Thursday, March 19, 2020
Lessons in lockdown:
- Keep healthy boundaries with social media and communications with people who are freaking out about the pandemic.
- Embrace practices and activities that reduce my stress level rather than increase it.
- Walk in the woods, practice yoga, sit in the sun on our roof and watch and listen to the birds.
- Try not to engage with people who are acting from a place from fear. Don’t argue or respond to their messages or comments on social media platforms. Everyone is allowed to respond in their own way, to dance their unique dance with the ever-evolving universe.
- I can also remember that I am under no obligation to take on their fear. I can simply stop communication. I can unfollow posts. I can do the things I need to do to conserve my own Self. My wish is to be positive and seek out joy and blessings even in times of stress and uncertainty.
My husband and I contemplate the question: What country do we want to be stuck in?
The United States or Belgium?
Arizona or Brussels?
A state where people are lining up to buy ammo and guns in addition to toilet paper, where healthcare and preparation for the pandemic are questionable and expensive…..OR…….?
To be completely honest, I really am not sure I want to go back to a place where the top recommendation from a person I met at the dog park before moving to Brussels was to make sure I brought a firearm with me and had someone from the states mail me a Stetson hat so I could open the box in front of all of my Belgian friends.
Spent a long time, walking in the forest with Atticus the big, white husky. Noticed people actively avoiding us as we walked back along the sidewalk to our house. One woman hid behind a house until we passed. Another man was walking along the same side of the street and began crossing the road at the same time as I was crossing the road. I was only crossing the road because that is the normal path they take to get home, but he was clearly wanting to walk on the opposite side of the road for me. He smiled and did a little windshield wiper gesture with his hands and index finger is pointing to ask which way I was going. I nodded to the left, and he went back to his side of the sidewalk.
Glove wearing has expanded beyond grocery store staff. I met a friend in the forest who was wearing gloves. On the way home from the forest, I passed a woman with bright blue gloves on getting out of her car. I also saw a woman coming toward us on the sidewalk with mask and gloves. I looked down for a moment. When I looked up, she was gone. I texted my husband, suggesting that perhaps the virus caused spontaneous invisibility?
Vacuumed the house. Thought about doing laundry. Brought the bag of laundry downstairs, and placed it in front of the washing machine. Intention is important, almost as important as action.
Went for a walk around the block later in the day with Atticus. As we were nearing the house, we walked past a dog and its human. This dog was one of many in the neighborhood that have at some point run out of the house to attack Atticus. I am not kidding. I have no idea what it is about this dog that he is attacked by so many dogs. He remembered this dog, and like the sociable (and maybe not the sharpest?) husky that he is, he lunged toward the dog. He was not being aggressive. He isn’t an aggressive dog. He generally thinks that any attention is good attention, and so he was thinking, Hey, maybe this time this dog wants to be my friend. I should dislocate my human’s arm and twist her wrist to make peace.
I thought I was doing fairly well with the keeping a low stress level, but this arm twisting and unexpected jostling proved otherwise. I generally have a very sensitive startle response, and I felt my entire system go into emergency overdrive. In other words, I started swearing at the top of my lungs and trying to use my “alpha” voice to yell “No!” to Atticus.
The message seemed to come through because he went straight to his dog bed and gave me his sad (aka irresistibly adorable) blue-as-the-sky husky eyes until I got down on the floor and cuddled with him. Damn dog!
We did pass a house with a toilet in the driveway, and I wondered if they had run out of toilet paper and thus decided to do away with their toilet altogether. I also found that my favorite willow tree was greening in response to the shift in the season, and I was overjoyed to see life continue.
Despite my injuries, I offered a rooftop concert via Facebook live video. I had one friend join, and I was so grateful to be connecting with another person and to be singing, which always lifts my spirits.
I then iced my wrist with a frozen package of feta cheese (I had packed away the ice pack in order to make room in our very tiny “metric” refrigerator). We made dinner and cuddled with critters while we watched a movie.
How are you keeping your spirits lifted in these challenging times?