The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 11

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(image is a free download to colour in from hello@deborahpanesar.com)

 

I suppose it is telling me something that I am only getting round to starting this on Friday this week.

As I write this we await to hear officially, the changes about to come with our shift into Phase 2 of lockdown on Monday. This will likely mean being allowed to travel 20km for non essential purposes and all small non-essential shops being allowed to open. Over 70’s and others who have been cocooning will be able to have visitors for short periods, under strict conditions such as social distancing and everyone wearing gloves and masks and the rest of us can meet friends in groups of up to 6 indoors for a short time with the same precautions as when visiting cocooners. There will also be more people allowed to attend funerals than the current 10 people, but only immediate family still. Some elements of Phase 3 are likely to be brought forward such as larger stores with entrances onto streets can re-open and some children’s playgrounds, if they can be supervised and disinfected regularly, may also reopen. Marts are also re-opening so farmers can sell livestock. Shopping centres are still to remain closed as are restaurants and cafes for all but take-aways, pubs, hairdressers and barbers.

Small changes but a little normality beginning to return.

The slogan is changing from ‘Stay Home’ to ‘Stay Local’, so I’d have to change the blog title anyway but I do feel it has served its purpose now.

Actually we have just heard the distance we can travel for non essential journeys has been extended not to 20km as expected but to anywhere in our own county. Co. Cork is huge so I am not sure that feels like a good or safe move at the moment. It does though allow tourism to move towards re-opening at the end of this month so will possibly help the economy. On top of this we have just heard that instead of 5 phases in the easing out of lockdown we now only have 4 as things are being shifted around. This means one more phase at the end of June and one in July if everything goes alright. One thing that doesn’t change in the current crisis is how fast things change, how often we need to readjust our thinking and how important it is to bend and go with the flow.

I think everyone is a little stunned by the changes to Phase 2 and the relaxing of a lot of the lockdown. I know some small shops and even larger stores that have been caught off guard by being told they can reopen on Monday and who are actually deferring their reopening for some days to get ready properly. It does feel a lot all at once but I am sure we will all survive. No-one says we have to go shopping, drive around the county or rush to book holidays here or abroad after all.

So what has my last week been like apart from this? Much like the others really and I actually expect that to be the same in the weeks ahead even with the new changes to our lockdown. As I said I will continue to choose not to travelling far, use public transport or physically visit shops unnecessarily. I will also continue to meet friends outdoors on the grounds that I don’t want anyone in my house at the moment so wouldn’t expect to be in someone else’s either.

Plans are afoot here to pedestrianise streets in a number of our small towns to give people more space to socially distance, to allow cafes and restaurants to have outdoor seating for take-aways and generally to make it all a bit more comfortable. This would be brilliant but whether any of this happens remains to be seen although funds have been made available to support it so maybe it will.

The amazing weather we had been having has now disappeared with cooler weather and strong winds arriving. It has been incredible being able to eat and have drinks outdoors in the garden most days so I hope summer returns soon. I am much more suited to a mediterranean climate than an Irish one 🙂

It has also been great having the time and space to be outside in the garden, tidying and making some much needed improvements. I have really enjoyed being closer to nature and observing the changes in trees, plants and wildlife, both in the garden and when walking. This is something I always mean to do and which as an OBOD Ovate student I really should be doing, but life usually gets in the way somehow. Last evening I was down in the part of our garden that is given over to wildlife, everything is allowed to do it’s own thing, it is not ‘gardened’ ever and so is a space I watch from afar rather than step in to very often. Yesterday though I stood down in the space and realised that we had inadvertently allowed nature to create a grove of Pine, Apple, Plum, Ash and Hawthorn, all without us doing anything. This is brilliant for me as I now have a grove to work in as well as a stone circle. I intend to hold onto this closeness to nature long after lockdown ends.

