It is the strangest thing. During quarainte I wake up each morning whenever the sun shines through the curtains, the rain hits the windows, I hear the birds chirping outside, or one of the children forgets that I am still sleeping and accidentally wake me up; yet I always feel rested, refreshed, and ready to take on the new day.
There are no alarms telling me to go to work. There are no pressures to make things happen. There is only the regular rhythm that mother nature places on all who lives here with the rising and setting of the sun, and the tides and the moon. Earth’s harmonious and natural currents that run over our planet that normally we are in tuned with, but somehow manage to swim against to extend our work days, to fit more and more into our lives; so much so that we forget that we are part of something greater than ourselves. And to tune back in, we must be still long enough to hear it, and to feel it.
Quarantine has slowed me down. Now I have time to take in the moments that I sometimes overlook during regular life; those little things during the day that make me so incredibly happy. Things like tending to my beautiful flowers and garden, hanging up our laundry in the sunshine and when folding them they smell of our sun itself. Further, lovingly preparing a meal for my family carefully and thoughtfully selecting the produce and ingredients by hand, showing them how to help, sharing my knowledge of cooking with them as we take the time to cook or bake from scratch. Other times we go hiking through the forest trails up the mountain behind our home which is teaming with wildlife, flora and fauna; a cathedral of trees high above our heads welcome us, singing birds and boar.
These felt more like chores during my chaotic schedule trying to fit it all in. I didn’t take the time to be in the moment, my mind would be elsewhere worrying about the next thing after or the last thing I just did. I was left exhausted from the grind, my mind did not have time to rest but it felt so normal that I lost sight of just how fast I was actually going. I was running from one appointment to the next, squeezing in these miraculous moments in between. It is not that we did not do them, I just wasn’t present 100% for them. Whereas now distance teaching and learning has given me the freedom to reconnect to my own home, our surroundings, our community and above all my wonderful family. It seems like the centre point of life has universally switched across the planet from work to providing a safe and secure place for our family to fall and rest during the course of their days.
They come to me when they need things, help with homework, a glass of water, a hug or a kiss. I go to them to check on them during their home studies and work too, asking if they need something from the store, or extra time for a bike ride. We speak far more often than before, we reassure, help and support one another. I would say that this crazy time has brought us even closer together.
Time is something we seem to have no time for in our society. I feel grateful to be able to be home with my kids even when there is conflict, because I know there is time tomorrow to heal and manage them. At first it feels strange and even selfish to just simple be and not be achieving and moving and growing every single day to get ahead. Many people I know took this time to learn, work more or differently, learn to cook, or garden. Maybe we have been brainwashed to think if we are not ambitious than we are lazy, but we must take care of ourselves too, or we will not have anything to offer anyone. Rest and reflection should be a daily part of our lives and it took a virus to slow us down enough to force us to stop moving long enough to realise we are on a treadmill again; running in one spot, going through the motions. Perhaps this life is a little slower than before, and better in many ways, but a treadmill nonetheless. We reach and achieve. There must always be some balance, that is the key when pursuing happiness; we must make time for the art of doing nothing. ‘Il dolce far niente’
This will all come to an end eventually, and back to the grind we go, but I will not forget the balance that I have struck. Time to be together with my husband, time to enjoy and listen to each other, time to mend problems, time to enjoy and laugh together with the community on our street. Time for myself to be outside in the fresh air enjoying nature; the moments of reading for hours, doing yoga outside in the sun, or picking herbs from the garden. And time to take care for my family.
I am so very blessed to have been able to slow things down long enough to remember what it is that really matters in this thing called life. As we imagine ourselves blasting around the sun sometimes we feel insignificant in the grand scheme of things, and other times we find perspective realizing the centre point of life is in fact family and what we manage to create during our lifetime together.