It’s been so dreary, rainy and cold this week. I usually love this weather and winter in Bangalore is one of the redeeming joys of living here. But this incessant rain, constant clammy wetness and bone-chilling cold has me feeling very, very gloomy.
This morning though, I woke up to this view at 6:40 am. Sunshine after the rain has fallen. Crisp, bright, snappy. This balcony view has been a constant for more than 75% of this year. From feeling comfortable with life minimised to just this, to getting fully sick of it and feeling stifled and resenting it — I’ve gone full circle. Currently I’m somewhere in between lets-get-out-of-here and when-can-I-settle-in-again.
It’s officially that time of year, whether I like to or not there is looking back. And there are reflections. Pandemic year epiphanies have flown thick and frequent but I’m boiling it down to just a few things. 2020 has consistently (and deeply) shown:
- Humans are more alike than different. Our lives and similar are intertwined in ways we really will never know, but if we allow to lean into this our small, simple worlds suddenly open up in enriching ways.
- Our daily existence is small, needs very little to get by. While humbling and liberating, this has also shown me how little it takes to shrink into a tiny, isolating little world.
- There will always be something to despair about. Every day developments, big and small, that will spin me into a kind of smallness and helpless that makes everything seem overwhelming. However, there is tremendous power and agency to be found in my smallness. In just simply owning it, without trying to be anything else.
- The best, most healing practices that I have returned to time and time and time again, to find peace, grounding and clarity have not been meditation or journaling or even therapy and the like (though, all of that has helped too). This year I turned far more frequently to simple, small and mundane activities like cleaning up, cooking, working out and tending to myself, my home, my immediate environment, my needs to bring myself back. When the world shrank and closed in, the plants in my balcony, the oven I cranked up more times than ever before, the broom and mop, my running shoes and earphones have given me a solid way to feel present and in the moment.
It reminded me of this Rainbow Rowell quote I first read in 2017 about the goodness in building a capacity for joy in small, ordinary things that can really, really steady us. I wrote about in such a different light back then. I see how different my world was, hoe differently I felt. And how much I’ve changed since then. And how differently the same quote speaks to me today.