Welcome back to the most infrequently written blog on the internet! Thanks for opening the email, I’m certainly happy to reconnect with you all.
I don’t want to write about you-know-what; I want to write about the 4-week retreat I have just started, here in my staff-house at Aro-Hā.
Day One of the retreat was a bit bumpy. It was hard to be away from friends and disengage from the life I had planned. My mind was very restless. I was still figuring out the schedule, the practicalities of cooking, cleaning and exercising, and how to use the space I share with my house-mate wisely so neither of us triggered an outburst of afflictive emotions in the other; if at all possible. The fact that I hadn’t signed up for this 4-week retreat contributed to Day One being a little vexing.
When I think back a couple of weeks, how I had imagined this month playing out is just about as far removed from today’s reality as is possible. It’s fair to say that I thought I was in control of some very exciting and well laid plans that had been years in the making. Anyway, not so much, it turns out.
Day Two of the retreat has been way more relaxing, clear and calm. Why? Because I have stopped calling this situation a lockdown. This shift has been the biggest help. The re-framing of my physical isolation has triggered a shift in my mindset in other ways too. On retreat we slow down. Whatever thoughts and emotions arise in our consciousness we accept (or try to at least) and we aim to remain present, not lost in our thoughts, worries, or our analysis of the current world situation however much we might want to make some predictions and plans. We can enjoy the rare peace that has enveloped our part of the world, watch a sunset, not be in a rush to get anywhere. That is so precious.
Early this morning I lay in bed with the blind up and saw the most beautiful sight – thousands of birds, in one long, continual flock, flew north passed my window. It took a full minute for them to pass by and out of sight. Were they the Godwits on their 12,000 km journey to Alaska? How do they know when and where to go? So much of nature’s perfection is unfathomable. I would have missed that if I had been getting ready for work. I may NEVER have seen such a thing.
Mother Nature of course includes, us, the birds, and the virus. Maybe we all need to meditate on what exactly the virus/Mother Earth wants us to do in response to this pandemic rather than trying to be clever and intellectualise/analyse our way out of it. ‘Be kind’ our prime minister tells us.
It’s only Day Two and there is a long road ahead. We have no idea what the future looks like it’s true, but did we ever?
One realisation that I am holding, is that ‘the pandemic’ and ‘my life’ are not two things. There is only my life.
Currently I am making sure I move my body in ways that feel good (for me that’s yoga, dog walking and trail running), I’m staying both informed and entertained (thank you internet and piles of books) and doing my meditation practises several times a day. I am cooking simple plant-based food and having healthy beverages on hand so that I don’t get too caffeinated.
Today I have made a batch of my Morning Elixir (recipe below), and simmered a giant hand of fresh ginger (finely sliced) in water with some sultanas to make a strongly spiced ginger syrup – it’s gorgeous on porridge, (yes, it’s getting cold here in Otago now) but my favourite way to use it is in a ginger latte – just add 1-2 tablespoons to frothed milk. Ginger is my all time favourite spice, both for its’ flavour and for its’ medicinal properties – it can help prevent/treat nausea, asthma, cholesterol problems, cancer, and heartburn. Some studies have also shown promise for ginger to treat the common RSV virus; the cause of common respiratory infections.
add all ingredients to a jar with a lid and shake well. Refrigerate before serving. Makes a week’s worth of shots.
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup lemon juice
- juice of one orange
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/4 tsp cayenne
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
I posted the following poem on Instagram recently. I hang out there more regularly than here on on the blog these days, so please connect there if you would like – you can never have too many friends and I appreciate my many online connections more than ever, for obvious reasons!!
I love this poem, although right now it also makes me feel a little sad – already long gone are the days when a waitress could hand us a coffee. How the world has changed in a blink of an eye.
By Danusha Laméris
I’ve been thinking about the way, when you walk
down a crowded aisle, people pull in their legs
to let you by. Or how strangers still say “bless you”
when someone sneezes, a leftover
from the Bubonic plague. “Don’t die,” we are saying.
And sometimes, when you spill lemons
from your grocery bag, someone else will help you
pick them up. Mostly, we don’t want to harm each other.
We want to be handed our cup of coffee hot,
and to say thank you to the person handing it. To smile
at them and for them to smile back. For the waitress
to call us honey when she sets down the bowl of clam chowder,
and for the driver in the red pick-up truck to let us pass.
We have so little of each other, now. So far
from tribe and fire. Only these brief moments of exchange.
What if they are the true dwelling of the holy, these
fleeting temples we make together when we say, “Here,
have my seat,” “Go ahead — you first,” “I like your hat.”
Thanks for reading!