Community//

Finding Hope and Community From a Distance

How I'm Calming Myself In Troubled Times

Image by Bruce lam from Pixabay

My world has changed in a matter of a week. I wake every morning, throw back the covers and snuggle with my beloved cat perhaps a few more minutes longer than what I used to. His gentle purring seeming to calm my nerves and worries just a bit. It is nice having those few precious moments where I don’t have to rush to make breakfast, check my email and run out the door. My morning routine is now meditating for five minutes, centering myself, breathing, then making a full breakfast for both myself and my purry one. 

I have to remind myself what day it is, as each day has blended into the next. Circadian rhythm has been thrown off a bit as time seems to pass differently now, streets are quiet and people are scarce. The ones I do see, every now and then are just as glad for the company as I am, waving and perhaps offering a  bigger smile than they used to. Most connecting is done online or via skype and most crave that one on one connection, but face to face now is too risky without being six feet apart. I find myself lingering over my morning coffee, trying to shut the world out just a bit, knowing that it does go on every day. I used to grab my phone and look to see how many numbers today, how many more lives have been affected since the virus came to visit. The numbers and warnings are everywhere. It feels dystopian, like something you read about that happens in those science fiction novels that we peruse through now and again, or those silly movies that somehow lure us into watching, but unlike a movie that we can pause, this time, it’s real. It feels like a stopwatch that has gone out of control, time ticks away, but there is nothing that we can do to set it.

Work, life, even day to day activities have changed, perhaps even the way we once looked at society as a whole. Distancing, when perhaps we were mentally distancing, building walls around our heart, now, we long for openness and companionship. My extroverted self is craving more than a wave from a delivery guy as he drives down the road or a funny meme on social media. I need that sense of community, but it isn’t there. 

There are things, however, that I am doing to keep myself from getting bored or going stir crazy. I’m learning the joys of baking fresh bread, making my Grandmothers lemon chiffon pie, looking into buying hand made soaps and products online. The once country girl in me is starting to emerge. I belong to a wonderful group that supports authors and writers, we post challenges for each other, book links, etc. Often talking about our feelings, our work in progress, taking our mind off the real world for just a bit helps. I find comfort in creativity, doing something with my hands or writing, sketching a bit. I still go for walks around the trail that winds around my neighborhood. The mornings are chilly, but there are still signs of spring, so I try to enjoy the blossoming trees and take in a bit of sunlight. I try to commune in a place where I feel comfortable, perhaps pray a bit, losing myself in the feel of fresh air. To calm stress, I’m turning off my phone earlier and not listening to the rhetoric of news story after story. After facetime and emails, I am turning inwards a bit more, but I’m in a good place, I’m at peace and have discovered a deeply spiritual side to myself. Perhaps the connection was always there, but I was too rushed to feel it. Now, I have a little more time. My coping mechanism really is to seek a balance, to think things through and eventually write about the experience through poetry or short story. I try to plant seeds of wisdom and hope out there, probably because I know what it feels like to not be able to feel that there is light at the end of the tunnel. I want to show that there is. I’m supporting others on media now who need that guidance in these troubling and somewhat scary times. Someone was once a voice of calm for me, and I want to return that. 

Family has taken on a different meaning. While I have always thought of pets as such, I’m spending more time with mine, teaching my silly bundle of fluff to play fetch with a sponge ball, I used to do that with him when he was a little kitten, he remembered and it is so cute to see him bring that tiny ball and place it at my feet. I brought that sense of playfulness back. Yes, I’m an old soul, but my little family means a lot to me. Heck, I used to cry over Hallmark commercials, so, that should tell you what kind of a heart I have. 

No one knows what tomorrow may bring. I’m taking the time to tell people now how much they mean to me. I want them to know, I’m reaching out to my community, being there, being a voice, making sure they know that they aren’t alone. Maybe that is what all of this is teaching us.

Even if it is from a distance.

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