Archives for posts with tag: be here now

By now, you’ve probably found yours, right? Productive distractions that pass the time during pandemic “stay at home” orders, or worse yet, during actual quarantine. A productive distraction staves off boredom, and prevents looming chaos from overtaking everything. Mine has been my aquarium, generally, and books. My Traveling Partner has been focused on games and gaming, and tweaking the pc that drives that experience. For us, it’s been helpful that we each have our own “thing” to focus on, the result being we generally have something fun to talk about, any time.

Consideration matters so much right now, for those who are “sheltering in place” with or among other people. Tempers can fray so easily. Letting small shit stay small helps a lot. Mostly it’s all small shit. It’s the letting go that requires the verbs. lol

…My experience this morning “feels different”… I am typing on a different keyboard. My steady regular keyboard is badly in need of cleaning, and I disconnected it to do that. My Traveling Partner said “here, try this one“, and it remains in place, even this morning, loyal favorite forgotten over there, by the stack of things-yet-to-do. This one feels similar-but-different, softer, somehow. Tolerant of my heavy key-stroke, but quiet. Tactile, without being very “click-y”. The strike of each key is vaguely muffled. The “click” is more a “tap” than a click. The keys respond to my touch so fast that I feel as if I am typing “as fast as I think”. It’s nice. Also… the numbers on each key light up. (lol Why does that delight me so?) I enjoy the sensation of typing on the new keyboard. (How many millions of key strokes have I dropped on my old keyboard in the past 6 years of heavy use?) I decided yesterday to stick with this one, and programmed the keys to be illuminated in a lovely dark-ish lavender hue, which changes to a bright greenΒ  with each keystroke, quickly fading to teal as I continue to type. So fun. πŸ˜€

I am distracted by the novelty of typing on a new keyboard. It’s a pleasant distraction.

We meant to watch a movie together yesterday… we spent the day on our projects, and in between (and later on) watched tech videos of various sorts. It was a delightfully productive and fun day together. I mention it because, seriously, this “life in the time of pandemic” gets pretty fucking “real” sometimes, and it has made a lot of difference to my experience to find moments of joy and delight, and to savor those, rather than sit around staring into the maw of media talking heads regurgitating COVID-19 content. I’ve no idea whether we’ll watch that movie tonight… I know we’ll find something fun to share, whether or not it is a movie isn’t very relevant to the shared experience of joy and love. It’s just one way to get there.

What if I were alone, though, how would I “find moments of joy” then? Probably still in the pleasure of caring for my aquarium(s), and reading still more books, honestly. πŸ™‚ I don’t find myself all that complicated, generally, I suppose. Small things delight me (a new fish, a new keyboard, a favorite book), and I entertain myself pretty easily (books, writing, painting, gardening, aquarium keeping… it’s a long list). I fret for a moment, trying to imagine being truly bored right now, and what it would take to lift myself from that boredom. What would I do? I think I would still read books; I can’t really imagine what it would be like to be someone who “doesn’t read”. Lots of libraries are making audio books available for free, too… it is a great time to catch up on reading. lol Online learning? Plenty of that to be had, too. Online travel? There are some very interesting documentaries and streams of a variety of exotic locations. Museums have streamed walk-throughs of their collections, and those are available online, too. Not so interested in someone else’s words, thoughts, or perspective? Pen & ink, my friend – say what you’ve got to say. Self-publish on Amazon. Become the author of the narrative someone else will read. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee, taking a moment to appreciate the grocery delivery service that keeps me supplied, the farm workers who harvested the beans, the shipper who transported them, the roaster who roasted them, the distributor who supplied them to the grocery store… How can any one of us not recognize how interconnected we all are? We are all in this together (even though we are each having our own experience). Even our own individual experience is built upon more than the mere sum of our own individual decision-making; there is, too, the matrix of coincidences and circumstances that is the combined force of what happens, and what is chosen, out of reach of our own consideration, in every moment. It’s not all “about us”, regardless who we are. This is a great cup of coffee. In a very real sense, I did not “make it all by myself” – all I did was grind the beans, and pour water over them. A rather small contribution to the outcome, frankly. lol