We also braved Lidl this week as my husband needed a few things that they had in as specials. Our Lidl is an older store and aisles are narrow so it is harder to move and socially distance than in our newer Aldi. Neither of us felt very comfortable so I think this will be our one and only trip there for the foreseeable future, unless they should get some dumbbells in (which I still need) of course. While we were out I nipped into SuperValu supermarket as it is the only place I can get Ramen and Soba noodles for some reason. This felt ok so it is nice to know that I can shop there for things I can’t get in my shopping delivery. Nice to have some choice without feeling unsafe.

I have just been asked to take part in the trial, track and contact trace app for the virus here so of course have said yes. I needed to answer lots of questions online and now have to access the app and record my symptoms or lack of them daily. This is all anonymous and all data is deleted after the trial but it will at least help get it to a state where it can be unrolled for community tracing. It feels a vital part of our moving forward and living with the virus.

This will be my last blog post in this vein, so this is me signing out. I’ll post when there are any big changes or when I feel the need and am sure I will be blogging about other aspects of my journey in the future, so I will see you all again at some point. Stay safe x

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 10

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 10

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I am not sure how much longer I will keep writing the ‘diary’ now. I began as it felt important to keep a record of these times, what was happening, what I was going through etc for myself so I would never forget what it was like. I seem though to have reached the point where nothing much is changing week by week. I am still staying at home, still keeping within the 5km when exercising and still getting our food shopping delivered.

We are now in the second week of Phase 1 of our easing of lockdown. If all goes well and our R number stays low then further easing will take place on June 8th including the distance for non essential travel being extended to 20km. A good amount of a 20km radius from us will be in the sea, so again I don’t envisage a lot changing here although for others it may as they will be able to reach the beach for the first time in weeks. This is lovely for them but will of course will make it busier and potentially less safe for those of us who live here so it’s not all good.

Some non essential retailers and businesses are likely to be allowed reopen but at the moment I can think of nothing I would like to do less than go shopping for anything that isn’t essential. I certainly can’t imagine choosing to go browsing in clothes shops for example. Just the thought of handling things that others have handled and trying on things that others have tried on, leaves me cold. I was reading in one of the Uk papers about clothes and shoes having to be quarantined if they were tried on or returned and not being able to touch things in shops, if that’s the same here maybe the future of shopping looks nothing like the past. I can’t imagine the little clothes shop in our nearest town, run by a lovely Italian who imports beautiful clothes, being able to survive if it is.

I’m wondering if this is to be the new norm? The feeling of not wanting to do things that previously were the norm for example. Or as the virus has less hold on us will things change again and will we become less cautious? Only time will tell I suppose.

There were no deaths from the virus here on Monday but there are still new cases every day. Lower than they were but still there. The problem is we know county by county the number of new cases but Co. Cork where I live is a big county and includes Cork City. Early on we were told where clusters of infection were but now we never get this information so have no idea whether it is safe to relax our guard slightly or not. It does make things harder than they could be but on the other hand it does stop us being complacent.

This all sounds a bit doom and gloom so I apologise for that. I think I just needed to take the time to reflect a little on where things are at the moment.

Having started this blog post by saying nothing is changing I have since discovered that is not true at all. I could have gone back and rewritten everything but then it wouldn’t have been a true reflection of where I am in any way. So I have left it as it was.

As part of Phase 1 we are allowed to meet up outdoors in groups of up to four people as long as we stay socially distanced and of course stay outside. So, one day this week we went to  lunch in the garden of some friends ,which was really lovely and the first time we have seen anyone, other than in passing by when out walking, for weeks now. I also met a friend for a socially distanced take away coffee. Perched on a wall near the coffee shop we spent a happy half hour catching up. We had been talking throughout on WhatsApp but there is nothing like a catch up in person to make things seem more normal. We had another invitation to call to friends who have bought a new table and chairs so they could have outdoors catchups. We couldn’t go as the shopping delivery was due but it’s there for another time and of course we can also have return visits. This is all a huge change and even though it is not normal in any way we are really lucky to be able to do it and to be blessed with amazing weather so we can comfortably be outside. Long may it last.

