep busy with as many creative projects as possible. I am hoping I won’t feel this way for long, but the daytime walks I find too stressful. The feeling of being on ‘high alert’ and needing to back away from every human you come across is exhausting, and INCREDIBLY counter-intuitive, so I’ve taken the opportunity to learn how to take better night images. So far, I have learned two things:
1) Cities at night-time are BEAUTIFUL. Especially when you are fortunate enough to live near the sea. So peaceful.
2) I definitely need a tripod!
The last little being I shall touch for awhile.
This was last week.
She wandered over, sat with her back to me about three feet away, then slowly backed right onto my lap.
When this is over I shall give all the scritches to every dog I meet.
…And possibly humans as well!
A very dear friend of mine has been listening to my non-sensical ramblings the last week, and quietly emailed me this article this morning. (https://hbr.org/2020/03/that-discomfort-youre-feeling-is-grief) I actually just read the title – namely the word ‘grief’ and started bawling into my CocoPops.
I keep feeling like I am coming down with something, headache, exhaustion, pain in my chest. And I think I can safely say I am physically healthy, but grieving hard for what is happening right now. My heart hurts so much these days. It’s one of the few times I’ve wished I Was tougher. This ain’t fun. Dear Covid-19, I’m not scared of you, this feeling I have now is ten times worse than what you can do to me.
I’m trying to remind myself that, in this moment, I am safe, I can breathe, I am ok. It’s when my mind broadens to consider the sweeping scale of this beast that I get the wind knocked out of me. The reality that there is nothing I can do to help, or to control what is happening. We all like to feel some sort of control. Accepting this and surrendering to whatever happens is terrifying for any human.
If any of this resonates, have a read of this piece. Excellent insight. I mean, I’m still bawling, but at least I know I haven’t totally lost the plot. It’s starting to make *some* sort of sense.
Love you all! x
*Photo from article. Not mine.
Was in my garden all afternoon.
I’ve no proper shovel but my hands did the trick.
There’s nothing like having your hands in the muck while you rant at the poor garden gnome to set your head right again.
I’ll go down tomorrow morning and find him and his little wheel-barrow long gone, I’m sure.
He got a tearful earful today.
“We will grow back!”
I had so much I wanted to write down over the last week. It’s been a rollercoaster ride for all of us. One that we aren’t going to be able to get off for a good while. One minute I’ve been so touched by the actions of Humans, both those near me as well as people I’m reading about, I feel strong, and positive; and then the next minute I am so overwhelmed and afraid for everyone. I stopped reading the news for a few days, then dipped back in to it, and had a bad shock at the deterioration of the countries who have been worst-hit. I don’t know which is best, to keep informed and avoid that shock again, or to tap out completely. Neither feels healthy. And then another part of me feels so horrible about hiding away in my house while others are out risking themselves to help others. It is so difficult to know what to do.
So, here I am. At home, trying to put all of this focus into projects I have been working on since the beginning of the New Year. These projects have been a balm for this crazy time. Last night my housemate and I had a little music session and at the end I realised it was the best I’d felt in weeks. The sun is coming out here, my garden is ready to be nurtured, so I will focus on these things. That is NOT to say my thoughts aren’t with the sick and their families right now. My family is in another country, and I wouldn’t be able to get to them if they became sick. But they are healthy now and we all just need to do our best to keep it that way.
I’ve always LOVED world music, but I’ve never listened to kirtan before. However, these last few nights when I have been awake late at night, they’ve been exactly what I wanted to hear.
The cruelest thing about this virus is that the only way we can save ourselves from it is to give up the one thing we all need the most to live. Human contact and interaction. I never realised how comforting I find just standing next to a human in the queue at a shop. Or waiting for a bus. Just that ‘closeness’ means so much to me. Now we are standing 6-feet apart, with so many people looking terrified of one another. A few days ago I ventured out into a local shop and it hurt to see that fear. I felt so lonely with all of that space around me. It feels like an ocean of space. I completely understand it; they probably have family at home they want to protect. It is absolutely what we must be doing. But it is such a shock. I think this is the time we will need to learn how to be close to one another in another way. It is certainly possible.
The first person who gets a hug from me when all this is over had better have strong ribs; I will crush them!
This is the starting point for my garden. I am very lucky to have found this place with a glass-house out in the backyard. I started clearing it out and preparing the soil before Christmas, and the garlic that I planted looks very happy in the corner. So far, I’ve put down chard, baby carrots, spring onions, brussels sprouts, and peas. There are a few small panes of glass missing from above, so I see those areas as being ‘self-watering’. Handy!
