The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 5

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 5

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I had a tough few days last week for some reason, maybe it was the weather as we had thick sea mist, low visibility and sometimes rain, although this doesn’t usually bother me over much if it’s relatively short lived which this was. Maybe it was the way ‘the future’ is being spoken about in the news, no end in sight, talk of 2021, 2022 or even never. If I was a decade or so younger I don’t think this would bother me the same way but in my mid 60’s with a husband a few years older, taking one or two years away from us seems huge. There are all kinds of implications regarding our health, fitness, both physical and mental, and our ability to continue doing what have always loved to do which is to travel long haul to explore and have adventures. I actually resent the fact that this may never happen again and that what is left, what we have now, as good as that is and as lucky as we are, may be as good as it gets. I have toyed with the idea of shifting how I am feeling which I can do relatively easy but for some reason to feels important to experience this fully. No doubt at some point I will realise why I need to do so. Right now the purpose escapes me so I am just going with it for the time being. I have since discovered that a lot of people were feeling the same way around this time, seems we all ran into the same wall.

OK the doom and gloom lasted until I did a Reiki distance swap with a friend who was feeling the same way. We both described seeing and feeling a huge cloud being lifted from us which was amazing. All good again and back to normal now 🙂

I actually think we owe it to ourselves to be able to have off days, days where we feel low or overwhelmed and to acknowledge these for what they are. To have light we must also have dark, there is always duality in everything and if we force down or hide the dark times and try to always be in the light, to pretend everything is always ok, it can have a detrimental effect on us. The challenge we all have though, is to keep from getting dragged down into the dark, to accept it, to acknowledge it for what it is, to let it stay while it needs to and cheerfully wave it goodbye as it leaves.  I am obviously not talking about real depression here which is something else entirely, but the ups and downs of living through a period of uncertainly which can be stressful, even for those of us who usually shake off the stress. It is ok though not to be ok.

What I had lost sight of over the last few days had been living in the moment. I had been looking ahead which I realise now is fatal. I will be trying as hard as I can not to make the same mistake again. Taking each moment at a time, each day at a time, is really the only way I am going to get through this. Just for today do not worry is a Reiki principle to really try to live by in these times it seems.

As is show gratitude and today I am grateful for

  • insight
  • awareness
  • someone to swap distance Reiki with
  • the sunshine and warm breeze
  • walking in the fresh air
  • the apple blossom in the garden
  • bees

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  • my new camera
  • springtime
  • new life 

 

One thing I have noticed this week is that when I get stressed it seems to be by things that wouldn’t bother me usually such as our online shopping arriving an hour and a half after the booked time, my computer only working when its plugged in or my headphones working on my husband’s computer but not mine. This is possibly something to do with not having an alternative, the need to be reliant on others and things that are out of my control. I suspect the further we go in to this, the more not being in control will come up for me. The whole situation is outside my control though, so yet again I am back to the need to live only on the moment, letting everything else go.

A new thing I have realised this week is that I am not really reading books which is completely unlike me. I can easily read one in a day or two and when I get a new Stephen King have to ration my reading to make it last. I can only put this down to my attention span being much shorter than usual. I am flitting between things, not staying anywhere long and so concentrating to read a book is much harder than say reading something online.

We should have been in Singapore now celebrating my husband’s birthday with afternoon tea in Raffles hotel. As we can’t be there, or anywhere come to that, we are celebrating with an afternoon tea at home instead. I ordered a small birthday cake from a local baker and having collected it this morning have to say it looks delicious. There are home made savoury chou pastries, and eclairs, shop bought cakes and I will be making some finger sandwiches – smoked salmon and proscuttio await, plus there are strawberries and champagne. I’d say we will be more than ok 🙂

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 4

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I keep coming across the idea that having a routine is important when we’re stuck, safe at home. I was talking to a friend online the other day about this and she was saying how important having a routine is to her. This got me thinking about my own routine or rather lack of it, for about the only routine I have now is to sit and enjoy a coffee first thing in the morning followed by checking in to see how I feel and what, if anything, I need to be doing that will help with this. Feelings and emotions seem far more important to me at the moment than imposing a routine upon myself or those around me.

