All minds are welcome
Releasing Guilt in Lockdown – by Lizzy Hodcroft
Since March 20th, I have not touched another human besides my partner who I am in isolation with. I have not reached out to shake any hands. I have not embraced my friends or family in a hug. I have not even bumped into another human being by accident in the street.
What I have instead is a small indentation that cradles my body on the couch and in my office chair. Unused to the constant contact from myself and getting no new wear by any new bodies, I have managed to shape in my soft furnishings a new type of “hug”.
I have unlocked the power of an afternoon shower. Washing away the muggy morning and resetting my mind. And I realise now that most of my wardrobe is useless as I have settled for the same 4 sets of work out clothes and comfy pants as a trade-in for smart tops and shoes.
I am starting to consider investing in bathrobes. I imagine it’s just another way of wrapping yourself in a blanket. A blanket with sleeves. And while I’m at it, I will also treat myself to new slippers as I have now worn mine so thin, I can feel the hard floor beneath me in every step I take.
You might have noticed that your days have been stripped back to the bare minimum, working in drips and small chunks to try and get out what small amount of work you can.
Staring off into space while standing in the middle of the kitchen now seems like part of the structure to your day. We are stressed. We are anxious. And we are uncertain how to plan for a future that doesn’t seem like it exists.
I am exhausted not because my body is being pushed to its limits but because my brain is.
Uncertainty has left me feeling unmotivated for most the day, leaving me with small bursts of excitement and ideas that I try to squeeze from myself before apathy takes back over.
Perhaps the best we can do for ourselves at this point is to try to live with grace. To show ourselves gratitude for making it this far. To be gentle with our expectations and encouraging of the small win we are able to make.
Perhaps trying to recreate a commute as a barrier between the two is not really what we need. Perhaps we will never master how to separate the “working” couch from the “living” couch and we should instead give ourselves the freedom to be okay that this is the best that we can do.
Release yourself of the guilt that you are not “doing” enough. You are doing the best that you can and is all that life can ask of you. Anything done with a pure and good intention is something to be rewarded.
There is so much that is beyond our control during this time and to engage in a battle to win back what little control we do have is a losing one. Let us find the flexibility to be agile. Let us discover the joy in this process of adjusting to a new world. Let us acknowledge that anything in life worth doing, achieving and even celebrating will always require a period of ambiguity, doubt and discomfort. The hardest part will always be knowing what outcome we really desire.
As for myself, I have started to notice that I am slowly growing more confident in my work. Free from the constant scrutiny that I believe I am under when out in the real world (or the old world), I now find my spirit is flourishing with a bold certainly that is often dampened down when I am trying to second guess other’s feelings and judgements.
Now, with no one in which to reflect my insecurities from, I am lighter. Free from second guesses or the burn of potential embarrassment, I can stand tall in my resolution and ideas.
There is freedom to be found in the break down of structure. Some reassurance to be discovered through the chaos. And with our expectations changing from one hour to the next, our outlook switching from disheartened to optimistic, from unbothered to energised and back again, we will realise that it is the process, the journey – not the outcome- that really matters.
Don’t forget, while the world has come to a standstill, nature hasn’t. The grass continues to grow, flowers bloom and birds are now the main backing track in my day. Taking time to absorb the natural world in whatever form it presents itself to you will remind us to be present and to appreciate this calm instead of desperately clutching for stability in our future.
For our future was never ours to control anyway. We may put in time and goodwill towards what we want to accomplish and who we want to be but there was always going to the unexpected details that would throw us off course and test our patience.
For today, for this minute… let us just be. Let us just heal. Let us find unity. And please… dear god… let us always have a strong and stable internet connection so that we may get drunk while answering pub quiz questions with our friends over zoom.