I find myself appreciating how fortunate I am in these challenging times. I miss my friends, though. I miss brunch on Saturdays. I miss shopping together over a lunch break and laughing about something silly. I miss dinners out. I miss strolling a crowded farmer’s market. I miss “community”. Yep. Even me. I do miss the presence of other people. Part of feeling fortunate right now, is about simply not being alone in this. Again, I find myself feeling fortunate. I remind myself to write letters, emails, and send texts to friends. We really are all in this together, and distance is not always about miles. πŸ™‚

Another day of living in the time of pandemic. Another opportunity to begin again. πŸ™‚

It’s a lovely morning for gratitude. Yesterday, too. My Traveling Partner said something about it, yesterday, and it still resonates with me, this morning; we are fortunate. I can work from home, and still have my job. He’s here with me, and we’re sheltering in place and social distancing, together. We’ve got what we need, generally speaking, to get by, with reasonable comfort, day-to-day. The things we are going without, are endurable inconveniences. We’re very fortunate.

…This will be true even after the toilet paper runs out…

…Realistically speaking, a lot of that “good fortune” is a matter of literal “luck”, and timing as much as any specific planning or preparedness. I sip my coffee and fill up on feeling grateful; it could be so much worse. It is, for a lot of people (maybe you…). The economic impact is real. The impact to human wellness and quality of life is real. The convenient delivery services available to some, are not affordable for all. Some people don’t even have a roof over their heads, and are forced to “shelter in place” on parking lot surfaces marked out by tape. Some people are actually trapped on cruise ships waiting around for the virus to catch up with them. Scary times.

When I start feeling restless, cooped up here at home, I remind myself how much this matters, and how fortunate I actually am. I sip my coffee quietly, appreciating how much harder this would be, if the coffee ran out, if the water was shut off, if the power got cut, if my partnership was unhealthy or my relationship an abusive one… This is a morning for gratitude.

I’m also grateful for the artists, performers, entertainers of all sorts, who continue to do what they do, making it available on YouTube, or a variety of other streaming services and web sites. Grateful for the connectivity that puts those things within reach. I’m grateful for unread books, and favorites worth re-reading.

…I’m grateful for love.

It’s enough to be able to begin again.

Well… literally a quarter of the way through this year, and possibly the one reliably positive outcome of this “social distancing” thing is the very firm limit it places on April foolery. I sip my coffee and appreciate that, for a moment, and listen to my Traveling Partner snore softly in the other room. I woke feeling rested, and contented. It’s a nice start to the morning. Yesterday seemed like a very good day, in this strange new “normal”.

Pandemic life. Groceries delivered. Supplies of this and that run low unexpectedly, sometimes turning out to be damn near irreplaceable. Stepping out onto the deck feels like “really getting out”. Things that have been online activities for a really long time blur with things that have never been online until recently. Food delivery services deliver from damned near every imaginable restaurant in the area, small, large, or exclusive. Hell, even the local pet store will deliver live animals, and anything to care for those. I mean, while delivery services last.

Seems to be a sad truth that some business that insist their employees continue to work, also persist in treating them poorly. That doesn’t seem like it’s going to turn out well…

I sip my coffee and scroll through the news, mostly without stopping; it’s all repeats of rephrasing of reshares of some distant original content. I try to hold myself to a personal commitment to read any given story only once, preferably the original. Doing so seriously cuts down on the repetition, and reduces my stress. πŸ™‚

…It’s still so early (in the morning, I mean). I nudge myself away from my work tools. Too soon. πŸ™‚

I take some time to watch fish swim.

 

The new aquarium next to my desk lights up slowly. I smile appreciatively, and enjoy the moment, watching the fish begin to “wake up”, thinking thoughts about “what do fish dream about?” and immersing myself in this “now” moment of morning “me time”. It is a precious routine, and I work to preserve it. I give myself over to consideration of the long-term plan for this tank. The aesthetic, the inhabitants, the purpose. The three tiny thugs who live in it now were not ideal choices for my notion of a happy tank, but I enjoy their antics in spite of lacking fondness for their bullying. I make notes on my “to do list” for aquarium maintenance (water testing, pruning, things like that) for this week, reminding myself “not today, though”; it’s going to be a busy one, and I know I’ll be tired at the end of it.