Maybe the need for routine depends on what we were doing before all of this and as I am self employed I was already working from home so probably already had a more flexible routine than others. I also balk at the idea of knowing what I am doing too far in advance after years of having had a full diary. I still enjoy the spontaneity of not having anything planned and even though I have no-where I can go I still enjoy the sense of having a ‘free’ day…….. every day 🙂

This enforced lockdown has really emphasised to me how lucky I am, for as a therapist I have all kinds of resources I can call upon to help shift any emotions quickly as soon as they arise. As well as this I have Reiki which I can use to support me at all times. I am very aware that by working on myself I improve the energy in the space around me i..e in my home, and so improve the health and wellbeing of those I live with too.

I also have Reiki friends who support each other and with them I am part of a WhatsApp group that joins with other groups around the works to send healing to the Earth and to each other at 8pm every day. It feels as if the longer this goes on the more important support networks of every kind are becoming.

I have been doing some distance work with a friend this week and so have been using my workspace to work rather than as a gym, which is a bit of a novelty at the moment. While I was out there I found myself drawn to a set of cards. Now I don’t work with cards very often but my favourite ones are the “Osho Zen Tarot’ which are not tarot in the strictest sense but are more to do with self awareness and self development. Drawing a card from this pack I got the card No-thingness. I drew it for myself but the summary of the card feels very fitting to share here as it is all about being in a space where there is nothing, no plans, no sense of direction and no idea what may lie ahead. A void if you will and like all voids it is full of potential, full of infinite possibility. It was a good reminder to me to just relax into this space,  to treasure each experience here, and to be aware that amazing things may come out of this time and space. In other words to make the most of it.

This week we ventured out in the car for an essential visit to the pharmacy 11 km away and a slightly less essential visit to the garden centre. We are lucky as the garden centres and hardware shops have been allowed to re-open since the Easter weekend, as long as they adhere to social distancing etc. The visit wasn’t strictly essential but was as far as our patio tubs are concerned and we came home with bedding plants, potting compost and some lettuce and rocket plants.  Enough to give us something beautiful to look at over the summer and something to supplement our online shopping, as long as we can keep the rabbits from eating them that is.

It’s felt a longer and to some extent more difficult week than other weeks have been. I had a couple of days where I felt really rushed and pressured. This was how it felt from my perspective anyway which was a crazy way to be feeling as there is nothing to be rushing for nowadays in any way. The feeling passed and I have had one whole day where I have done pretty much nothing at all, almost as if I needed to make it up to myself.

The weather isn’t helping at the moment either as the last couple of days have been been much cooler, darker and rainier.  With the sea mist rolling in, visibility is down to very little and so it feels as if everything is closing in, not back to winter but towards it anyway. We are even back to lighting the fire in the evenings which in itself is a little depressing. I know though that as soon as the sun shines and we can see the sky this will all change again.

I try to only read the news in the morning for a quick catch up and then check in the evening to get the latest Covid19 figures for Ireland. It is though getting increasingly hard to stay optimistic and positive through all of this when hearing that the lockdown is likely to continue for a long time (today I read the UK are suggesting a year) for those with underlying conditions and/or over 70. At the same time we are also being told that there doesn’t seem to be very little if any immunity for those contracting Covid19 and that the chances of finding an effective vaccine are low. I am really getting to the point where I need a little light at the end of the tunnel now and suspect I am not alone in this. If this is my life for the foreseeable future I don’t like it one bit.

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 3

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 3

 

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Is it really only the start of week 3?  It is beginning to feel as if this is how it has always been, so I suppose that the way it is now, has started to become the new ‘norm’. That could be a good thing as it suggests that I am managing to roll with it and not resist. Resistance after all is completely futile and wastes so much energy besides which, it looks as if staying at home will continue for the present, so it is perhaps a healthy way to be.

Today is the day that we should have been going on holiday 😦 This I am finding a little difficult in that I have no idea when we will be able to go away again. Even if the virus can be encouraged to leave these shores there is no guarantee that it will be the same in other parts of the world and we do like to go exploring and have an adventure. On the other hand, at some point in the future, it will perhaps give us more time to spend in our own country, finding new localities to explore and visiting some of the places we have set to one side to travel further afield. Time will tell.

