6 days in, I realise I’m a quarantine rookie. From the moment I wake up, everything is getting on my nerves. Try as I might, I can’t seem to get a moment’s peace, I can’t get on with my work, I don’t get my son through all his schoolwork, and I end up being mean to my husband because he’s working 24/7 instead of helping out with the kids…Deep Breath….
So today’s post is about looking for some kind of balance in what can be a very delicate situation.
Today’s poem is London, by William Blake. Two specific aspects of this poem resonate with me profoundly: 1) that London hasn’t changed much in 3 centuries, and 2) Blake’s use of ‘mind forg’d manacles’ to describe the mental prison within which we incarcerate ourselves. When I look back over my problems today, though the external situation certainly contributed to my distress, most of the problems I encountered with other people were indeed forged in my mind.
I spent much of my day feeling guilty that I wasn’t doing enough for the kids. All the while, the kids were happily amusing themselves. Then I tried to inflict on them what I thought they needed (3 hours of maths homework, a train set which requires an engineering degree to construct) and failed. In order to get through this period of confinement, I realise I’m going to have to leave them to their own devices more than usual. It’s one thing to ensure that they are fed and clothed and safe, another to try to control every aspect of their waking day. They, too are faced with an unprecedented situation. Unlike me, however they seem to know innately how to deal with it.
Practice makes perfect
I found some excellent yoga videos today which teach arm balances, and balanced postures in general. This helped me a lot, particularly as the sun came out for an hour and I was able to practice them in the garden. There’s certainly truth in the advice that a balanced body leads to a balanced mind. Perhaps next I will start work on a more balanced diet (I am currently comfort-eating chocolate with every cup of tea I make).
All of the above takes practice: learning to live in lockdown, we will make mistakes – we will lash out at the ones we love, and they will do the same to us. And worst of all, we’ll chastise ourselves and manacle our minds. And then we’ll find a means to deal with it, and learn to love the ones we’re with, and love ourselves. We are all in this together, my thoughts and hope to everyone in quarantine: wishing you strength and balance through these troubled times.