It’s easy to find internet advice on how to stay sane right now—keep a routine, make sure you exercise and meditate, cook healthy meals, go for walks. It’s all excellent advice and I’m taking it, for the most part. But the posts resonating with me the most are the ones giving all of us permission and a nudge to just be. Sure, this time is an opportunity to write a novel or finally do a hundred pushups—but it’s also an opportunity to stop thinking, stop doing. To just stop.
Most of us have been in the rat race or the hamster wheel or whatever rodent metaphor you prefer for our entire adult lives. We’re rewarded for our productivity beyond all else, and now we’re being bombarded with messages on how to work more productivly from home. And even if we’re unable to be productive in our usual ways, some advice is to shift productivity to canning fruit or scrubbing the house top to bottom. Productivity is our norm.
But can we step back and acknowledge that we are not living in normal times? We are living in a fog. And we have a need to hold ourselves, cradle ourselves, be with ourselves, so that we can continue, one breath to the next, to be.
The connection we need
I’m so, so grateful for the ways we can connect with people we can’t touch. Connection is so important right now; but at the same time, sometimes the connection we need is with ourselves.
It’s a connection we can’t necessarily find if we’re preoccupied with work or another task. To connect with what’s way deep inside me, I might spend a whole day staring out in space and looking at the rain falling today, and the walls, and eat some soup, and be unable to do much more. And that’s all right. If I want to sleep for twelve hours, that’s all right. And if I come out the other side of it feeling no more connected to my true self than before, that’s all right too.
Honoring our grief
I want to make space for all the grief we feel right now.
We are grieving the people who are dying and the people, many more, who will die. We are grieving the loss of our businesses, the loss, perhaps, of our houses, our livelihoods, our way of life. And in order to make space for the grief, I need to take advantage of this pause and actually pause. But maybe a reminder, right? For folks to take advantage of this pause and actually pause.
The other stuff
Of course we all have other stuff. Many of us are still working in some capacity and caring for children or elders and cooking and taking care of the house. After a meltdown last week, I am going to try to give myself one day a week—I was initially thinking Sundays, but the actual day doesn’t really matter in this strange version of our world—to take off completely. Not to catch up on laundry or try a new recipe or get the deck pressure washed. I’m staying in pajamas, eating leftovers, and doing nothing at all that’s “productive.” I’m even keeping the TV off, though I know people with kids will likely find that impossible—and that’s okay! For me, I want to minimize technology and just kind of be a bump on the log with the grief, or blankness, or horror, or whatever I’m feeling move through me.
The planet sure is getting a rest right now. A long, huge savasana. It’s just breathing. And maybe we can take a lesson from that. Maybe we can try a collective savasana.
But Not if You Don’t Want To
This is what’s working for me. But if your productivity is helping you stay optimistic or you’re glad to be finally mucking out the basement, that’s perfect. I’m holding space for all our ways of being right now, even as I work towards Just Being.