Being at home more means I am spending more time noticing changes in the garden, one of which is that we now have a tiny baby bunny. It turned up early in the week and was right down by the conservatory door, all alone. It has entertained us nibbling anything and everything it has come across, things that are growing and leaves on the ground from where we had the hedges trimmed. It’s clearly not fussy. We saw it the other day, half way down the garden with an adult rabbit so it is safe and being looked after.

I have also been amazed at the number of different shades of Aquilegia there are this year, maybe they are like it every year but I am too busy to notice. We have purple and white, pink and white, pale pink, deep maroon, dark pink, plain purple, lilac, white and purple and I am sure some I have missed. They are nearly gone over now but the foxgloves are on their way. Between the two they do kind of take over the garden, dwarfing some of our pots but I would hate them not to be there so am happy to put up with the overgrown areas for the weeks they are in flower and let then seed so we have some next year before tidying up. Were have tried transplanting then to the world area but they aren’t having it at all 🙂 IMG_0723

The other plus of being home and not being able to work is that I have managed to get back to my Ovate training with the OBOD. Looking back I can see I began this 5 years ago and I am at best half way through. The saying that it is the journey not the destination couldn’t be more appropriate than it is here.

Of course one of the highlights this week was the space launch of Crew Dragon which we watched live on television before standing out in the garden to see if we could see it pass over. I saw a flash of light about 8.40pm which would have been right and then at 10.10 we watched the space station fly overhead but sadly didn’t see the Crew Dragon again. Nice to simply know it was there flying high above us though.

And finally to finish on a note of positivity, many of the restaurants and cafes here are opening at weekends to provide take away meals. One such cafe ‘Cracked’, in our nearest town is celebrating opening six months ago. Their food is lovely and we are all delighted to see them still in business having opened and then had to close due to the virus. To celebrate their six months they had an Facebook draw for a picnic box for 4 people and I won it. I never win anything so I am delighted. On the grounds we have seen enough people this week it will feed the two of us for the whole weekend 🙂

The Strangest of Times – Staying at Home Week 9

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I like siting in the garden and quite enjoy doing ‘big’ things like building a new bed, a path or a wall, but hate the fiddly stuff, so as a non gardener I am fascinated by the fact that this year I am lovingly nurturing lettuce. They were purchased, planted in small pots and have now been transplanted to larger ones so they have room to grow. The photo is an early one and some are now big enough for us to be taking leaves for our tea. Some lettuce plants are also in a small bed in the garden and I visit daily monitoring their growth and comparing the potted ones with the garden ones. Now it seems it’s not only lettuce I am growing. A few weeks ago I had a conversation with some friends online about growing coriander from supermarket seeds. We all took a different approach. Both of them bruised their seeds as recommended by his Indian father, one soaked hers and planted hers in a pot, the other planted his straight in the pot. I researched online and placed mine between sheets of wet kitchen towel and waited for them to sprout. After about two weeks of nothing happening I got fed up with watering mine and with nothing happening, threw them away. At the weekend I was sent pictures of both sets of coriander plants, tiny little shoots peaking above the earth. So I have now bruised seeds and have them planted out in pots. Three weeks time all being well I should have tiny shoots appearing. If I am still writing this blog by then I will let you know.

This week I actually managed to do a live online yoga class. Really gentle yoga that worked on the psoas muscle. I have had an ongoing abdominal injury for well over a year now. The ‘it settles, I do something and it goes again’ kind of injury. Nothing serious but annoying enough to stop me doing lots of things such as a lot of exercises in the gym and also now Zumba which I am really sad about. Anyway, the psoas muscle connects to the abdominal muscles and by the end of the session of slow stretching, the right side of my body which is where the injury is, had felt tight at the start had loosened a little. So far so good 🙂 I woke up the next day and was aware my ribs were sore, by the end of the day I could hardly move. I couldn’t get out of the chair, cough or laugh without it hurting. Not an injury but muscles that hadn’t been used for the last months being woken up. So much for slow gentle yoga! I am doing it again as soon as this settles enough for me to move 😉

