These DaysApr 08, 2020
These days are at the tip of my tongue. Life’s done a 180 almost overnight it seems. The life that I’ve always known feels like a distant past and this new reality is surreal. I can’t help but think: So what’s the future? Is it one of doom or dare I say, a better beginning?
Waking up symptom-free feels like a gift these days but I’m left aching for those days when I’d have something to look forward to. A birthday celebration, date night at our favourite restaurant, exciting meeting in town, “paint your own pottery” nights at Crock A Doodle or even hanging out with the fam in my parents’ backyard pool. This feels like heartbreak every single day. I reach for my phone and scroll down my inbox, searching for the meditation series I’d signed up for on hope in a world of uncertainty and press the play button. I need this as much as I need air these days. While not an avid meditator, if there was ever a time to become one, it’s now. I’d say it’s been doing the job at keeping me sane. I tell myself that before we know it, it’ll pass and life will be back to normal. Or rather, we’ll be in the throes of a new normal.
As I enter my kitchen early morning, waves of comfort wash over me. It’s the heart of my home in the best of times but these days, even more so. Unintentionally, I’ve created mini apothecaries, some solely for myself and some, for everyone else. They’re filled with all things plant medicine. Think tinctures (dream weaver, creation, rose elixir), salves (healing balms and chest rubs), and sprays (throat spray with fiery elements) for immune support and to heal broken hearts. And of course, crystals, Palo Santo sticks, incense, tapered candles, evergreen leaves and fresh flowers also adorn the displays. These tiny spaces summon me as I make my way down the mahogany wooden floors at the brink of dawn, past the dining room farm table and towards the kitchen doorway. I see that the dining table is over flowing with coloured markers, notebooks, tapered beeswax candles, fresh flowers and conversation starter decks, remnants of light gatherings and laughter. I make a mental note to rekindle family gatherings with a whole lotta love.
Pausing in the space between the hallway and the kitchen, my eyes stray to the sight directly in front of me. Through my kitchen patio doors, I’m made aware of the day’s forecast because nature is fully visible. I give thanks to the blue skies, the squirrel that whizzed past me along my back yard fence and the wet soil which is clearly hungry for warmer days. Turning away from the vision, I head to the back of the kitchen where I spend most of my time these days, next to the stove. To the right of it is my coffee station and to the left of it, one of my many apothecaries. It just occurs to me that I’m in my element right here, every single day. It’s almost as if I willed it to be so and in that willing, unknowingly created a retreat.
My mind wanders and I gently bring it back to present. Normally, I make space for daydreaming as I go about my morning routine, savouring each step and immersing myself into the rhythms that I’ve created for myself through my rituals. But these days, my thoughts pull me outside of myself and lead me towards fear. I often catch them before they spiral into a place I don’t want to go but sometimes, I’ll feel them in the pit of my stomach or as tightness in my chest. These thoughts rob me of the peace I’d worked so hard to cultivate and remind me that everything is subject to change.
Returning to the sweetness of my coffee making, I search for my favourite brand of organic cream in my fridge while taking inventory. When did I become that person? Everything is about the grocery list these days. Lists of the grocery stock consume me night and day-in my mind, on paper, in my phone, on the chalkboard. If you could press the pause button on my life, you’d see what I mean. All around me are words like….
Washing machine buds
….and more. Just when I’ve caught my breath and think that we’ve got enough, no it’s not true. There’s always more. Scarcity is a scary feeling especially when the news tells you that the food supply will run out. I return to my coffee. I treat myself well and purchase only the best of coffee beans but what felt like luxury merely a month ago now feels like a necessity. Returning to the basics as a means to survival, physically and mentally, keeps me on my toes quite literally.
I slowly make my way up the stairs and return to the quiet of my bedroom. With a steaming cup of coffee in my favourite mug, I look for my elderly cat who seems to be coping with all this craziness in her own way. She’s 16 and coincidentally, has barely been eating in the recent weeks. Makes me wonder what feels she’s been harbouring inside. I eagerly welcome her company on my bed these days whereas in the past, I’d let her meow outside my door until I was ready to share my precious morning with others. Looking down on the lichen coloured carpeted floor next to my bed, I stare at the pile of books in front of me. Strangely I don’t feel drawn to them anymore. Instead, I pull out my laptop, log onto Netflix and binge watch Grey’s Anatomy….so unlike me. But then again, unprecedented times calls for unprecedented behaviours. Anything goes seems to be the motto across the board these days.
The house feels eerie as my children continue to sleep into the afternoon. Our sleep cycles are reversed. They sleep late and wake up late. I sleep early and wake up early. This little system we have going on serves us well right now. I tip toe around the house even well into the day lest I wake these little, and not so little, buggers up. Mothering has taken on a whole new meaning in my world these days. I never signed up for this is what I say to myself all the time but feel guilty for feeling this way. Gratitude gets the better of me and I remember how lucky I am that they are safe, sound and happy. Happy is key y’know? Happy hormones boost our immune systems and I hold onto that like gold. When they awake, they move through the day as rhythmically as I do. There is predictability in our days and a structure that we didn’t intentionally create but it’s definitely there. For now, it works. Until it won’t. I’m getting the message here- learn to expect the unexpected.
I put down my cup of coffee on the grey and white ceramic coaster beside my bed and the words, “Step by Step”, catch my eyes. Trying to recall what I was thinking when I bought this coaster from one of the many arts and crafts shows that I used to love to peruse in the days when social distancing was unheard of, I can’t remember. What I know though is that it makes a whole lot of sense now. One day at a time and one step at a time is the only thing I’ll have control over these days. Staying in the present allows me to choose hope over fear, over and over again. Repetition works wonders in this case.
Writing down my list of my “to-dos”, zoom calls, menus, areas/rooms to de-clutter in this massive house, school schedules, and work deadlines, I notice my breath has started to slow down. It’s funny how something as mundane as making a list can be calming. Perhaps it has a lot to do with unloading and releasing. My body is no longer carrying around the unnecessary and why should it when I can easily put pen to paper. In fact, writing is cathartic in times like this. These days I feel attached to my writing like a newborn to her mama. Grateful that life can be this simple if we allow it to be. My being is shifting. The shift is subtle but it’s also bold and loud at the same time. Funny how change can have so many faces.
Curling up closer to my relaxed cat and pulling the covers over me while balancing a laptop, I return to feeling restless. Recognizing this feeling as fear, I realize that it’s time for another cup of coffee, another moment, another step towards the unknown. I fully embrace hope because today is a new day and I get another chance at being present in the moments.