CoVid-19 Pandemic Lifts the Veil

How are you doing?  One moment your heart (like mine) may crack open and the next your fear for society and your family may overcome you.  Then there is a settling down and recovery—so many of us have been here before.  Maybe not the same exact pandemic peril but instability at watching a version of reality that we believed so true and to which we had so many thoughts attached become shattered.  Only to find in just a little while (days/weeks/months—maybe longer) but eventually experiencing life lifting us up as if on the wings of a merciful angel and once attain we’re recovered.  But each time we hold less intensely to what we perceive to be and label ‘reality’—our version of it anyway.  The veil thins and our illusions and delusions are exposed to ourselves.

We’ve been unstable before and found our comfort in the role of the observer having to let go of what we once believed kept us sane.  With that last line comes to mind the Jimmy buffet song lyrics, It’s these changes in latitudes, changes in attitudes; Nothing remains quite the same; With all of our running and all of our cunning; If we couldn’t laugh we would all go insane.”  When nothing remains the same, and when the veil thins and (sometimes painfully) our illusions are exposed humor does help.  (Last night our family gathered in a webcam platform and created belly laughs which were quite healing and fun.)

More lyrics:  If it suddenly ended tomorrow
I could somehow adjust to the fall
Good times and riches and son-of-a-bitches
I’ve seen more than I can recall

Yeah, on that last part sons and daughters of people who ignore social distancing!  Ah, but there it is again – fear and projections overcome me again.

We’re living through dramatic change these days and rapidly. When I contemplate and meditate that whole process is about observing the mind and studying and learning from the way the mind itself is continually changing.  Now we see that change on the outside as well as the inside. The nature of life ‘is’ change and we experience this in our meditation and contemplation but our human side, the personality that attaches to all that it believes is un-changing is now waking up due to the potentiality of this virus for which there is no cure and no vaccine.  Yet, today, with my facemask securely in place and list in hand while walking through the produce section of one of our local grocery stores, two older gentlemen, one who is the produce worker and the other a customer were rather loudly defending their old realities (poo-pooing COVID-19).

Later at home in equal form, the woman across the parking lot had 6 children closely playing together in front of her apartment (only one was her own child) while she watched from her porch.  A young mother with a toddler was amongst the group as well – no social distancing at all mind you!  Apparently, the gig was up and they were back to the old reality.

In meditation, we begin to realize directly ‘how things are’ and we begin to see the very deep truth of impermanence and uncertainty.  We see that form is impermanent and subject to continual change.

Turn on the news and you will see it how impermanence and uncertainty is televised in abundance.   The amount of change, insecurity, destabilization, and vulnerability is quite visible.

People create an identity and then attach to that persona an idea of how they believe things are supposed to be.

Yet how things ‘are’ actually ‘is’ how it’s supposed to be – because this is how ‘it is’. To defend a different reality or to try to live an old illusion will only potentially cause more disappointment and suffering.  And as I type those last words the images of people who are not socially distancing flashes before me.

The way things ‘are’ is always changing and that change really isn’t up to us.  I can’t make people observe social distancing and they can’t stop the virus spreading by going back to a reality in which they closely gather and ignore the risks.

To ignore the feelings of fear and panic that may arise by indulging in risky behavior not only for one own self but for others (isn’t that the huge lesson associated with this virus?) is not wise or skillful.  Those feelings of anxiety that arise are normal; and so to, first of all, best accept that and realize that those feelings are not to be identified with.

They are feelings and those who are very sensitive to energy are feeling those feelings, processing them right along with the world in which they are arising.  It’s okay – it’s just what’s happening like in our meditation when we observe the thoughts and feelings, we don’t over-identify with those either.  We realize that it’s just what’s arising and then dissolving again.  We are not thoughts and we are not feelings.

Yet, again, like those ignoring social distancing right now and those refusing to wear a face mask, it’s the lower human nature to want to shove away a reality that one doesn’t want.

There was anger in the voices of the produce man and his customer in the grocery store.  That certainly comes from loss – loss of the old reality and the resistance to change.

Can we learn from this all these changes rather than running from it (like those who refuse the mask and ignore social distancing) and becoming angry with it (like the men in the grocery store)?

This pandemic lifts the veil and shows us the true nature of reality.  Pardon the pun but now can we take some of this veil and put it over our nose and mouth?

Pandemic Pensive Perils

Two weeks ago there it was — vacillation between going to the gym or not.  Tarot cards said ‘no, don’t go’.  A day or so later the gym was closed; and day-after-day since, no need to tell you! Everything else shut down too.  Doesn’t it seem like longer than 2 weeks ago?

