Dear Loved Ones,
How are you all doing? So far, I’m coping with the ever changing situation well, and I’ve had a couple of realizations around things that are hard.
Living alone I’ve been missing physical touch. There are no hugs from friends when I see them, no handshakes at online church, no even bumping in to another’s energy field with the distance we are to keep. And this has surprised me, as I don’t really consider myself that touchy feely!
The second is a strange thing. I keep being reminded of a time when I was maybe 7 or 8 years old. It was Christmas Day and I had the mumps, so I was quarantined to my bedroom. “You are dangerous to the men,” they said. “You have to stay in your room.” All day long I kept hearing voices and laughter and fun and presents being opened downstairs while I was in my bedroom. And I felt even more ostracized than normal, more alienated and invisible. I could hear the group of people having fun. And I was alone. I think this has been brought back to mind when I see families walking down the street together, see Facebook posts of families figuring it out as a team. Even though this ‘happy family’ was never my experience of home life, it still causes a pang of sadness. I also know that being asked to stay at home as a family has its own set of issues…. The longing for some alone time, to get away from squabbles and teaching kids the lessons provided. But I find it interesting that these are bringing up feelings for me as an strong introvert!
I share these things not for pity or sympathy, but as I think this time is hard for each of us in our own way. And I have found that sitting with the feelings, allowing the memories/triggers to show themselves can help me set them free. The recognizing of old stories means they don’t need to be repeated over and over.
For example, recognizing the feeling of the loss of touch invites me to notice all the ways I am touched: by nature, by things I am reading, by times of prayer. It’s a different kind of touch, but still a touch of the Divine. I’ve also been actively resting in the presence of God, imagining the warmth of God enveloping me, feeling where it touches me the deepest and where I can feel it the easiest, and trying to experience it in the places that are harder.
And with my previous story of being quarantined, I look around my home now and am thankful. If I find myself getting stuck in this, or any other story, I do a distancing (Ironically!!) practice. I name 5 things that are different. For example, I was sick, not I am healthy. I was a kid, now I am an adult. I was not safe at home then, now I am safe. I had no choice then, now I am free to move around my home. I had no one to reach out to, now I have many friends. Each difference brings me back to the reality of what is in the here and now. Each one grounds me a little deeper and makes me grateful for the reality I live in.
What has been hard for you in these days? What has become a joy? How are you re-grounding/finding God/seeking connections?
And please do remember that there are many spiritual directors and therapists who have been working with video conferencing and distance sessions long before this all began. Reach out to one of us for help if you get overwhelmed! (If you are local, I would even do a walking session 6 feet apart in a place of beauty… just let me know!!).
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.