Idle Time

Over many years I have read Deepak, Pema, Wayne, Eckhart, Rumi and so many others. Each one presents their spiritual messages differently, but the takeaway is consistent. In the past, although I had a voracious appetite for these messages, while still striving for busy, purposeful days, sometimes what I garnered was a bit confusing:

Go within. Reach out.  Forgive. Own fear. Fear is a liar. Stand Raw. Try. Hold on. Let go. Be in the now. Honor the past. Grab for the stars. Dig deep. Remember. Forget. Trust God. Trust yourself. Use Your voice. Stay quiet. Say Yes. Say No. Love deeply. Be still. Say what you mean, just don’t say it mean. Go Big. Be humble. Stay in the Middle. Risk the fringes. Make mistakes. Be a force. Be humble. Stand Raw. Try. Hold on. Let go.

Now, after forced time being still, I am not confused anymore.

Over the past seven weeks, laid up first from a car accident and now quarantined due to Covid-19, I have had lots of extra time on my hands. I used to be afraid of too much time, of idle time. It was more comfortable to keep moving, keep going, keep doing. Recently, while not being able to move or go or do much, I realized I could choose to take comfort in the stillness of my body and my thoughts. And so, in the tranquility of my home and the powerlessness out in the world, my thoughts are hopeful. They are willing. They are mine. I am safe with them.

Within these safe thoughts, I feel grace and gratitude for my life, for my family and for any administration making hard decisions right now. I do not allow thoughts like the ones which used to want me busy, to delude me into believing that I would know better, that I could know better, were I making these decisions myself. I choose to have faith and trust. I choose to believe that everyone will get still enough to see that we are all doing the best we can with what we have available to us. Standing in judgment is busy work and nowhere in the pages I have read by the spiritual guides I still choose to learn from, do I see that as part of their advice.

So, although I am not Deepak or Wayne or Pema, I too have a message:

Being comfortable while standing still is a cool decision. Trust takes work. Love is a choice. Risks are part of life. Laughter is essential, though it’s okay to cry. Others will believe what they want about you or the world at large. Although their reality may not be yours, you don’t have to convince them. Speak your truth, even when it’s hard. If someone asks, tell them. If they don’t, stay quiet and leave the rest up to them. And never, ever worry about being still. It’s where we find the answers.

“Yay, F–K” … Well, it’s True

Watching a Showtime series last night, the underlying message from the show’s finale episode was this:  “Life is basically, Yay, Fuck.” Yep, this was the show’s message, and the reality is, it is true. Right now, we are sitting in an extra-long stretch of the latter, so to say we are all under stress would be an understatement. Our amygdala’s are on overdrive and even our usual go-to fight, flight or freeze response has been affected, because in fact, there is absolutely nowhere to take flight to.

Right now, we have more time for introspection than any of us would like. With offices, restaurants, movie theaters, sporting arenas, malls and beaches closed, time is what we have in abundance. All the things we would normally do when we have time are not accessible. I am not even a regular manicure person, but I feel stir crazy not to be able to get one. And of course, my hair is at that, “I need it cut NOW” length. But a manicure or a haircut seem so trivial really. Last night, my high school BFF filled me in on the situation at the Brooklyn hospital where she works as a nurse manager. The pediatric and psychiatry units have been transformed into Covid care rooms and the running total at her hospital thus far is four hundred cases with many more coming in every moment and a death toll that is staggering. I would write more about what she said, but I fear it would only serve to create more stress for anyone who may take the time to read this blog. Suffice it to say, this virus MUST be taken seriously.

As much as I miss connecting in person with people, what I miss more is not worrying so much about the people I love, especially my son and daughter-in-law who are cooped up in their home office/living room in an area of Connecticut hit hard with this virus. I know I am not original in that I have never experienced anything like this, and from a spiritual perspective, I can’t help but wonder if we are being called to get quiet, very, very quiet.

And so, yes, I have gotten quiet. And in the stillness lies the realization that there is so much about my usual day to day world that I have taken for granted. A trip to the bank or to a store, coffee or dinner out, these things I have done without thinking. I hope that when we can once again get back out and pick up life as we knew it, that I will remember to appreciate what it was like not to be able to and thus be extra grateful.

I never realized how much I took for granted. I always knew I could say yes tomorrow to something or someone I put off in a today. Now that getting together in groups is disallowed, I want to go back in time and say yes to everything. I want people I love to know that I miss seeing them and being with them.

Across the nation there is a daunting sense of What if? What next? Who knows? An overall sense of fear, uncertainty and confusion. Many are afraid and working on that fear one hour at a time. Although I am disallowing fear from taking over, I am certainly pushing back against it on a regular basis. Every time I hear from a family member or friend up in New York or Connecticut and become privy to the extent of this Covid-19 nightmare up there, I pray, pray, pray for them/for all of us.

Today, this day, I wrote my gratitude list, made a promise to not dive in to fear and I prayed. I asked God to watch over and protect us all and, as a direct result of what we are going through, to make each of us a more empathic and generous human being. I asked that as a nation we may grow from this experience. I prayed this morning that all of us, no matter what political party we stand for, can let go of animosity and discord and hold on to community, love and honor for each other.

I prayed especially for my son and daughter-in-law, and all the rest of my family and friends. I prayed for each one of us, for our doctors, nurses, police officers, firefighters, EMT’s and all other first responders, for teachers and all workers being of service, for our President, our government, our politicians, our CEO’s, for everyone, everywhere in our nation and beyond.

My eyes are open to how difficult this is for every single one of us. I want all of you workers and leaders to know that I see you and how tirelessly you are trying. I see your efforts. Please know that, in case you feel unnoticed or attacked or discouraged in your efforts. May God Bless you one and all. May God Bless all of us one and all. Wishing love, peace, good health and serenity at this challenging, scary and confusing time and always.