Well, I’m washing my undies by hand (usually go to a laundromat), cut my own hair (just the bangs), have taken to the streets jogging and found the very last set of hand weights in town.  No kettlebells, no dumbells anywhere and that included the big box places too like Academy Sports and Dicks Sporting goods (even though they still have curbside service–store otherwise closed).   Amazon? Yep, will ship some out in June.  Right; it’s March.  Kept looking and found a set (a wee bit too heavy) of 12# dumbells very used at Play it Again Sports (curbside service there too).  So this is for me a heavy set (ok back and chest) and I have a light set (2#, feels like a feather) and while I can double up with them, I really would like a set of 8’s#.  What else?  Anyway. . . grateful for the 12s.

Meanwhile, my daughter is buying my groceries — she takes my card and shopping list and brings back what she can find from the list that they’re not out of.  I don’t want to talk about toilet paper!!  She insists that she go to the store and not me; it’s so hard to give up even more control of my life that way.  But I’m healthy and that’s a good thing so I will shut up about it.

Nightmares have been happening — bad enough daytime nightmares while watching the news but in the nighttime now too.

Watching Trump’s afternoon briefings caused jaw clenching and now’ve got a good case of TMJ happening.  It’s okay, massaging it out and being aware when I’m clenching.  Geesh!

Thus, I’ve cut down my news watching time down to PBS evening news and not even listening to NPR radio in the daytime anymore.  Pandemic pensive perils!  Better for my neighbors that way I guess,  because after watching the horror and seeing them NOT social distancing, the temptation is to . . . well, best to leave that alone I suppose.

I’ve wanted to get back to jogging a bit and now that’s happening at least.  Happy about it and the knee is bearing up.   I’m doing outdoor walk/runs as well as doing arm/shoulder and chest/back workouts accompanied by Peloton instructors.  Link here: https://www.onepeloton.com/ They are streamed live and on-demand.  Those are really saving me!  

Tomorrow plan the sad call to the gym to put my membership on hold.  I miss the instructors and all the friendly faces;  Libby, Kathy, Martha, Diane, Debbie, Lynn, Donita, Sam, Chet, Tom, Denise, Aaron, Finola, Mary, Nancy . . . oh, I will cry if I keep going.  Really miss the gym and the peeps.

Some other news.  The library is closed and so is the park well, that’s not good news BUT we are still going to have the writing group in April via a platform called Webex.

Two of my daughters work for insurance companies and are working from home.  As the ‘stay-at-home’ orders became extended they had to buy larger desks and desk chairs!  My other daughter is a Nurse and they must wear double masks their entire shift and she has been issued a letter from the hospital with her photo on it in case she is questioned   (since there is a lockdown in both her home city and work city).  The letter explains she is a nurse and is, therefore ‘essential personnel’.   This, as you know, means she is allowed to be out and about in her car going to and from the hospital.

So much has changed in two weeks!  But you know that and are living it too.  We are not either of us alone dear reader!

Speaking of reading, I am reading C.G. Jung’s Memories, Dreams, Reflections which is his autobiography; so far all I’m reading is so very relatable.  I should be writing (my book in progress, barely) but with shell shock, it’s been a bit difficult to hold the mind still.  I will try this week to get back into that.

Well, ‘long day’ as they say.  Will end this post for now with wishes for your good health.  Stay balanced; let us all do our very best.  Today I am feeling so grateful for the very small and gentle gifts of the earth.  Trees are blossoming lovely colors, birds are singing and flowers starting to bloom.  They know nothing of any pandemic and their lives go on.  Same with the cats; the feral cats of the neighborhood who hang around with me if I’m out on the porch doing yoga or reading.  Love them!

Be well friends, remain in love with life, do what is asked of you and dedicate the merit of any and all efforts, especially your meditation efforts, to those who are fearful, sick, dying and need our energy intentions.  And of course to the brave and dedicated health care workers!

final thought:  This, too, shall pass.

 

Attachments to rituals and thoughts on the pandemic

 

Attachments to rituals.  I’m looking at that right now.  Grabbing my cards at 2 am on a Saturday night to help with a decision.  That’s going to help me to get to sleep.  Wait.  What am I writing about?  This coronavirus scare has my energy off a bit.  Should I buy more toilet paper?  (just kidding). No that’s not the problem, although my gosh one does begin to wonder if the stores don’t restock what a mess it could make of things.  Yeah, let’s not go there.  It’s the gym, you know?  That’s what’s got me out of bed so my mind will shush up about it.  As the fear began to loom about the virus and with a strong desire to do my part for my fellows, I skipped my gym time on Friday.  Yet, today I dashed in after notices on the gym’s website that they are taking all these precautions with cleaning and providing extra wipes and sanitizers.  I felt guilty doing it but I was craving cardio and did a vigorous hour on the spin bike.  The crowd at the gym might have been a bit smaller than usual today, but not that much.  YET, now the governor of our state has closed all the schools for 2-weeks.  The gym did shut down certain gatherings and is limiting the number of members allowed in classes and our library has canceled all group type meetings and activities for 2 months!  I’m taking my temperature each day.  I felt like my luck was being pushed by getting a few more groceries the other day.  I’m rationing the stray cat’s food (there are 5 of them!) and find myself holding back from eating what’s in the freezer and cupboards.  Hey, and that’s a good thing.  I’ve gained near to 5 pounds over the winter.

