Like everyone I am home with my children. All six. And they have been finding new and creative ways to get on my nerves. I have said fun sentences like, “Toothpaste is not for putting on crackers,” and, “Please, get your face off the refrigerator.” I suspect that COVID-19 would be hard pressed to find a space of its own in my already germ filled house.
And while times like these often send folks into the shallow-thought-level panic that protected our ancestors, in the modern world I think the greatest threat most people will run up against is the time with themselves.
Time in close quarters with our loved ones tends to rub us so raw because it brings our inner self out. These inner selves create friction as they are forced into close contact with the inner selves of others. Our laziness, selfishness, tempers, and tantrums all grind against each other as we try to weather this unexpected cabin fever. Some of my children chatter to fill a silence while others just want a few minutes of quiet so they can read without interruption.
As an antidote, we have tried hikes, walks, bike rides, hiphop dancing, and movie marathons. There has been mixed success. Despite all this micro-chaos, and dealing with my own In Side Out vulnerability, I keep finding delicious little moments that make me grateful to be where I am, with whom I am.
This morning I got out of the house for a long walk around my neighborhood with an audiobook in my ear. I found this rock placed so that anyone passing along their way would see it. I live among really kind, fun, creative people who take the chance to brighten the lives of others.
As I left my house this morning, this blazing beauty greeted me along with more than a handful of other buds, promising the floral bounties of spring soon to come.
Yesterday we went on a long, semi-impromptu drive that took us up north to the Mogollon Rim. We meandered among little neighborhoods and side roads with no where to be and we saw two mule deer, four elk, a handful of squirrels, and A BALD EAGLE. This never would have happened if we had been focused on getting things done like we so often are. Nature is profoundly beautiful, but we only get to connect with it when we are quiet and slow and open to it.
I hope that everyone is taking this time, stressful and agitating as it might be, to quietly examine their In Side.
Who is the person you want to be? What would you need to change to be that person?
Are you comfortable with yourself enough to sit for a few days in relative confinement? If not, why not?
What might you do in these moments that you would otherwise say you, “have no time for?”
What books have you been ignoring?
What games (non-video) have you been meaning to teach your kids to play?
What hobbies have been waiting for a couple of hours for you to dust them off and remember the joy they bring you?
What can you teach those around?
What can you learn?
And in the end, can you walk away from this situation, whatever the outcomes, a little more at peace with having your In Side come out?
Last, a visual reminder from the desert southwest that great beauty can emerge from the most inhospitable circumstances.