What Am I Missing?

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Today is the eighth day of what is called the lockdown — a closure of all but essential businesses. We have been asked to stay home or at least away from others.

Our lockdown is not as strict as the one in Greece. A friend in Athens is not allowed to leave her residence except with permission, not even to walk the dog. She orders groceries online and has them delivered.

It’s the unknown that is scaring everyone. Will your loved ones stay healthy? How will I pay bills when I’m not working? Will the pandemic peak and then start to decline with warmer weather or continue to infect people? How long will it take our global economies to recover? Those are some of the questions many are thinking about.

I ask myself often, How do you feel about what is happening? I grieve, of course, for those who have lost loved ones and feel compassion for the anxiety this situation is causing. I’d like to believe that the severity of what is occurring will begin to turn around soon, if for no other reason than life circumstances continually change, and hopefully this crisis will not behave any differently.

I work from home, so the isolation measures are not a burden. I like seeing a blank calendar. Lockdown gives me permission to relinquish some of my previous responsibilities. I’ve been sleeping and dreaming more than usual. Besides work, I walk, read, write and communicate with friends. I’m enjoying daily walks on our country road or near the ocean, alone or with my family.

What I am missing is close contact with people. Now when I go out for food, only a few look me in the eyes and say hello. Everyone keeps a buffer-zone bubble, like you are a potential threat. I miss feeling free to put my hand on a friend’s arm or shoulder or hug them. I wonder if the current fear of touching will have long-reaching consequences that will affect whether people want to receive Reiki, even after the scare has passed.

I miss not giving Reiki in person. This week we had our first Reiki share over Zoom. Except for distant sessions, all my Reiki activities have come to a halt — sessions, teaching classes, hosting Reiki shares and Healing Intention Circles at our house, and volunteering at the cancer center. I continue to give Reiki to myself and my husband and send it out for world healing.

The rest of my normal schedule is not missed for now. For the past five or ten years I have been edging steadily towards a simpler life. Our current situation gives me an excuse to do so even more. What do I really need? Food is readily available; I am thankful for that. In other countries, this is not so. My sister-in-law sent me photos of near-empty store shelves where she lives in northern Spain. We are lucky here in many ways.

Unfortunately, we must wait it out to see, and hope and pray for a quick end to this world crisis. In the meantime, we have time to reflect and to step back from our busy lives. Perhaps we can go forward more conscious of how we really want to spend our remaining years. I believe when we are forced to slow down because of an illness, an injury or something like what is happening now, it gives us space to see how our lives are really functioning and consider changes to make them more in line with our true selves.

Andy Serwer, editor-in-chief of Yahoo Finance wrote in an article, “It’s not too soon to think about [how we live the rest of our lives], in fact it’s responsible to do so — even though the virus has yet to peak — if only to take our minds off the never-ending river of difficult news. We can’t go back to a world before coronavirus. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we ended up in an even better place?”

For me, I’ve had time to contemplate changes. I like the increased simplicity and the opportunity to make do with what I have. I think I’ll be slower to fill my calendar to the extent it was before. I like my life as it has been — scaled way back.

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