It’s a beautifully soft, sunny Friday afternoon. Myself and the Malshis are out for walk. We pause for a mindful moment. Innocently they snuffle among the dazzling white crocuses tails wagging. As happy and free as any living creature can be. For a moment I feel bathed in a warming sunshine, the first I’ve felt since November last. For a minute things feel normal. and light. Remember normal?
Remember a few short weeks ago complaining of packed buses and trains?
Remember hopping off the 39 A on Inns Quay- only carried along with the tide of humanity, feeling happy to be part of the hustle of the world?
Remember tripping down the steps of the office with abandon, for a coffee grab-at break time, circling the quays, pausing for a little moment on the Ha’Penny Bridge to watch the swans and pools of light?
Remember casually without a second thought organising coffee dates and lunch dates, nights out with the girls at the Market Bar and afternoon pints with the mates in rain slicked Dublin?
Remember bumping into old friends, hugging and kissing-remember for the love of God-handshakes.
All it took was a few short weeks for it all to change.
I shouldn’t have started playing with words or allowed a word in, yet again. Back a few weeks ago I was joking with a few friends about the word discombobulation. Somebody said I should try and work it into a blog post. You know that word? Almost musical isn’t it? It perfectly describes a feeling of being off balance. Sometimes happens me and I suspect you too. Often for inexplicable reasons. But how now dear readers, we live in very discombobulating times. And what is striking how very global the reach of this thing is. A shared human experience, for better or worse.
There has been a lot of discussion about how to manage mental health during this crisis. And I can hear a lot of people describing something which is new to them-the feelings of anxiety. I suffer from anxiety anyway on and off-which I’ve spoken about in other posts-so a feeling of an episodic sense of impending doom is pretty normal to me. I’ve accepted it as part of the way my mind works-so strangely I am adapting well to the crisis apart from one or two choking heart jumpers as I call them.
If these feelings are new to you-I can tell you what works for me if it helps. For me the number one strategy is to be out in nature -it can be as simple as a walk. Like a Mayo man who will never refuse a cup of tea, my dogs Harley and Minnie will never refuse a walk. And as these are strange times I’ve been practising on said walks a loving kindness meditation-this is a principle of Buddhism and it works. Simple as smiling at people you pass-you won’t meet many, and virtually all smiled or waved back, this morning. I’ve noticed that strangers are talking to each other more too.
Write stuff out if it is your thing. Get your hobbies and interests on track again. Read. I’m occupying the worried part of my brain by learning Spanish-it really helps distract me and to focus.
I wrote this post https://viewfromzanymountain.wordpress.com/2020/02/15/the-ache-and-the-void-of-loneliness/ a few weeks ago and in a way it frightens me. Loneliness was the word that stalked me back then. How very prescient, because this could severely become an issue for many people. And also I sort of talked about the fact that social media can be occupied by lonely people. How we need our social media communities and online friends now!
But yet out of all of this, good things have happened. Feeds and neighbourhood chat groups are filled with offers of help, to pick up food, clear gardens, check in with a phone call. Office workers, many working from home for the first time in their lives (including me) are checking in with encouragement, Spotify suggestions and tips. I’ve even got a new dedicated writing corner as result-it usually was the corner of the battered leather sofa. People are having great craic online-some of you are mad wild you know, it’s great!
On Patrick’s Day , the Irish not known to ever let an opportunity to use their imagination or to have the craic, came up with ingenious ways to celebrate. There was the emotional one piper man parade in Limerick, the Dubs (mad as ever) doing a socially distant skit parade with St. Patrick banishing the virus; the neighbours out in their front gardens having a beer and playing their trad instruments and laughing raucously
You know I spent an eerie day in Dublin City Centre earlier in the week as I had to collect some work. I went in on an empty bus, wandered a deserted Temple Bar. I felt curious void and hollowness all day. On my return home I picked up a fluttering piece of paper in the garden. And then I noticed it-a simple flowering bud on the Golden Gage tree. A marvel of nature. And a thought struck me. Humanity, we’re going to be alright. Eventually.
Til next time dear readers.
Stay safe and do check in on the View from Zany Mountain FB page from time to time-where I post little snippets on day to day living and creating. Link to the right of the front page of blog.
Love as ever, Kat xx