Field Notes

I have retreated once again to the tub. Whoever said “a hot bath can cure all that ails” was surely right. Beyond that, a relaxed body will create a chain reaction to a relaxed mind. I’m not sure how it works exactly, but it has a surprising effect on me. 

These last few blog posts of mine have been written in here, on my phone. Maybe it’s my own personal pandemic response. The words flow here. As I sit down in the morning or evening to actually write in my journal I am struck by how unnatural it feels to me. Forced. Contrived. It isn’t until I hit the tub that the blocks in my mind begin to crumble and allow the passage of words, unavailable at other times. I could spend a lot of time worrying about that or I could just let it be. 

This pandemic is changing me. I don’t have any judgement about the particulars of that, but I feel a radical change. If it were a taste, sour lemon. A sensation, electric shock. A sound, a gunshot in the still night. The tarot cards have revealed an upheaval and my dreams are waking me with a jolt. To think that any of us will move through this unchanged never enters my mind. 

I’ve tried phone and Zoom calls, but they are not my cup of tea. They seem to highlight my insecurities and pull me clean away from the connectedness they are meant to create. My ego is always front and center. Always in the way. ” Do I really sound like that ?  Do I really look like that ?  How am I coming across ? Do they like me ?”  It shouldn’t matter, these small things, but they do, whether I like it or not. I need to look someone in the eye. I’m learning that I trust the language of the body over the language of the voice or written word. 

I’m guessing that many are looking for ways to numb their feelings or push them into a corner they can’t see and then more easily forget about them. Others, I envision trying to walk through the middle of them, like scurrying over hot coals. I have tried both, and now in my own crash course toward a more enlightened state, I am holding only the thought that it might best serve me to simply “be” with whatever feelings I’m having. A coexistence, free of judgement. 

And it has changed me. 

Awareness of ego is brutally hard to sit with. I’m learning about myself in the simplest of terms: When I should step away, I lean in. When I should lean in, I step away. I definitely see my work. If that work has a voice, it is the one that comes whispering every night as I try to sleep. My body is sore and fatigued most evenings. I assume sleep will be swift as I can barely keep my eyes open and my body is craving rest. But that isn’t usually the case. The voice in my head is full of questions and it quietly exploits a now captive audience. 

It’s okay. With a notebook nearby, I often scribble things down as “field notes” for moving forward. There is some deciphering to be done of my own pitch dark shorthand, but there’s often enough scrawl and scratch to be able to understand what it is I’ve held onto and what it is I’ve let go of. 

This is becoming my own Master Class of life. My working title will be: Virus, Radical Change and the Path Ahead. Or maybe, simply: The Year I Finally Began Growing Into Who I Am. 

I’d love to hear from you if you’ve read this through to the end. I wonder how this pandemic looks through your lens. Are you changed because of it ? Are you worried or curious about what our post-pandemic looks like ? Are you writing about it ? Talking about it ? Will you share ? 

My email is in my About section if you’d rather not share in a comment. We are all weathering the same storm but we are definitely not in the same boat. Even the forecast is changing from where each of us sit. Thank you for being here with me ♡

Bonnie Rae

10 Comments on “Field Notes

  1. I am realizing that isolation is different from “living alone,” which is something I never really understood before. But I hate it now. Isolation, not living alone. I LOVE living alone, and truly believe, if I had a partner or house mate or relative living with me, there would be blood on the floors and splattered across the picture window. But I hate ISOLATION. I ZOOM but it is boring and no comparison to sitting across from a friend sharing a coffee or a drink. This past week, I finally had a coffee date outside of our coffee watering hole, #DriftingGrounds, and it was glorious to see all of her face other than what was behind the mask. And this weekend, I dropped a BD package off to a friend who was celebrating her 65th, and ended up staying, in my own field chair and 6 ft apart, on her front porch for most of the evening, chatting. It was GLORIOUS! So what this Covid19 drill has taught me is that, we need personal connection. I NEED PERSONAL CONNECTION. Not on the phone and not via a screen. Then, I can return to my living alone!

    • I totally get that. Solitude is by choice, this confinement is by decree. It feels different. It has started really getting to me, I think. I need to have outside connections with both people and places. Without those, I feel oddly untethered and I really want to feel like I belong somewhere. This week I can finally move around a bit more, but I am finding myself longing for the one day that never comes. Tomorrow. 

  2. My sister is alone and needs company. My daughter has two teenage sons and alone who needs help. Frustration is what I feel not being able to help. It’s a tug of war knowing we need to keep our distance but also needing to see my family.

    • I think I get a little complacent sometimes and forget how very tragic this has been for so many. It’s only when I stop by my Mom’s but can’t go in the house or near them that it really sinks in. Hang in there, my friend. There really will be a time when we are on the other side of this. Thinking of you all.

  3. In my life, I have learned that feelings aren’t right or wrong—they’re just feelings. We are human beings, rather than human doings. I have been given so many opportunities to remember this, and the stay at home order has punctuated it. I have the woods, and the studio, and my lane and a half dead-end road. My daughters are healthy in their respective city apartments. I am sipping my morning coffee, accompanied by birdsong. And this is ok.

  4. I am seeing and taking responsibility for what I’ve overlooked, that’s the big thing. And I realize that even in my own home this is harder on others than it is on me. I am grateful that I have a practice of being still and silent and dropping expectations of outcome. Plus, my cooking has improved and my family seems much more appreciative of that than anything else these days.

    • Twenty five years ago, pulled over in a dark neighborhood, sitting in my car, a friend shared with me this line: suffer what there is to suffer, enjoy what there is to enjoy. I flashed on that today in what felt like a really significant moment. It was like a seed back then and I can finally see something coming up through the muck. It seems that may have been my overlooked thing. 

  5. Mighty words, Bonnie Rae. Thank you. Agree that nobody comes out of this unchanged. How could someone? It feels almost like a hard reset for the human race, sort of a jolt from the universal jumper cables.

    • Yes, a hard reset indeed. Perhaps the bugs will be gone when we power it all up again. I know that sounds a bit delusional but I am holding tight to a dream with all my might.

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