As of this writing, I’ve survived fifty-three days in solitary lockdown and thirty-eight days in phased de-escalation. At first, I welcomed the opportunity for deep internal work that sequestration provided. I had just returned from Arunachala in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India; a trip that included opening experiences I’d sought for decades. However, as time without face to face communication and zero human physical contact increased, life energy drained from my batteries, and my ability to cope waned. When we citizens were once again allowed to go outside, albeit only in very short and pre-determined time slots, we felt joy in our new-found freedom. Yet, it was during the weeks that followed when I realised just how low my mental and emotional health had dropped. Professional cyclist Nathan Haas expressed it as lockdown hangover and dealing with universal melancholy. (See ‘Cycling In Alignment‘ with Colby Pearce.)
Today, remarkably, my body started to relax. It was a very unambiguous experience. No doubt I’ve been chronically overloaded with cortisol—our “fight-or-flight” stress hormone designed to control mood, motivation, and fear and that lets us know when we’re in danger.
❝ When this quarantine is over, things don’t just go back to normal, because you haven’t gone back to normal yet. …You are not the same person just because the world has opened up again. And things aren’t just going to open up. Not only is the world going to be different, but you are going to be different. You are going to be affected by this time.❞
Here’s the significant point I want to share;
Every small act of kindness can be a matter of life and death for others.
Over these last three months, my neighbour across the alley and I have greeted each other nearly every single morning at sunrise. We do not share a common language, but we get by. I nod and utilise the few words of Spanish and Catalan that I know. I’ve learned about and followed the health of her husband and his operation. She shares with me a few goings-on about shopping and breakfast. I’ve shared, to the extent that I can, about my family and friends. We smile, mention the changes in weather and wish each other well.
After every single interaction, I beam, feeling a bit lighter and brighter inside. Remei has no idea of my past battles with depression. She knows virtually nothing of my life, outside of the fact that I train a lot. And the only thing I know of her seventy-eight years is that she spent a few months in Britain during university.
But what I do know, my friends, is that I will always carry her love and care in my heart. And each day at dawn I will think of my neighbour and say namaste to her spirit. Remei’s humanity has been a welcome gift in what has been a very dehumanising experience. Compassion for our fellow earthlings resonates further and deeper than we will probably ever know.
✌️ ∙ 🌱 ∙ 🙏