There’s no doubt about it, lockdown quarantine is getting to me.
I’m a loner. I’m single. I live alone. I’ve been a nomad for a decade. At first, I begrudgingly accepted that my life developed this way. Over the last several years, however, I’ve embraced this lifestyle because it provides tremendous opportunities to travel, experience different cultures, and see things that most people only dream about or only see via visual media. This way of life also allows for immersing myself in quietness, something I find immensely soothing. I thrive when living in a cabin in the woods where nature is both a constant companion and a teacher.
Even still, I’ve learned that I need human contact. I can’t go it alone. I occasionally walk around town or sit at a cafe in the central square to listen to people and feel their energy. I seize opportunities for spontaneous interaction, and I welcome hangout time and deep conversation with close friends. It was in healing from the dark depths of depression that I learned how to ask for help, to reach out to others, to acknowledge that as much as I consciously avoid people, I also need them.
And now? I’m in lockdown in Catalonia (Spain), and the stress is starting to take its toll. I recognise it first as growing internal unrest, then it manifests in my physiology, and in my dreams. I sometimes awake with my heart pounding, in a sweat, and breathing rapidly. Last night, I was startled alert at midnight after a very violent and graphic dream about my father’s death. I know this pattern all too well. I’ve been down that road. I don’t want to go there again. And when I falter, I reach out for help.
Every single day I recommit myself to what I do want. And for that, I have identified six keystones to my own personal health. I invest in these with consistent practice. They make up the shelves of my toolbox that provide needed stability:
• time in nature
• regular exercise
• daily meditation.
I’m constantly maintaining this toolbox so that when I need extra support the needed tools are available, easy to choose, and natural use.
The experience of being quarantined might seem like a dream for introverts. But very, very few of us can go weeks, or months, without personal interaction, without giving and receiving a smile through our eyes, or without sharing and receiving kindness. I know that I find extended isolation challenging.
A positive aspect to our current ‘stay at home’ life is that there’s more quietness in town—less traffic and no loud people moving about—and much more bird song. I see people spending time on their balconies, terraces, and rooftops. They talk with others, either who are cooped up with them or neighbours who are also on their balconies. They go for walks with their dogs. I like this part of our mandated situation.
…I wish I had a dog.
…I wish my best friend lived next door.
This morning, after meditation, I looked into my toolbox for the necessary tools for the day, for the things that I knew I could lean on for support and to strengthen me. I reached out to friends and connected virtually. The Universe picked up on this vibe and a couple more friends sent messages to check on me. I planned healthy, nourishing and tasty food that I was going to prepare for the day (so that I didn’t fall into binge eating empty calories). I put my bike trainer on the terrace for an easy spin of undetermined duration while I listened to a good book in the sunshine. I took a nap, and read, and checked in again with friends and family.
There’s no question that I really would like to go for a walk with people around me, to ride for hours in nature, and to have face-to-face, deep-dive dialogue. At the first allowed opportunity, I’m jumping on my bike for a day outdoors, riding to see and spend time with old friends. But those aren’t possible for the foreseeable future. Instead, I reach deep into my trunk of tricks, looking for ways to strengthen me and my daily commitment to the path I want to journey.
And now, it’s time for evening meditation before bed.
Thanks for today.
✌️ ∙ 🌱 ∙ 🙏