So Grateful For Spring
It’s spring. Maybe that sounds vapid. However, after weeks of self isolation and cold weather, the sights and sounds of returning spring are as refreshing as a vacation. Chickadees changing over to their springtime Phoebe call. Robins gathering nesting material. Adorable little junkos flitting from twig to twig. Seeds sprouting, buds swelling, blossoms opening; it’s all more intoxicating than ever. Because it turns out that even for introverts, a staycation can get tedious, especially in a small house. I’m not complaining, mind you; my daughter and I are endlessly grateful for this comfortable little home in a charming, supportive neighborhood. Last night she even said, “This is a wonderful moment,” as the dusk drew in, both of us reading good bits out loud now and then, both cats purring contentedly (for once, no hissing despite proximity!). Since she’s been sleeping all day more often than not (a common sign of persistent depression for her) this pleasant moment felt like a breath of spring.
I’m deeply, profoundly grateful for such moments, because a lot of the time I’m quietly, secretly terrified. Like everyone else, I’m concerned about the millions of people who have contracted the virus and are ill, and those who have it but have few or no symptoms. Naturally I’m worried sick for people in nursing homes and hospitals, for healthcare workers, grocery store and pharmacy staff, those working in food service so we can all eat. I’m so sad for the homeless people and those in jail and various kinds of incarceration who have no way to protect themselves. And of course I’m hoping that I and my family and my friends and neighbors won’t get the virus. At the same time, I’m trying to stay positive, not to ignore bad news but aiming not to make anyone feel worse than they already do.
Peace Like A Wave
I hadn’t realized how deeply I was letting the continuous stream of frightening news get to me until I discovered that I had “lost” a day; suddenly it was Saturday, not Friday. Without the usual framework of obligations and tasks to hang them on, the days slip by uncounted. I suppose if I were caught up in deep meditation each day, spreading peace around my world, that would be an elevated way to live. Sadly, I’ve just been too shaken to remember not to over-focus on the horrible news. Fortunately a friend sent me a peaceful meditation video, one I used to listen to every day during a very dark time, but had forgotten. Once again, it helped me break the bleak fascination with the current darkness.
Having the video running nearby as I knit helps me focus on the intentions I prefer when knitting for others; stitch by stitch, I think or even say them out loud. Peace, comfort, ease, wellbeing, compassion, loving kindness, acceptance, clarity, release, reconciliation, renewal, awareness, openness, happiness, friendship, gratitude…. After a while, the words carry me out of the depths into a lighter, brighter state of being where I can think more calmly and breathe more deeply. Ahhh. Feels a LOT better. You may not have a similar response but it turns out there are zillions of meditation videos, with bird song and jungle noises, with sounds of mountain streams and little creeks, with wind or rain, or just the gentle swish of waves. If you too are finding yourself stuck in the dark, just calling up the meditation I’m using will also bring up a wide array of different options to try.
Meditation; Koshi chimes and ocean waves
Bathing In The Light
Yesterday I went for my usual careful ramble around the neighborhood, seeing almost no one until I came upon a couple of older women who were perched on large cement blocks at the edge of our local farmer’s market space. Despite the watery sunshine, nobody else was in sight. The women were sitting a careful 10 feet apart and talking about how they’ve been spending their days in isolation, reading, writing, crafting, cooking. I stood another 10 feet away and we shared experiences and stories and ideas for a stimulating half hour before they stiffly got off the cold slabs to return to their homes. I kept walking for a while, thinking about how restorative positive human interactions can be and hoping I never take them for granted again.
When I got home, my garden was bathed in sunlight, a situation that doesn’t last all that long, since there are tall buildings and taller trees on every side. This little lot had not been tended much for a number of years, so there’s still plenty of weeding to do. Bindweed, Bishop’s weed, buttercup, archangel, running grasses and thistles, all frolic in the poor soil, so whenever it’s not too cold, I can spend a happy hour pulling and prying and digging up roots. When the light was lost and a bitter little wind arose, I went inside, feeling more refreshed in spirit than I have in weeks. Today as I returned to my weeding, I heard tree frogs singing for the first time, a beloved sound that brought tears to my eyes. A older neighbor stopped by to tell me about her recent travels to visit family in Germany. “It’s not scary if you stay with your experiences,” she reminded me. “Don’t focus on what you hear, stay with what you can see for yourself.” Watery sunshine spilled over us as we talked. Filtered through flitting clouds and wavering in warmth, it poured down generously, bathing us in light.