It’s day 7. We’re a third of the way. I find myself doing an involuntary mental audit every morning as I open my eyes. Knowing the day of the week is no longer instinctive. Awakening is strangely dream-like. The natural biorhythms of the world have changed, and my mind and body have sensed that. My friend posted a meme that summed it up: ‘For those who have lost track. Today is Blursday the fortyteenth of Maprilay’. That made me smile. It reminded me that despite not auditioning for the part, we’re all in this unrehearsed reality show together. Fortunately, Netflix has confirmed there will only be a Season 1 if we all stay at home, so please – stay at home.
As an aside, and speaking of Netflix, we had a moment of intense panic when we thought our TV remote batteries were running low. It was just a lag, but enough to get our hearts racing and our eyes large and round. What if batteries aren’t considered an essential item? My mind instantly began rocking in the corner. When I bravely take on the next grocery run carefully, avoiding fellow masked escapees, I pray batteries have been displayed alongside lettuce, kale, and cucumbers. They, too, can wilt and die.
So, how has week 1 been? I had a little cry yesterday (I’m an empath), but it’s been 90% really good.
We’ve been good, but not exemplary about sticking to our exercise routine. Once or twice, the early evening yoga session has been intercepted by the beckoning clink of ice-cold wine and philosophical conversations about changing the world. But, by far, the greatest challenge to our exercise has been Ed, our Great Dane. He thinks we’ve lost the plot. Yesterday, we did an online Body Coach session, followed by Yin Yoga. During Yin, which requires holding poses for as long as 5 minutes, I heard Ed sorrowfully whimpering. When I opened my eyes, he was staring down at me, jowls hanging, and tail curled so far between his legs that it was touching his belly. I think he thought I was dead. Fair assumption. I was after all in Corpse pose. I had to pause and sprinkle reassuring kisses before he finally lay on the couch, awaiting an end to the weirdness that had besieged his humans. Watching his mom and dad do Happy Baby pose must have left him visually scarred too. Poor thing.
I’m sure many can relate to a significant portion of life now revolving around the kitchen. We’ve had to remind ourselves that while flattening the curve, care should be taken not to round the curve of our bellies. Eating has become an activity rather than an occasion. Even I have become interested in creating meals. This strikes surprise, closely followed by fear, into the hearts of my family. Let’s just say, even the dogs ask my husband to feed them. But honestly, I’ve created some meals I’m pretty proud of. I’m not saying that chickpeas on avocado is complicated (see visual for recipe), but the flavours were delightful. We’ve become more mindful eaters now that just popping out to the store is no longer an option. We’ve become more creative and resourceful. We are less wasteful thanks to the required meal planning. Overripe bananas are no longer tossed into the bin. Instead, before they doth protest, they are thrown into a blender or made into banana bread.
The mind. #AfricaRockTheLockdown.
As a writer, I draw inspiration from the world around me. From the things I do, the new experiences I embrace, and the people I meet or observe. When your world suddenly becomes your home, and you’ve met everyone inside it, I was anxious that I would feel uninspired and have little to write about. That infamous writer’s block was poised to hit me square on the temple. But actually, quite the opposite happened.
My inspiration arrived unannounced when a freshly oiled door was flung open. I was invited to step inside and join the 10-member-strong team of #AfricaRockTheLockdown. Inside I found a wonderland of inspiration. The idea was conceptualised by founders Bruce Warren and Karen Hunter Clark, both NLP Life Coaches. The rest of the team, which includes Jayshree Parasuramen from East Coast Radio, are exceptional human beings. Each is selfless and adds unique value to this ever-growing Facebook page. There are over 18 000 Followers as of today.
This is the ethos of the page: AFRICA is fighting CORONA (COVID-19) together. We are all one regardless of borders, race, religion, language, or culture. Together as a continent, we will fight this virus and spread love, joy, humility, and compassion to one and another. Regardless of where you are in the world today, post a pic, video, share a thought and say ‘Hi.’ Artists, here is your chance to entertain. Rock on.
While being acutely aware of the multi-faceted hardships facing many, I am beyond inspired by a new value system that is flowing unabated. It is being driven by an outside force beyond our control. Families have begun to earnestly talk and listen and are bonding over old-school card games like Rummy and Snap. Non-professional musicians are composing, secretly artistic accountants are painting, and non-bakers are baking. Previously flustered corporate individuals are opening their eyes and noticing birds – they take the time to appreciate how tame a Wagtail can become and how skillfully mother nature has applied the Bee Catcher’s eye makeup. They are blowing the dust off soft-cover fiction novels and experiencing new worlds in its pages. Unrushed, they are reading to their children with animated faces and big-bad wolf voices. And sometimes they are ‘just being.’ At times they are sad, too. And that’s ok. We’re human, and we’re being made to dig deep. We’re learning lessons. We are reevaluating.
Remember, you always have a choice.
I invited my husband to a candlelit dinner on our back veranda the other evening, complete with evening dress and red lipstick (me, not him – just to be clear). It felt good to dress up for my best friend. It felt good to dress up for me, too. He got all smart and scrubbed up in a collared shirt and relaxed jeans. I think we even felt bashful for the first 5 minutes :).
My point is this: you can choose to stay in your pyjamas all day, or you can choose to wear red lipstick. Try your best not to let the narfy get you. And try your best not to complain.
I’ll leave you with a prayer a friend has just sent through. Unfortunately, I don’t know the author, but it certainly sounds like an extraordinary person:
PRAYER IN THE MIDST OF A PANDEMIC
May we who are merely inconvenienced
Remember those whose lives are at stake.
May we who have no risk factors
Remember those most vulnerable.
May we who have the luxury of working from home
Remember those that must choose between
preserving their health or making their rent.
May we who have the flexibility to care
For our children when their schools close
Remember those who have no options.
May we who have to cancel our trips
Remember those that have no place to go.
May we who are losing our margin money
In the tumult of the economic market
Remember those who have no margin at all.
May we who settle in for quarantine at home
Remember those who have no home.
During this time when we cannot physically
Wrap our arms around each other,
Let us yet find ways to be the loving embrace
Of God to our Neighbours. Amen.
Let’s just coddiwomple