You're probably sick to death of talking about covid and in fact actively avoiding content related to it. I am aware I should have written this blog two weeks ago!
I was in isolation shortly before NZ went into isolation officially. I had already been through my storming into new norms at home phase and I was so sleep deprived and grumpy and more than willing to tell anyone "just you wait" until you're in the thick of it. It's not nice!
Like most, the first few days lots of banter and memes about this whole new world and fascination with the different management styles across continents. I was deeply saddened in the beginning about the significant disruptions, fear, job losses and new realities for people close to me as well as people on a broader spectrum. I withdrew to manage overwhelming feelings. And, like many I looked for broader meanings.
As well, when you don't have your usual coping or avoiding mechanisms you have to face some of your own more difficult feelings too. One podcast ("This Jungian Life") talked about facing your shadow side whilst in your "tower of isolation." Think about it, it is a very very unusual situation. Your typical avoidance strategies are not allowed, e.g. walking into spaces where you can "do" things, the gym, hanging out at the library or park, driving places, being at the beach or something, shopping, talking in person to friends, mulling about, coffee or lunch engagements ..
Cabin fever. Yep no more needs to be said there. I started on Tik Tok. It was like I found this place on the internet where people without responsibilities hang out all day and have fun. I liked that. Lightening things up and young people always know how to have fun. Seems like LOTS of other parents have now found their way here too 😵🤣✌️
I digress, but I really did wonder if in some respect we had a grief process. I noticed in myself initial stages which would relate to shock and wonder about what was ahead, denial, bargaining, acceptance... and he rest maybe yet to come. I for sure noticed this in the collective (the initial banter, memes, chat, energy felt like the shock phase). We haven't had anything like this since the plague. The impacts are currently distressing and in the future unknown.
But it did remind me of something that our intermediate school beat into us. Memorable obviously. It was virtues, the 5C's. Caring, consideration, and I can't remember the rest. Long story short, this feels like a 5 C's moment. We feel a lot, and this throws people into the depths of compassionate actions. Too many to name here in fact. Many people have acted on or received acts of compassion in a variety of shapes and forms. When it goes back to basics it is a reminder of the values and virtues that help us work together and social beings. It has been a sharp reminder, and how long will it stay front of mind?
I bet I am not alone feeling strangely more connected to others in this experience. A shared experience is always an opportunity to be a bonding experience. Here, we have had a lived experience en mass and together we take on the lessons learned.
Its been helpful to have people in the media provide tips to help salvage sanity .. one was the sentiment learned from a sailor, who in small quarters with one other always was conscious only to say things that added energy to the boat, nothing that stole energy. It helped a lot he said and it makes sense. But that wasn't for me right now. I've had to complain my heart away. I couldn't stop when I was feeling super bummed being locked in with the kids for so long. It was a vent I needed to open. I apologised to my biggest bubble buddy. So I did it with awareness, and still do. But for me, I could not hold the pent up tension in! So its always courses for horses...
The unknown time frames for level three are agitating me. I was disappointed. I thought more would change so my expectations were smashed and I had been working towards getting to (what became an artificial) target. But I'll regroup and we will all move on for the better.
Those that do non-speaking retreats say that it takes a long time to quiet the mind, and it all happens in good time and the transition is monumental personally. I have had definite moments of appreciating a slower pace. Lessening the burden of travel time, getting ready to go out with the kids so frequently provided more empty space but there is a large current that pulls me back to what I know. Let's see where this all goes.
Wishing you well with compassion.