Day 16 Lockdown in France

These days when one day bleeds into another, it becomes all the more important to find a meaning that will serve us throughout that day and perhaps into the next. How can I still find inspiration if my mind is full of anxiety? Not only is anxiety a primary emotion of the world, I believe that inner restlessness is a very common state as well. We are all worried about the future, whether it be for our jobs that are uncertain or our heath or that of our loved ones. Let us list them, shall we? That way we can take a good look at all, well, most of our worries and then we can process these. Once that is done, some places of our mind will be cleared up leaving behind spaces of tremendous possibilities. So here comes my list, my worries that I have these days: I am not sure how my family, both near and extended, and friends will cope with the health threat. There is always the danger that someone will be affected. Then, I worry about our jobs, knowing that many of us, even within my circle of friends, will either lose them or have already lost them. I worry about the communities and the small businesses that have relied on daily transactions and now have nothing. I worry about the exodus of thousands of daily workers who are now walking home to their villages from the bigger cities in India, with no food, no shelter and the police constantly on their backs. I worry about the homeless people around the world, the sick, the lonely, the depressed, the mentally ill. I worry about the animals, now abandoned. I prefer to now stop my worry list, because to be really honest, at this point I have to think to find what I am worried about, and I am sure the list can continue but I believe this is enough. 

Now that I have put these on paper, I look at these and see that most people will share similar worries. We are today, like never before, united in our anxiety. Because, this anxiety is real, it is a part of us and our daily lives. Can we, however, accept this as a part of us, to say, yes, this is me, the whole me, as it is a part of my partner, my children, my parents, my neighbour, the guy in the next village, the mother in Paris, for my alumni group at university, for people I don’t even know? Acceptance always has a sidekick and that is humility. When I accept, I bow my head down to something greater than me and my physical existence. If this sounds too bizarre, think of the movement you automatically do when you accept something, could it be a slight nod of head, an inaudible breathing out? Isn’t this the fabulous moment when we acknowledge the fact that something greater is at work here outside of our realm of understanding. Does that mean to say, we should simply accept our worries and sit tight? No, of course not. After we see the whole picture, we begin to ask ourselves, what can we do? What can do? The key is to do what you can, accept what you can’t. Going through my list of worries, I now ask myself: I am not a researcher nor a scientist, so I can’t stop the disease, but I can certainly practice all the precautionary measures and encourage my family to do the same. I can’t give the jobs back to people, but I can support local shops by shopping there once we are allowed to and encouraging them to continue. I can’t stop thousands of people, hungry and without jobs, walking to their villages in India, but I can donate to the Relief Fund set up by the government. I can’t adopt every animal abandoned, but I can support organizations that do. The more I think about it the more I realize just as we are in this together, we can also find ways to help together. But the key really is, do what you can, accept what you can’t. 

While, what I write might seem like a to-do list, you tick off the first list on our item, then move on to the next, it actually isn’t. The worries and the possibilities are two sides of the same coin. I am flipping the coin, you might say. Once I do that, the space and opportunities simply explode. We have been given this gift of life, which by no means is to be taken for granted. There will be someone or the other, who we know in our circle of friends, who has lost a child at childbirth. But, we lived, we survived, we are the lucky ones. We can breathe this air, watch the trees and the sky, count stars at night, listen to the evening bird song, feel the cold water as we dip our fingers in the mountain stream. So, here is my possibility list: I can eat ice-cream under the hot summer sun, I can watch the waves wash out footprints as I walk along the shore. I feel lucky that I can dance under the warm rain. I can drink coffee, poke my fingers in dirt, pet my dog, run my fingers over the cool ivory keys of the piano, hum in the shower, walk through the forest, sit in a café and watch life pass by (well, not right now, but soon). How are these possibilities, you might ask. Because life has given me the possibility to do these and so much more. If acceptance’s sidekick is humility, then possibility’s is exuberance. Can we promise ourselves to make our lives full of possibilities? Can we check-in with ourselves to see where we are today? Do we need some adjustments? Some places to pull, some places to push? Can we be exuberant each day? Can we commit to that? 

Tomorrow, let us go on a trip, shall we? Through the forest? Let me share the beauty and wilderness of the forest with you tomorrow. For today, bask in the exuberance life has to offer.

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