Oh, this poor neglected blog! I’m always complaining about bloggers who don’t post for months on end and here I am, guilty m’lud. It’s just that lockdown seems to have contorted space and time. I never know what day it is and I appear to have lost the ability to use a paper diary.
Once upon a time (showing age alert!) I remember struggling to get my head around the new Psion organiser and now, here I am, puzzling over sheets of paper. I keep penciling things in the wrong section and then I forget to look at my schedule for weeks on end.
I use the term ‘schedule’ loosely. My diary is a white desert with the odd Zoom call here and there. It used to be a mass of scribblings and a rainbow of highlighter colours, but now I am in a phase that feels a bit like retirement.
There’s a voice in my head that keeps telling me I am being lazy. It never shuts up, but thanks to my work with Marion I have learned to be kind to myself. I ask it to quieten down and run through a list of the things I HAVE achieved since lockdown began in March – two non-fiction books, one novel (it’s nearly finished!), three new clients and at least an hour of exercise every day. I haven’t done that badly at all.
I always yearned for more free time and now that it’s here, I panic that it is not being filled. I see this as an old, bad habit that needs a little gentle correction and you’ll be pleased to know (or maybe not!) that I spent a whole week at the seaside and only did two hours of work! (That’s not including the cooking, chores etc. As I said to my husband ‘Cinderella never goes on holiday’).
One thing I haven’t done much of is meditate, which makes me feel a bit of a spiritual fraud. I’d got into the habit of doing it for an hour a day as I wanted to stay connected to the big universal love I’d discovered on retreat last October. I started off okay, but then I signed up for a novel course that suggested I sit down and write for an hour every morning. I also had my hour of exercise to do and so, meditation slipped down the list and got forgotten.
That’s not to say I don’t have moments of connection, because I do. I try and visit my local cemetery at least four times a week, if not daily. It is the quietest and greenest place in the neighbourhood and it enables me to breathe into the present moment, in a way that I rarely manage at home. There are numerous species of trees there and I have noticed that each makes a different sound in the breeze. It’s also a popular hangout for birds and I’m fascinated by the swarms of starlings that swirl above the tombstones in such numbers, I can hear the wind in their feathers.
Lately, I’ve been picking blackberries there and on the way home yesterday, I took home a handful of apples that had been in a box by the roadside along with a note saying ‘please take.’ I also found a couple of free cucumbers along the way. My kids looked horrified when I told them that supper had been foraged as they feared it might be poisoned. ‘This isn’t Sleeping Beauty, ‘ I said. I worry about how mistrustful they are because I know from experience that such an attitude makes life more difficult than it has to be. ‘The universe is abundant today!’ I breezed as they looked at me as if I ought to be strapped into the nearest straitjacket. They refused to eat the blackberry and apple crumble I made while I managed three portions and can report that there were no ill effects aside from adding to the lockdown lard that is swallowing my waist by the day.
I am doing well, but my children are not. They lie in bed all day long on their phones and it is hardly surprising that their mental health is suffering. I try and encourage them to come on walks, pick blackberries and take a picnic, but I am met with scowls and whispered expletives. They think I’ve turned into a crazy bird lady and their biggest fear is that they might end up like me. For their sakes, I pray that they do.