The first day of my lockdown was editing a book of short stories I had written for the umpteen time. By noon I was no further into this goal as I kept checking my phone for updates. Day two was spent working outdoors. I was out opening bags of topsoil and mulch by eight am. I put in a small garden in one corner of the yard as I did some laundry, made a salad and trimmed back a rambling bouganvilla. By one o’clock, I was exhausted and mildly surprised that I could no longer push my body to do anything but lie on the couch and scroll through my phone. Day three found me determined to write something new, but I knew it was worthless as I read several other blogs that I followed and told myself I would never write anything of worth this day. I brewed espresso, then decided to clean out my office. This worked well for an hour in, but in the process I found I was running out of colored folders to save and categorized all the papers that I couldn’t be without. I couldn’t go out, so I went into the kitchen and made myself a bowl of pasta with cups of cheese, two egg yolks, and lots of pepper. This mid-afternoon snack left no room for any more physical activities other than the couch, a book, and my cat sleeping blissfully on my stomach. Day four, I had toast and tea, read the headlines of several papers, and before I lost myself in the virus-vortex of news, I silenced my phone, put on some mystic music and did thirty minutes of yoga followed by twenty minutes of breathwork and meditation.
To sum it up it took me four days to realize that what I needed in these trying times was to slow down. My frantic attempt at losing myself in activities was exhausting me but also winding me up.
So, each morning will begin like today. Now I can relax and listen to my muse.
John Shinavier, MA