I’ve been thinking the last few days about all the things that have really become superfluous, such as the traffic and travel news. Another one of these is the nightly weather forecast. Gone are the days when it was important to know if I needed a coat and if I did was it a rain coat or the keeping warm kind of coat. Now if it’s sunny I go for a walk, if it’s raining I find something to do inside. Simplifies things enormously. Along the same lines is deciding what to wear. Now it is really easy; tracksuit bottoms, fleece jumper and a t-shirt or shorts and t-shirt as it has got warm recently 🙂

I have also been thinking about things that have become invaluable. One of these is a tube of hand cream. I never used to use hand cream, unless using hand sanitiser in lieu of soap and water when travelling. Now though I am so attached to my hand cream that I have cut the bottom off the tube to scrape out another few days supply. Being without it is more than I and my hands can bear now.

Which brings me to the lack of waste. Nothing now is going wasted it seems. The toothpaste tube is squeezed to within an inch of its life, neither of us prepared to admit defeat and consign it to the waste bin. The aforementioned tube of hand cream is on its second week of ‘still giving’, well after it looked as if it was finished.

As for food, nothing is being thrown out into the compost, pretty much everything is finding its way into a meal one way or another. One of my favourite pastimes at the moment is entering the list of random ingredients I have left over into Google and then browsing through what we might have to eat. This becomes more and more creative the closer we get to our next online delivery.

I seem to have spent a lot of time recently stood outside in the garden staring at the stars while watching the International Space Station and the Starlinks passing overhead. Last night though I was outside looking at the pink supermoon complete with its rainbow corolla. Not as big and bright as we have seen before but lovely to see nonetheless. It’s good to be able to bathe in the light of the moon anytime but especially when its a full supermoon.

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One thing this week has brought, along with there good weather, is the opportunity to be bare foot in the garden. There is nothing more grounding and healthy for body and mind than walking barefoot on earth and grass. I tend to be bare foot as much possible both inside and out but it is so much nicer when the weather is warm.

I have also been spending a lot of time outside in the garden this week. For some reason I have started to need to be outside in the fresh air. Inside even with windows open and fresh air flowing has not felt enough. I am not going to waste time wondering why this is now, as with most things at the moment will accept it, get on with it and see where it takes me. There is a time to analyse what is going on and a time to just go with the flow, to use intuition and roll with it all. Now feels like the perfect time to simply roll with it.

Only a part of this being outside has involved any actual gardening, although there has been some tidying up of some hedges as the lads who cut them obviously haven’t been able to come. This needed doing before the birds begin nesting so it was good to get it done. Some of it though has just been the pure pleasure of sitting outside in the sun topping up my Vitamin D, enjoying a cup of tea or coffee and the chance to eat outdoors. Long may we have the weather that allows us to do this.

Our ‘stay at home’ restrictions have been extended, this time until midnight on May 4th. There is talk of them maybe being partially lifted after that but this is unlikely to include either of us, especially as the WHO has now said that older people are age 60 and over. Until this pandemic I had never considered myself to be ‘old’ and I am not enjoying having to consider the possibility that I am. I don’t feel old, act old, or even look old, so having some arbitrary label attached to my age is hard to get used to. Maybe this is something to explore if I get bored one day.  I do understand that I am in the ‘at risk’ age group in terms of deaths from the virus, not only because of my age but also because of the fact I have a form of asthma, but I don’t like the daily reminders of it. I think I am going to ignore it, after all I am staying home, social distancing when we are out waking, doing everything I am asked to in fact. I also like being at home, I like my own company and that of my husband plus I have plenty to be doing here so being told to stay home for a while longer is actually more than ok, especially now I have this online shopping cracked 🙂

Now if only I could find a way of procuring some liquid hand soap………

It is now lashing rain and much cooler than it has been. Rain is useful though as it feeds our well, our plants, washes the dust off the cars and windows and generally refreshes everything. We need all the elements, earth, fire, air and water so it’s all good  🙂 Not sure the cows quite agree though.

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P.S. If you have read previous blogs you will have realised I am no longer writing this blog a day at a time. It is now impossible to remember what happened when or even what day it is. I know I am not alone in this and feel it may be a common factor of being ‘locked down’ for any length of time. Being as I have a clear diary apart from the online delivery, I have decided the days do not matter and that it feels more important to summarise what has happened during the week as a whole, so this is what I will now be doing for as long as this lasts, or until there is nothing to say.

