It’s been six months since I began this blog and a conscious focus on what I hoped would help me, and maybe others, get through our pandemic winter. Now it’s June. We made it. Even so, to say we’ve come through the cold months unscathed is like saying loss is irrelevant.
Foley Mountain, Westport, ON
But my writing continues. Not consistently, as you can see from lapses in my posts. I’m relieved that I sleep through most nights without waking with inexplicable dread, and I’ve kept the black dog at bay while recognizing that intense emotions are normal, even useful. My trail has been circuitous, at best, and precarious as a child’s first steps. Yet, the realization that our paths are rarely linear is one in which I’ve come to find comfort. Expect the unexpected and all that. Here are a few other notions I’m recognizing along the way.
Take care of yourself without guilt. This was a hard one. You cannot be everything. You cannot help everyone. You cannot be fully present at every injustice. There are others more capable than you right now. That’s a reality to accept and for which I can be grateful.
That said, on good days, be there. Some days, we are stronger. That’s the time to do what we can to make the world a bit better, in whatever form that might take. There are important issues to know about and to use our voices to amplify, as well as actions to support the struggles.
Go to the forest. I can’t begin to express how much nature, the woods, and my footsteps within these spaces have made a difference to my mental and physical wellness. Go somewhere beautiful. Even if you live in the city, go to a green space, sit on the grass and look up to the sky. Breathe deeply. Five minutes. You will feel better. Twenty minutes is transformative. Do not look at, or even think of, your phone.
Reach out and connect. To those of you who have reached out to me during these pandemic times, thank you! A check-in call, brief text, walks together – all of these gestures of exchange have been threads that held me together in dark days and added light to the better ones. I have tried to do the same for others, but I have undoubtedly failed at times, and I am sorry. I want to do better.
We are what we consume. In the past year, I’ve concentrated on broadening my horizons. In pre-pandemic times, for example, I used to listen almost exclusively to radical/political podcasts. While I still listen to those (there’s pretty intelligent, engaging stuff going on there), I’ve found that a steady stream of heavy content is more than I can handle right now. Consequently, I’ve discovered lighter fare and learned about various subjects that interest me. I seek out new music. You Tube can be interesting. Reading is my favourite pastime as anyone who knows me, knows. That hasn’t changed, but I have sought out new authors and genres. Currently, I’m reading a non-fiction book called The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot by Robert Macfarland. It’s a brilliant and fascinating book. Since I found it was also available as an audiobook (on the free Hoopla app through the public library), and I like it so much, I’m reading and listening to it!
“Felt pressure, sensed texture and perceived space can work upon the body and so too upon the mind, altering the textures and inclinations of thought.” ― Robert Macfarlane
In fiction, I’m on the last few pages of Road Ends by Mary Lawson. Excellent! I am on the library waitlist for her newest, A Town Called Solace. I’ve liked every book she’s written.
That’s it for Part 1 of my Reset. Next week, I’ll write Part 2, which will include actions for a Reset, more book recommendations, and plans I have for the weeks ahead as we unravel ourselves into the sunshine. At least I think that’s what I’ll write about!
Until then, stay well. Christine
A poem for a zine I’m working on
Pine needle carpets absorb long worries deep echoes of doubt flowing from footfalls
Gnarled tree roots span wild paths trails ahead leaves behind
Step One Step Past