…Self-care still matters (matters more?) in this time of pandemic. πŸ™‚

I sip my coffee and glance at the time… there’s a work day ahead of me, and it’s time to begin again.

 

Another Monday morning, and yes, a Monday morning during the time of pandemic. There will be about 1 in 7 such days, for now until whenever life returns to some semblance of normalcy. Where are you finding your joy in the spaces between news articles about COVID-19? You’ll definitely want to find a bit of joy, the weight of this health crisis is pretty significant, and in spite of that, there is still purpose in life, still small delights to experience, and still a vast expanse of human experience to explore. πŸ™‚

If the circumstances are getting to you, and you have not already tried this next practice, maybe give it a go: breathe. Meditate. (You’ve got time at home to practice!) Take a step back from the 24/7 news cycle. Start a “sanity project” that takes up a great deal of your cognitive bandwidth, and engages your creative side in a positive way. Improve your quality of life – with what you have on hand. It’s challenging, for sure. It’s something, though, and I’m pretty sure we all need something. πŸ˜‰

None of us are immune to the pandemic facing us all. Be well. Be safe. Wash your hands regularly. Practice social distancing. Stay home. If you’re thinking you’re doing “well enough”, please reconsider; approach the circumstances with a beginner’s mind, trust that there is more you don’t yet know, and do better than your best. I remind myself, too. I could do better.

The weekend was a lovely one, in spite of the pandemic. In spite of the rainy spring weather. In spite of feeling confined at home. There’s not much to say about it. I’m certainly getting better at fitting meditation time into my day-to-day routine. πŸ™‚ I enjoy spending time watching fish swim in the aquarium, and the time I’ve been spending on maintaining it, and improving it, has been worthwhile, and satisfying. No easy distractions from the things I could be doing at home that need to be done. The results are pretty good. πŸ™‚ The stress level at home surprisingly well-managed.

…Another Monday… another opportunity to begin again. πŸ˜€

Another morning in “the time of pandemic”, another good cup of coffee, another work day (for me), and it feels simultaneously very ordinary, and very peculiar. The news articles don’t ease up, not even a little, and probably with good reason; the more ordinary any of this feels, the less likely people will take it seriously – and it’s very serious. Take care of. your health, you precious, strange, delightful, unique human being, you. There’s no one else quite like you, you know, and we’re all in this together. πŸ™‚

As more people do get tested for COVID-19, more people are confirmed to have it. This should not come as a surprise. I encourage you to also consider how vast the numbers of people with no/minimal symptoms who do have it (and are contagious with it) may be roaming around assuming they – and every hapless bystander they may approach – are “fine”. It’s not the obviously sick people I find myself most puzzled by; we know we should stay home when we’re sick, right? It’s the less obviously sick people that cause me most concern. American culture is so deeply infected with the odd notion that only the highly productive among us have value (while also often being underpaid, and devalued monetarily by businesses, primarily to improve the bottom line at no great value to those underpaid employees) – we don’t want to yield a single work day to our own health and self-care. Crazy. Literally crazy. I’m terrified by the reflexive recent calls to “go back to work” and “back to normal” – this is not a normal time, and the pretense of normalcy may get a lot of people killed.

It is what it is. I breathe, exhale, relax – and let that go, for now, with self-reminders to remain “socially distant”, for real. Honestly, though, aside from the working from home piece, it’s not all that different for me. I tend not to “gather in groups”, generally. lol

…Why does “piece” look spelled incorrectly? Weird.

I consider the work day, in the context of the week in progress. I consider my current “sanity project” during this challenging time; my aquarium has been a source of fun, of work, of further developing project management skills, of connecting with my Traveling Partner… well-chosen for a balance of interesting details, required planning, and effort. His project seems to provide him similar value, although it is very different. We share the details in conversation, and give each other a hand with things that need “an extra pair of hands” (I could not have moved the aquarium to the other side of the fireplace, for example, without his help, and practical thinking).

Do you have a project to occupy your thoughts? A good book to read? Are you spending quality time with yourself?

I sip my coffee, feeling mostly content, in spite of a news feed that very much reads like the banner headlines from a mobile game called “Plague“. It’s a little too real world right now… Here’s a video of an actual doctor talking about playing the game.

I glance at the time. Still time to meditate before work. More important than ever. πŸ™‚