We are now a few days into Phase 1 of easing the lockdown. Online there were pictures of queues at DIY shops and MacDonald’s which opened 6 of its drive throughs in Dublin. For me though the only difference it made was that the small garage in my village opened and I was able to get my car serviced and so keep the warrantee valid 🙂

I tried to do Yoga Nidra this week, something I usually love but found it hard to settle in to. I am used to doing it at the end of a yoga session and not as a stand alone so this may have been part of it, maybe it wasn’t right for me today, or maybe I am just too scattered to relax in to it at the moment. I’m going to let it go for now and come back to it another time, see how I feel then. Like everything at the moment it seems best to simply acknowledge it, let it go and move on.

On a positive note I have managed to read not one but two books recently which is a huge improvement on how I was a few weeks ago. My concentration seems to be improving as far as reading is concerned at least.

I am still working with Air which is the energy that connects to the mind and so governs the intellect, reasoning, memory, thoughts, knowledge and comprehension. It is interesting that I have now begun working with yoga which focuses a lot on the use of the breath, the inhalation, the exhalation and the sigh, the cleansing breath to release as the body is allowed to settle.

I’m not sure how long my Air phase will last but I am certainly less ‘scratchy’ than I was last week, a little calmer and feeling a bit more like myself.

 

The Strangest of Times – Week 8

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I’m beginning to find it harder to know what to write here now as the days are all starting to merge into one and it is getting difficult to recall what has happened and how I am feeling. This may of course be a bi-product of the lockdown as I read somewhere the other day that confusion and forgetfulness are common when the brain is not being used in the same way as it is used to. Not too sure mine is being used at all really.

So how have I been spending the time? The garden is getting a tidy up in areas that we have been putting off for years. We have actually finished sorting out a large corner in the front of the house. I say finished because we started this about a year ago. The guys that cut our hedges have, for the last two or three years, been itching to get in there and cut it all back. Every year I stop them telling them we have plans. Last year we cut back overgrown shrubs, cleared brambles and ivy and there it sat. Until the last few days that is, when we moved large stones to form a border, raked earth, made a small curved bed and filled the remaining space with gravel to connect it to the drive. Our stone Buddha was moved from the back of the house and ornamental grasses planted in the bed. What was really lovely was that the whole time we were working we were joined by a Robin searching for nesting materials and any bugs we dug up. Nice to be working in harmony with nature.

I think this work in the garden fits with the clearing out and decluttering that was suggested as part of my work with Air 🙂 I kinda think the author, Denise Linn, had rooms in the house in mind but as the garden is part of my home for me it counts. We have also been rescuing plants, shrubs, hedging from overgrown ivy which definitely counts as clearing out.

Although we are still getting home delivery for our shopping we made an Aldi run this week to get some things we can’t get online. No browsing, structured list each according to shop layout, a trolley each, a quiet time of day and we were in and out without a bother. Our wine rack is full, we have nuts, seeds, hand soap and hand cream plus of course a few things that were on neither list of course, but no browsing and nothing from the middle aisle 🙂

I also had to pick up a repeat prescription this week and our pharmacy has a system where you text and they have it ready for you at the pick up time you request. This is a million times better than going in, ordering and having to wait around while it is done so I do hope this is one thing that carries on after the lockdown.

I have been doing some art work this week and am enjoying working on a new piece. It helps that I took a photo that really called me to work with it, so it is something I actually want to do. All our exhibitions are cancelled or postponed for the foreseeable future so I have no purpose for doing this other than that I want to, which is lovely.

Also I have begun to read again, not snippets online but an actual ebook. I get ebooks online from our library and usually get through one every few days. Since the lockdown I have had to renew every book I’ve borrowed at least once. I had only been managing a about a chapter before I lost interest and found my attention wandering, but the last couple of days I am up to four or five chapters which is a huge improvement. It would be nice to stop feeling scattered and unable to concentrate on anything for long, so I really hope this continues. It does feel a step in the right direction.