 

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 2

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Monday 30th About eighteen months ago I stopped using shampoo completely and decided to wash my hair with water only, the benefits of this I am now realising are huge. I wash my hair far less, once a week, as opposed to the once every two days it needed previously, so save on water, I don’t need to be concerned about running out of shampoo or conditioner and more importantly, as it grew happily and healthily I just let it do its own thing. It is now someway down my back and while everyone else is worrying about the hairdressers being closed I am absolutely ok. I also decided years ago, when the first grey started to appear, never to bother to dye my hair, another unexpected bonus as it turns out now. My natural hair colour is my natural hair colour. Forward planning it now seems 🙂

I feel very tired today. I could be the hay fever or whatever it is or may be because I’ve unusually been a little stressed.  For the second time in the last few days I have discovered my mobile phone operators have taken money for mobile data that I haven’t used. Reduced staff mean it is harder to get hold of anyone and of course all their stores are closed, even if I was foolish enough to go out. I don’t usually get stressed by things like this but this time have been. Maybe it is the small things that usually would roll over me that are going to seem bigger than they really are. I must be mindful of this.

Tuesday 31st Neither of us felt like walking today  so we didn’t. One thing I am really learning now, is to go with how I am feeling at any given moment. No judgement, no pushing through anything, but just accepting it and allowing it.

Today we did an egg run to collect eggs from a nearby farm. It felt quite illicit as we took the car and we both went. It’s way easier to carry a tray of eggs when you can hold them and not have to mind them on the passenger seat while you drive, plus I only had to sanitise my hands when I got back in the car and not everything I’d touched in the car.

I am discovering loads about online food shopping now, such as the fact that, just like in physical shopping, the minute you get through the checkout you realise you have forgotten to buy something.

Wednesday 1st April A whole new month, it will be interesting to see what new things, what new insights this one brings.

More learning about online shopping – if you ask for spelt bread and they don’t have any they just don’t put anything in instead. Good job I make my own bread with oats and yoghurt. I am now hoping I have enough yoghurt to see us through another week as there is no nipping back to the shop just now.

Thursday 2nd For the whole of last week I did no art whatsoever, I just wasn’t in the right mood somehow. I was fine most days, just didn’t want to do art. Today something has changed and I spent a few hours working on the next Christmas’ Calendar painting for Bandon Art Group’s calendar.

Friday 3rd I’m wondering if anyone has, like me, opened their wardrobe and realised that a large percentage of the clothes in it will not get worn for the foreseeable future. I have winter jumpers that, if I was going out more would be worn, but I don’t need them indoors. I have ‘going out’ clothes that I wont be wearing as I am not ‘going out’ and I have travel clothes, quick dry ones I usually wear on the holiday I am no longer going on. First world problems here. I have way too many clothes I realise and so perhaps the thing to do is re-home a lot of them once this is over. I may though need to buy a new track suit for it is about the only thing on my body these days. I could I suppose always ‘dress up’ at home as I have seen others online doing but that really isn’t me somehow. Or it isn’t at the moment anyway.

Saturday 4th I was listening to someone on the radio talking about washing their hands mindfully and using those 20+ seconds to really be in the moment. I already sing ‘Baby Shark’ in my head while I am washing them but this does seem like it might be a big improvement so will try this the 100 or so times I wash my hands today.

I have also been realising just how important it is to laugh. My art group has a WhatsApp group and am discovering that we seldom talk about art, which may be true of us as a group now I stop to think about it,  but are sharing clips, gifs, jokes etc to make everyone laugh, to keep everyone’s spirits up. Social distancing at it’s most useful and I am grateful to be part of it.

Sunday 5th Gratitude is something that I frequently have to remind myself to be. I am grateful, but stopping and recognising it has never come naturally for some reason.

It is one of the five Reiki Principles:

Today only

  • Don’t be angry
  • Don’t worry
  • Be grateful
  • Work hard
  • Be kind to other people

and it is the one I always struggle with. The others frequently act as a reminder to me, pull me up sometimes but ‘be grateful’ somehow gets overlooked.

This week though, I have been realising how lucky I am and therefore how grateful I am for many things:

  • my home
  • the fact I have space
  • my garden
  • my stone circle (you can see this in the photo at the top of the page)
  • that I am not home alone but can be alone if I chose to be
  • that I am safe
  • that I live in a rural area and can easily go for a walk
  • that I am relatively fit and healthy
  • that I have broadband
  • WhatsApp and Facebook messenger
  • Friends who I now talk to online
  • my art
  • the gift of Reiki
  • Shamanic journeying which can take me anywhere