Next week I will be clearing a bed outside of the glass house for the next ‘instalment’. I had planned on growing my own food this season, but now the hours spent in the garden are also serving my mental well-being. It is so therapeutic, having your hands in the soil! I am very grateful that even while sticking to the ‘stay indoors’ rule, I have this space outside to enjoy.
Hoping that you all stay safe and well! x
To attain a sense of inner freedom, one must have solitude and space galore. Add to these the mastery of time, complete silence, a harsh life and surroundings of geographic grandeur. Then do the maths and find a hut. – excerpt from ‘Consolations of the Forest’, by Sylvain Tesson
Sleep, stare at the sky, the moon, the sea.
Hold onto the earth that loves you.
All the birds sing for your comfort.
The wind touches you gently.
The great Mother is near.
– Maureen Horkan
“…Such places are wild sanctuaries because they dwell completely within themselves and can quietly draw us into their knowing and stillness. Almost without sensing it, the mind is gradually relieved of its inner pressing. The senses become soothed and the clay part of the heart is stirred by ancient beauty.” – excerpt from ‘Divine Beauty’ by John O’Donohue.
My beloved ‘home’ which I mentioned a few blog posts ago, my friends, I regret to inform you, has been lost to me. In a very sad turn of events, the friend whom I entrusted the safe-keeping and maintenance of my home to for the few months I will be out of the country, decided to pull a runner. Apart from the obvious result of losing a friend, I have had to move out of the house swiftly, before I rack up more expenses. I will leave out what happened between her mysterious betrayal of my trust, and to where I sit today, getting ready to go back to said country to move my things out of the house and try to settle with a very disgruntled landlord, out of respect for what was once a very decent and kind friendship between us.
Fast forward to tonight; I am getting ready to fly to this country, gain access to the house for a few hours, and fill my two suitcases with my most precious items. The rest, an accumulation of 12 years of my life in that country and 2 years in the first home I ever made for myself, I will have to leave behind, to be thrown out by the landlord after I go. I made a list, trying to put some sort of plan in place so that when I re-enter the house I have loved so much these last two years, I keep a level head, and manage to rescue the things I would most be upset by losing. In making this list, I somehow managed to turn this whole mess into a very interesting personal challenge.
If you were given only 1 minute to grab a few items from your house, before you were outed forever, or the house burned down (in a more dramatic scenario), what would you grab?
If you were given 10 minutes?
When I heard that I would have limited access to the house – two hours total, no more – , the first thing I thought about was leaving the whole house full of belongings behind. The expense of flying there, trains, accommodation, etc, seemed too much. But an image of my Mom’s glass angel figurine, patiently perched on my bedroom windowsill, waiting for me to return, kept flashing in my mind. Then, her collection of crystals. The framed sketch by my Grandmother that I brought home with me from my parents’ house a few years ago. My one pair of dress shoes that I love, the burlesque-y looking ones that I wore – daringly – at my citizenship ceremony last year. My ballet shoes.
I realised then that I have to go, quickly, and scoop up these things.
A scene from the film ‘Under the Tuscan Sun’ popped into my head a few days ago. A woman discovers her husband has been having an affair. Heart-broken, she then learns that he and his new partner will buy her out of their shared home, so she must move out. On moving day, the movers come and ask her where to start. After looking around her, associating all of her belongings with the memory of HIM, she tells them to just pick up the few boxes of books in the front hall. That’s all.
Next, as she walks out of her home for the last time, a blue vase holding fresh flowers catches her eye. She picks it up, turns it around in her hands, examining it, dumps out the water and contents, puts it in her pocket, and leaves.
I can relate so much to this moment in Francis’ life! The things you own just become…hard work. The thought of moving them, transplanting them somewhere new, somewhere where you are starting from scratch, with all of these memories and …weight attached to them…makes you wonder why the heck you would do it to yourself! The urge to just walk out and start from scratch is tempting. I have been given this opportunity and, although I spent the last few weeks worried sick about what the future holds for me and my THINGS, I have decided to embrace the situation and live out this fantasy of walking out of a former life and starting over.
I know that one of my glitches as a human being is harbouring grudges. I can’t help but hope this experience will really help me LET GO of emotional baggage, as well as excess physical baggage. The two cannot really be so different?
So, Readers, I am sharing this experience with you. I am asking myself why I have put myself through so much stress and worry when it comes to keeping my possessions with me all these years. Especially as someone who moves house on a pretty regular basis! I am hoping that this experience proves to be cathartic, not just draining, and once I am through the thick of it, I feel more liberation than loss.
This is the reason I haven’t been writing at my normal rate these last few weeks. I had nothing very positive to share until the image of Francis and her blue vase came to me. (**If you haven’t seen the film yet, check it out! It’s one of my all-time favourite ‘starting over’ films!**)
I will keep you posted on my internal and external progress.