I have noticed that I am getting a bit ‘frayed at the edges’ and that others seem to be the same. I have been getting a lot of ‘your lockdown is easier than ours’ online because the sea is within our 5km, but this is hard for all of us wherever we live. I think we all need to bear in mind, myself included, that we really have no idea how anyone else is feeling or how they are coping with the lockdown. We still have a long way to go with this.

The weekend saw a welcome break for all of us here with our village community online Bingo. This was 2 hrs of much needed craic. We had all registered online, been sent bingo cards for two games, prizes of chocolates, wine, spirits, vouchers were donated and last night everyone logged on to the youtube channel and the fun began. Prizes for a line and a card and spot prizes throughout, online live chat and a good bit of banter made the time fly.  A lot of work went into the preparation and execution but it would be really good to do it or something similar again.

The coming week sees the first easing of our lockdown. Garden centres, hardware shops, opticians. garages, electrical, phone and computer repair shops and a few other ‘essential’ services can reopen. This is good news as my car is due a service, We can also meet up with four other people outdoors as long as we maintain social distancing. We have pretty much been doing this anyway, by chance, when coming across neighbours or friends when out walking but it’s official now anyway. Golf and tennis are also allowed reopen but only to those within 5km. We are all still staying at home and exercising within 5km apart from shopping, medical etc so this won’t mean any change for me at all except I have had a friend, who lives locally, ask if I’d like to go for a socially distanced walk one day. I will, as a new person to chat to while walking, even if it is from either side of the road, could be nice 🙂

 

Weathering the Storm by Moon Books

Weathering the Storm by Moon Books

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One of the things I have been involved in over the past weeks is writing a contribution for the latest Moon Books Collective ‘Weathering the Storm‘.

This is a collection of articles by over 20 Moon Books authors,all of whom have given their time freely, which we hope will help you to weather the storm we are currently experiencing. It is particularly aimed at those who are isolated or lonely but in fact has something for everyone.

It is available in e-book format only and the cost varies according to the country or outlet but on average is around one pound sterling.

You can download it from most outlets on Friday 15th May or by following this link 

So go on what are you waiting for?

Still undecided? Then just to give you a flavour of what is inside the ebook:

Weathering the Storm

Contents

Part 1 – Psychology Matters
Life in Crisis – Cat Treadwell
Cultivating Resilience in Dark Times – Irisanya Moon Anxiety and Paganism – Nimue Brown
Loneliness: a journey – Elen Sentier
Happy Birthday to Me – Melusine Draco
Transpersonal Therapy; Crisis and Growth – Natalia Clarke Bobbing in the Sea of Uncertainty – Frances Billinghurst Weathering Transformational Trauma – Kenn Day
Staying Strong in a Time of Crisis – Yvonne Ryves
Hall of Mirrors – Imelda Almqvist
Part 2 – Spirituality Matters
The Reconnection Point – Mabh Savage
Everyday Magic for Difficult Times: Healing Our Relationship to Nature, Self, & Our Natural Rhythms – Maria DeBlassie
Help from the Ancestors at times of crisis – Danu Forest
Energy Connection-Energy Healing – Chris Allaun
Spiritual Journaling in Difficult Times – Andrew Anderson
Guided Visualisation: Weathering the Storm – Lucya Starza
Finding Calm in the Chaos: Crystal Allies for Easing Anxiety – Robin Corak Blessings of Solitude – Dorothy Abrams
The Signs of Hope in Urban Nature – Lucya Starza
Part 3 – Practical Matters
In the Kitchen – Rachel Patterson
Plague Diary – Ellen Evert Hopman
Herb Magic – Alaric Albertsson
Growing Sacred Food in a Small Space – Luke Eastwood Soap Making and Self-Care Recipes – Rebecca Beattie Self-isolation Survival Kit – Scott Irvine
Upcycle / Recycle – Rachel Patterson
Internet Resources – Debi Gregory

Now what are you waiting for?

