Pre-dawn and daybreak are special times of day for me. There’s a feeling of love, connection and quiet that allows me to more fully resonate with the subtle energies and hear the singing birds. Over the past couple of weeks, out of solidarity and concern, my neighbour and I have taken to waiving and greeting each other, “Bon dia.” During these magical moments, I actively soak in life’s vitality, knowing that it will support me during the coming twenty-four hours. This is especially important during my extended isolation in lockdown.
I often think and dream about being in a different country where I would not be confined to my flat, and of the opportunities that would be afforded me. Yet, I’m quick to remind myself of how wonderful it is to be right where I am; fortunate to have a big terrace upon which to enjoy comfortable weather, fresh produce readily available right outside my door, and a forced ‘retreat’ that provides occasion for working on internal stuff, strengthening morning and evening routines, and extra time to read.
As of this writing, I’m six weeks into detention, with another two weeks remaining, at minimum. If this event had occurred several years ago, when I was teetering on the edge of mental and emotional health, I would, however, have been hooped. Fortunately, I now have a stocked ‘toolbox’, developed through consistent and attentive work. In this collection are methods for keeping my mind, body and spirit healthy. These tools enable me to turn towards the light of gratefulness and to connect with others. And, virtual kinship via the Internet is more convenient than when I was in the depths of depression when I experienced the floor having dropped out from beneath me.
For years I’ve lamented the unconscious and antagonistic patterns in our world. In that persisting sorrow, there’s an additional level of grief. I find myself mourning the death of a world in which I openly greeted people with smiles and hugs, and where I wasn’t constantly fretting microbial transmissions. It does not go unnoticed, however, that my bereavement stands in contrast to the literal silence in our world, a stillness that allows natural rhythms to re-establish themselves. Charles Eisenstein expresses this space as the breakdown of normal that gives us an opportunity to choose what we’ve been unconsciously choosing before, ask if we want to keep going in the direction we’ve been going, and to choose a world of conscious connection. ‘Normal’ has been put on pause, something I welcome with open arms.
In art, it’s the variance of hues, tones and shapes that intrigue us and distinguish masterpieces. In mental health—both in recovery and in maintenance—a multi-pronged approach provides the most robust road forward. But the human mind, with its desire for strongly defined contrasts and delineated patterns, seeks to find exclusive and absolute explanations and solutions to problems. Nature, on the other hand, constantly shows us that it’s in nuances where we find spectrums of characteristics and strengths. In the gradations we must step out of our mind and reductionistic classifications and instead feel, deeply.
Poets and integrative thinkers paint exquisite commentaries with their words, but the beauty of their insights and wisdom is not in the sentences, it’s in the underlying profundity that beguiles the mind. I interpret the scent of a lemon tree blossom, in simple description, as sweet, but its essence also transcends the olfactory sensation and suffuses multidimensional differentia. And when I really sit with the pleasantness there’s an underlying awareness of a timeless and immortal experience of being; a hidden world that is revealed not through rushing to or forcing answers but rather when life is provided space to permeate the fibres of an existence incomprehensible to the mind.
Despite the limitations currently imposed on my life, I refuse to fall into a black hole of dystopia. Instead, I actively look to embrace opportunity, to peer deeply into the qualitative versus the quantitative aspects of how and where I direct my energy. I’m using this Gift of Pause to become clearer and more conscious about how to invest my energy. I’m seeking approaches that provide connection rather than separation. I want to emerge from this cocoon with greater honesty, clearer transparency, and more intimately devoted to constructive, trust-building communication—with others and with nature.
What stirs within you, below the surface tension? What fears lie entrenched, and what would it look like to discard those bondages? Who can you reach out to connect with today? An intentional society based on love, compassion and connection is closer than we realise. We need only rest deeply within the potency of silence.
✌️ ∙ 🌱 ∙ 🙏