Spiritually productive COVID times

Aside from all that Iw as going through personally last week, it was hard to ignore the news. Last week, as we celebrated the beginnings of a temple and laid the foundations for a future that will be built over what can only be termed carnage and bloody violence, I noticed that when I am feeling tumultuous within, I do turn to the world around for solace. And God forbid, the world is not in a place to give me solace, as it hasn’t been for months now, I spiral into a tunnel of utter despair.

It is not easy getting through the days in that sort of a state, where I want to just leave everything and call it a day. And when you’re absorbing whats happening around you as much as being present to what’s happening within, the suffering and grief swells beyond any manageable proportion. It becomes hard to separate what’s mine and what’s not.

In the midst of this, I feel so unsure about how to approach (not even answer, because I have no answers at this point) discussions about “when this is over and we’ve put this miserable year behind us” or “when things go back to normal.” Hope is faint, fleeting and I have to really dig in to find it. When it shows up, I grab at it and make the most of it. I mark the days by writing about it here in aplomb. I do that knowing full well that it will slip away again. This cyclical nature of feeling hopeful and tapping into hopelessness has been life the last few months.

I feel like I might have written about this before, but apparently I haven’t. It’s weird because I have a distinct memory of quoting this article that puts it in the most apt way that I have found so far.

Everyone wants to know when this will end. That’s not the right question. The right question is: How do we continue?

(And yet, I can’t for the life of me, find the post. Am I losing my mind finally?)

I’ve been consumed with thoughts about how to continue. What parts of my changed life to retain at all costs, what new things I’ve experienced and discovered that I want to grow, what parts of my old life I don’t want to return to, what hidden desires have surfaced during this forced stop/quiet/repose that I want to tend to with curiosity and nurturance, what new worlds I want to step into bravely. And how to do it all with a sense of responsibility for the world beyond me. Because that feels urgent and imperative.

How I want to be a citizen in the world, basically. A small, but big seed that has wedged itself into my heart at some point during this maddening time has well and truly taken root. Moving towards the new how-tos seems not only urgent, but imperative. It’s upon me without much trying.

These thoughts have made me see what a productive time these months have been in this respect. When I push aside the challenges annoyance of being physically restricted, I find that this has been such a valuable few months for me.

Something special, magical happens when we cannot escape ourselves. I have begun to witness myself in ways I have never had to in the the days before. Something about being distraction-free has necessitated and allowed that. I have discovered space to see myself in a way that I didn’t know before. And it has lent a rich, delicious, velvety texture to the vast unexplored expanses of my inner world, beckoning me to explore some more.

Especially after the impossible lows of last week, I find myself thinking about this Covid period and the strange, strange gift of all this alone time, and I have wondered:

  1. If there is one thing I discovered about myself now, that has truly surprised me
  2. About the one thing I already (pre-Covid) knew about myself, but that I took for granted, or didn’t give enough credit to, until this lock-in period

Whichever way I look at it, I see that this time of quiet Since March has irrevocably altered something within me. It has made many suppositions or half-truths about myself that I circled, never fully believing or owning, take root in me. All up in my face, demanding I integrate and value them. Own up to myself, be all that I really am — light and shadow, bright and dark, sweet and dank.

If you’ve been reading this blog and the rambling ways in which I have scaled great heights and dropped to severe lows with equal gusto. I have gone fully, passionately into everything that has come up for me — be it rage or hopelessness, loneliness and extreme sadness, indulgent Sunday brunches and an isolation birthday party, as well as throwing myself into feeding migrants on their way home.

These realisations, this seeing of myself this fully, accepting difficult corners of myself — the judgemental, the cynical, the hopeless, the raging parts — has been slippery, easy-to-dismiss, when life was rushing on. Slowing down has offered the gift of meeting myself in a new way. I’ve seen so many new pointy edges that still need softening, and some already soft edges that need tender holding.

There’s been a fullness to the way in which I have experienced, and enjoyed, myself these past few months. Even through the misery around as well as what it stirred up in me, I’d be lying if I didn’t acknowledge what a spiritually productive time it has been.

It is truly the oddest, strangest admission to be making. It feels like a big deal because so far this admission, of how wonderful I have felt even as I’ve felt atrocious, has only been made in therapy, or to VC.

I have judged myself for having it good, I have worn my privilege like a yolk around my neck, and in that way kept the deliciousness of this experience at arm’s length. Not wanting to own it, for fear that it might make me feel like the kind of snowflake I judge for not having intense feelings about the pandemic and all that it has raked up.

But I had to see this pointlessly judgemental side of myself first I guess. And I feel okay to admit this now. It is what it is.

A new kind of seeing, has birthed a new kind of being.

One year ago: Up and about
Four years ago: Ele day

3 thoughts on “Spiritually productive COVID times

  1. Pingback: On pain – haathi time

  2. Pingback: Spiritually productive COVID times – contd. – haathi time

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