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 7

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I have mentioned in previous blogs that we are doing all of our shopping online and getting it delivered. We have just noticed that it takes us far less time to put away the shopping when it’s delivered than when we shop ourselves. So far we have not worked out why this is. When the shopping arrives it can either be loose in crates or inside a huge plastic bag in the crate. We either lift the bag out and return the crate to the doorstep or take the shopping out of the crate and put it on the floor so we can return the crate. It’s all very slick, no contact with the driver and although it is way more expensive than shopping ourselves in Aldi or Lidl it is safer or at least feels safer. Bit puzzling why putting it away should be quicker though.

The other thing about shopping online is that we do the order the day before the delivery, adding anything to the cart or removing it depending on what we need. What this means is that by the time the delivery arrives I have forgotten what we ordered. This plus the fact that there may be substitutions or missing items means every delivery is a surprise.

Since the start of the lockdown we have been blessed with dry sunny weather, not over warm most days but great for getting out in the fresh air in the garden or for a walk. The last two days though it has been cold and wet and I have realised that I do not feel like doing anything much. I know in theory that we feel better when the sun shines but this is the first time I have noticed the direct affect it has on how much I want to move around and do things.

Luckily the cold and wet didn’t last long and yes, the desire to move and do things returned with the sunshine and relative warmth. I have gone from someone who didn’t like getting soil on her hands and always wore gloves while gardening to someone who has had dirt under her nails. I should say here that that isn’t because I don’t like getting my hands dirty but because I don’t like slugs and worms. The new found dirt is only potting compost but it’s a start 🙂

Outside in my workspace I was drawn to pick up a set of Soul Coaching cards by Denise Linn. I rarely work with cards so when I am drawn to a pack then I know there is a good reason for it and the message is likely to be an important one. The card I drew was Simplicity. I was then guided to find the book Soul Coaching which is a 28 week course working with the elements, that I have worked through before and found useful. On opening it I found the first few weeks work are with Air and the first week’s work is on Simplicity 🙂 Reassessing, clearing out, simplifying things are the key messages so even though at the moment I am not planning to work through the whole course it seems there are clear messages for me about working with Air and doing some clearing out to simplify my life at the moment which in so many ways makes complete sense. It is after all a time where everything is stripped back and less complicated than it has been for a long time but it seems I still have more to do here which is completely ok.

Journeying this week found me burying something in a white box and I had the real sense that even though I couldn’t see what the box contained, I was burying a part of the past, a part I no longer needed which again would fit with the idea of clearing out and letting things go. This is a good thing, whatever it is I am to release as it makes space for something new to come in which is always exciting.

This week brought the beauty of the last Supermoon of the year and unlike during the previous one, one had fairly clear skies and a beautiful view of the moon both in the evening and at dawn the next day. By some miracle I woke for dawn and actually saw it for real. As always I went straight back to sleep but luckily my husband stayed awake and took pictures of the moon and the dawn. so I could experience it virtually  🙂

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We have eight more days of the present lockdown and then on 18th May things should relax a little more. Whether this happens or not depends on the number of cases in the next few days. Deaths are thankfully falling as are the number in ICU but unfortunately  each day brings large numbers of new cases still. The sooner testing the general population starts for real and some proper contract tracing happens the better. It’s the only way that a true picture of how we are doing will emerge.

Although I am walking and still working out a little with resistance bands and light weights, made from water bottles filled with stones, I am clearly  not doing as much as I was in the gym and at Zumba as I have noticed that I am losing muscle tone 😦 I guess this isn’t that much of a problem in the scheme of things but it is interesting how quickly muscle tone can go and maybe an indicator that when this is all over I will actually need to get myself back into the gym instead of playing at it here. Unless that is, by then I really won’t care. As I am writing this I am wondering if maybe this is what I need to let go of and leave behind after all I am not getting any younger and by the time I can safely get back into a gym I will be even older of course. I am sure with the help of Air I will discover this over the coming days or weeks now.

