Quarantine Day 55 according to my journal.
How are you holding up, friend, really? Are you safe and secure? Are you finding ways to cultivate health, and are you choosing joy as often as you see it as a choice? Are you learning anything from this bizarre life chapter, gleaning any new wisdom or opening your heart again to any old truths? Or are you barely scraping by, either physically or emotionally, wondering how you’ll make it through several more weeks or months of unknowns, when so many days are long and heavy as they are? Are you on a roller coaster, trading self awareness for depression, then back again? Are you connecting with loved ones deeply and often enough?
I think many of us can say yes to all of this, if not all at once, then in waves. And I think it is all pretty much to be expected. The good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful. I am no expert, but this global experience sure feels like just a compression of the human experience, you know? The bitter and the sweet. The high and the low. And so a level measure of acceptance and a hefty sense of humor will serve us well.
Additionally, I find lots of comfort and strength in practicing the habits and systems I discovered in better times. I am leaning hard into those, then allowing space and breath to kind of take over from there.
For a Friday 5 at the Farm post on this gorgeous Mother’s Day weekend, I would like to offer five daily habits or rituals that really do seem to help me feel and perform my best.
1. SPIRIT: I try to read, meditate, and journal first thing in the morning. The perpetual devotional Jesus Calling has been my favorite for a few years now, and I love seeing notes in the page margins from past life chapters. I love reading inspirational material and absorbing directive scriptures while my heart is warm and pliable. Usually, after a good night’s sleep, my brain has lots to download into a spiral notebook, and that first cup of strong coffee facilitates it well, ha! This used to be a truly private few minutes of my day, but lately I have grown cozy with the habit of doing all of this in bed with one lamp on, while my husband watches first the morning news then an episode of Little House on the Prairie. It’s a sweet, mellow way to start the new day. And you wouldn’t believe the symmetry and harmony in the messages I am receiving!
2. WORK: My daily work is truly a pleasure and has for a long time been boiled down to a succinct list of “Minimum Daily Actions” which can be accomplished in about an hour. It’s just the basics that keep our house and animals tended, and the walk-about is my opportunity to plan further tasks. That leaves the rest of the day for all kinds of deeper housework or tackling interesting projects, but the first hour of work feels almost sacramental. I love getting dressed to do what absolutely must be done, and Klaus, my constant companion, loves it too. He knows the exact order of our chores, he knows our rhythm, and he understands a few phrases that signal changes. I walk and feed everyone and smooth things and align lists and supplies and give thanks, actively. This sets the framework for an easy, productive day, and it really can feel sacramental. Meditative.
3. MOVE: Daily exercise for the sake of exercise, something outside of normal activity, is a game changer. And for me, daily exercise apart from marathon training has been deeply refreshing. I try to give myself ninety minutes of conscious variety. Triggered by a little injury, I am learning to listen to what my body needs day to day, not just run all the miles. The time for that will return soon enough. For now? I am embracing the pleasures of yoga and strength and mobility work, with treadmill and trail miles sprinkled in, and hopefully soon we will ride our bicycles too. Movement equals energy and endorphins!
4. SKY WATCH: If at all possible, and it almost always is, I love to be physically outdoors when the sun rises and sets, and when the moon is visible. It does wonders for settling my spirit and helping me watch the slow passage of time. Oklahoma has famously picturesque skies, too. Such a simple, profound way to see what God does for us over and over again.
5. CONNECT: I am making a deliberate effort to make eye contact with my husband when he speaks to me, and to be a better conversationalist in general. Being alone most daytime hours, then being only in each other’s company after work hours, as much as we enjoy it, I tend to take him for granted. This is common, I know, but I want to be better than common. He is my favorite person, and I don’t want to waste these weeks of quarantine by slipping into sloppy autopilot. (Also, I am susceptible to losing my verbal skills entirely if I don’t make an effort to speak full sentences and use more than the baby talk I use with the animals. Anyone else? No, just me? Gulp.) Connecting with friends and family has been vital, too. Weekend Zooms, a virtualgame night here and there, a surprise day of chalk art, and lots more actual phone calls have all kept my most precious bonds thriving.
So that’s it! Five ways I am keeping myself more or less on a healthy track, more or less connected to a sense of purpose and wellness. What are you doing to feel your best? I would love to hear. And happy Mother’s Day weekend to my friends and family!! Talk soon. Love you.
This is temporary.
Soak up the beautiful parts.