I’ve been spending far too much time on Facebook over the past couple of days. Found myself in a couple of scroll-holes, getting more stressed by the minute. It’s not healthy. I’m not even thinking about going anywhere near Twitter. The horror! Instagram isn’t as bad but social media in general is awash with “hilarious” Corona-virus memes ranging from the Great 2020 Toilet Paper Shortage to wine and Netflix fueled self-quarantine. That’s humans for you…laughing in the face of adversity! And here I was a couple of weeks ago, planning to break my TV habit in order to spend more time writing.
As a writer, I love the idea of 14 days of uninterrupted writing time, but I fear the reality for most people will be far from ideal. I can’t imagine the mental health ramifications for people forced to spend 14 days in isolation, or worse, with their families, not to mention the financial pressure, and the health impact for those who actually contract the virus. I don’t even want to think about the potential for problem gambling, drug use, and domestic violence to spike.
Everything feels so uncertain. I feel bad for all the peeps saying that 2020 was going to be their year, after such a crappy 2019. It’s a surreal time on planet earth, that’s for sure but not unprecedented. Our ancestors have suffered plagues, wars, and famines. Surely we should have been good at this kind of stuff by now?
Right now we have unprecedented opportunities to level up, to work on our evolution, maybe to wake up but definitely to grow up. (If you want to read more about this have a look at this book preview.) I am so glad I have a meditation practice. Seeking relief from suffering is one of the main reasons people turn to meditation. I found meditation after my first husband died. I just had to try to make some meaning out of something so senseless. I really believe that life has no inherent meaning, just the meaning we bestow upon it.
Back in those days we had to buy cassette tapes. I know a lot of people poo-poo Shirley, and a lot of people poo-poo guided meditation – even from some quarters of the so called ‘new age’ community. As far as I am concerned, any meditation is good meditation if it can get you to stop and concentrate on your breathing for a few minutes.
Now I use a combo deal of different meditation practices from my mantra and Vipassana through to Metta and other guided meditations. I really like Davidji’s beautiful voice (find him on Spotify – OMG do his Heart opening meditation and then go about your day. It will change your life!) and any Metta meditation on insight timer. They’re all good. If I could find my original tape of chakra meditations I’d be rapt, but then I don’t have a tape player any more.
Meditation is one thing, but actually sitting down to write is a whole other bag of fish. I am writing a fairly frivolous romantic comedy set in a chateau in France. Not exactly serious art. But I want to get it finished. Hey it might even cheer a few people up! I am not sure I want to work on my post-apoc thriller right now… maybe I’ll work on The Circle next. It’s a heroine’s journey and easily the most serious story I’ve ever written. It deals with the shadow, climate change and family estrangement. Happy days…
Creative pursuits feel either completely pointless or utterly essential in times of crisis and right now I’m teetering between the two. I’m sure in a couple of weeks everything will go back to “normal” and we’ll all be looking back on this time shaking our heads at the toilet paper nonsense.
This too shall pass.
I have hope, at least. Those of us lucky enough to have a roof over our heads and food in our bellies can look forward to normalcy but for some people, normal isn’t so great. It will be a new normal, just as life after any loss is never the same. Hopefully, we will all be kinder to each other, hopefully, we will all be more generous with our time, knowing how easily it can all be taken away.