Yeah and now I’m looking at giving up my gym time and cringe when envisioning . . . well, let’s say that its likely to be another damn test in letting go and non-attachment.  Contrast that with the PBS Evening News weekend edition report from Italy where some people are dying in their homes and they are being left there due to fears of collecting the bodies and spreading the virus further.  Many older adults are being triaged and not treated due to not enough respirator equipment to keep them alive.  The entire country is being told to stay at home unless an emergency and the police are enforcing by violators being jailed or fined.  Imagine being given a citation for being out of your home.  Intense and really scary!  And then there’s me boohooing about missing my workouts!  I feel ashamed.  Like many people are doing, however, there’s that part of the mind that says, nawh, that’s not going to happen here; everywhere else maybe, but not here, not us, not me.  

I’m certainly not alone with this struggle right? Now I want to delete this blog feeling ashamed to even be writing it!  But, full disclosure.  I just completed a 40-minute vow meditation — vowing to sit in complete stillness without moving at all.  In this deep metta-meditation,  the concentrated focus involved in not moving a muscle, and the tonglen (exchanging self for others) were all offered (the merit and energy) for any and all who may be in fear or in any way suffering especially in relation to this coronavirus.  Point being just had the thought that maybe tonight’s earlier meditation will balance things out with my selfish gym concerns.  Who knows.

Lifting weights 3 times a week in a group choreographed releases is addictive!  But if I spread a virus as a carrier without knowing (they say you can have it and not know it), then oh no!  I better not go. Right?  I take my temperature every day and feel fine, but still . . . right?

Anyway, do you get the feeling that the authorities know more than they are telling us about the virus?  I watch the news but still feel there’s something missing there.  Here’s a gross report.  One TV reporter said that the virus came from bats and then tonight I read about it originating from snakes.  Ugh. Let’s let those thoughts go; shouldn’t have mentioned it.

Stress is not good for anybody, right?  Therefore, I must stop stressing about this question and my attachment to the spin bike and the weight lifting classes must be handled.

Right; well then.  A quickie. Turning to my cards.  Yes or No spread.  Is it in everyone’s best interest, including my own, if I avoid the gym until they sound the all-clear?  Yikes; That could be months!  There go my mental withdrawal symptom alarms at the very thought of that!

Such an oxymoron, right?  Going to a gym and working out is supposed to be a healthy thing to do!

Right.  Anyway. The cards.  Okay. Here we go . . . No, let me add timing to this question.  I will ask for one week and then decide weekly thereafter.  Here we go . . .

The revised question is this:  Is it in everyone’s best interest, including my own if I do NOT go to the gym for one week? Yes or No? 

Alright.  It’s a YES.  Ace of Swords, Three of Cups, Ace of Cups.

(Ace in the 3rd pile of 13 cards is the strongest indicator of YES and the Ace of Swords in the 1st pile of 13 adds to it.

The middle pile of 13 cards displays the Three of Cups which adds to the meaning.

The first impression in seeing that card was about how being with the other women (oops, guys in the class too) lifting weights to music week after week is group power and fun.  And there’s the community and bonding stuff going on.  I see this card as a validation of the question that is being asked… women lifting cups, bonding.  Me lifting weights and doing the same at the gym.  Get it?  It’s like the cards are telling me that they hear the question, loud and clear.

But with this decision, the Three of Cups card also indicates that there are joyous possibilities that can come from my withdrawal. I will find a way to do cardio and increase at-home yoga to not lose my fitness level.  THAT will be a challenge but what can I say?  I may actually really enjoy that — yeah, well, keeping an open mind, I will re-asses in one week.

Done and done!  Right now I’m going to say that I’m going to bed.  My mind will shut up now.  The decision’s been made.

My heart extends to all who are suffering from the effects of this pandemic.   May you, reader, be safe and protected.

PS —  image at the top of this post was a random photo but that looks like one of our group power moves, actually chest press is my favorite and my bar is loaded with 3 plates too and we lay on the bench just as the people in the photo; probably my 3 plates are not the same weight as the people in the photo but looks the same anyway… yeah, it’s late and I’m not making sense now.  Goodnight; didn’t intend to go on and on so long.