 

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 6

The Strangest of Times – Stay at Home Week 6

 

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I was reading in the paper about some of the things people are looking forward to when this is all over. This is something I have been trying to avoid doing as, at the moment, there is no telling how far ahead ‘when this is all over’ will be and also because I am not at all sure how good it is for my mental health it is to be looking ahead for things that might not be possible, for months, or even years. It also goes against my trying to be in the moment, to focus on the here and now and so at the moment there is nothing I am letting myself dream of in the ‘future’.

Having said all of this, a friend posted a picture on Facebook of the fish and chips that had just been delivered from their local chipper and I immediately thought how lovely a plate of really good fish and chips would be. Simple things perhaps 🙂

I have noticed that when I get stressed at the moment I feel it on a very physical level. My body tenses, I feel the tension in my muscles and my jaw and it takes a while for me to get my body to relax again. This would likely be in keeping with something I saw online where a someone was talking about a trauma release exercise she had been taught and how physically her body reacted when she did it, even though she had been unaware of any trauma. I suspect that by the time this is all over, we will all be holding stress and trauma in our bodies, storing it up bit by bit. On the grounds that it is better to release things sooner rather than later I have been spending time sending Reiki to myself to release any stress and trauma I am holding now.

One thing I must keep in mind is that I have found when I share the fact that I am not ok, that I am finding something difficult or stressful, then the stress actually drops away quite quickly.Ok rant over. Sometimes it is just good to get it out rather than bury it. Burying anger or resentment is something that can make us ill over time so is never a good thing to do. It is also healthier at the moment to get this out, either out loud to someone, or if that is not possible, then in writing somewhere and so release it energetically.

There are many of good things that have come out of the lockdown, one of which is the amount of online classes, workshops and advice to be had, including those on mental health and dealing with stress. I think as time moves on and restrictions keep being extended these will become more and more necessary.

At the moment I am being extremely selective about what I watch and how much time I spend online but am delighted that Earth Soul Yoga, the yoga centre in our nearest town is now doing these. I have already tried the gentle Somatic Yoga session for my spine and am really looking forward to Yoga Nidra. I am rubbish at watching any of these live normally and much prefer to catch up when it suits me but I will make an exception for Yoga Nidra.

My husband, presumably fed up but me saying I should have got some months ago when I saw them in Aldi, has been making me home made ‘dumbells’ this week to use in my ‘gym’. So far I have dumbells of varying weight made from a plastic water bottle, an empty liquid detergent bottle and most recently an empty olive oil container. These are all different weights so will make things a bit more varied for me 🙂

In the past when I could still get materials easily I made shamanic drums. I have several that ‘belong’ to me but for some reason have neglected them for quite some time. This week though I have been drumming a lot and at Bealtaine I lit a fire in the fire pit in my stone circle, called in the spirits and drummed. I am glad to have found my way back to this part of my practice and of course, now I have, cannot understand why I have neglected it for so long.

Another part of my practice that I have found again is my work as an Ovate with the Order of Bards, Ovates and Druids. I am not very far back into it and having been here before, have no idea how long I will stay this time, but it’s nice to be back anyway.

With only 2km to exercise within we have been unable to take our usual walk to the woods that, this time of year are filled with wild garlic and bluebells. Instead we explored the woods in our village which we discovered are full of bluebells. This was such a wonderful surprise and had it not been for the restrictions we would never have found this. IMG_0512

What a difference a few days makes though, in this case from the start of the week to the end. We have now been told our space to exercise will, from Tuesday, be extended from 2km to 5km and those over 70s who have been cocooning have been told they may now exercise outside or go for a drive up to 5km. This feels as if it will give people a little more room to breathe now as the lockdown has been extended for another two weeks. I know people who are already planning the places they will drive to; the woods or the coast to sit and watch the sea for instance. We have also been given a plan of how the lockdown will unfold slowly, so have been given the light at the end of the tunnel, although everything of course depends on the virus being under control.

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.