NonPolitical Rantings from a Covid Captive

Many times over the past few years, I’d say 7 or 8 times, I have received phone calls from my political party asking for a donation. Each time I’ve told the the solicitor that I wouldn’t give money unless I could talk to someone about my concerns. All 7 or 8 times no one ever bothered calling me back.

Politics in our country has been reduced to raising campaign money, getting elected and then fighting with the other elected people while not getting much done. This cycle seems to repeat itself over and over again.

Because of the pandemic, I believe that traditional politics no longer serve us. The virus has reduced everything to the study of sociology and human needs, in other words, people. We are in trouble as a species because of our inability to work together. Our shared destiny and our ability to survive as a functioning society is in danger.

I came to this realization on July 18. And if I may, I will offer myself as a case study to show how I came to this conclusion.

 Positive cases in my county went from 111 on July 11 to 145 on July 17     I was angry at the people along the river who partied in large unmasked groups around an island and on a beach on the St. Lawrence River. They were young and didn’t seem to care about my county and or the fact that   I had spent 10 weeks at home in lockdown during the spring.

With the rising cases, my emotional fear alarm went off as I consider my options. Would there be another shutdown?    I scanned my environment. A heat spell was coming. Also, I’m 71 and even though I have great health I’m in the risk category. So, I made a plan. 

 I woke up at 6 am to avoid the heat and the crowds.    First, I went to Walmart 15 miles away to get more meat to put in my freezer. When I went a week ago to the store’s grocery pickup they were all out of the ground turkey I thought I had reserved.  I came back home and was able to store a good supply of available meat in my freezer. I felt satisfied that my stash of supplies was now quite adequate.   

Next to the recycling center. We don’t have garbage pick up in my rural area. It felt good to have my recyclables and trash out of the house. 

My basic needs were taken care of and I felt relieved. If the uptick in cases keeps going up, I was confident that I had all I needed to stay home again. I worry, as all Americans do, that another shutdown is coming.  

Today, July 27, the positive cases in my rural county have reached 185, 12 new cases added over the weekend.

Worrying about my basic needs reminded me of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, something I learned about in my training to become a teacher.

To become the best we can be, we first have to have our basic physical needs met, food, shelter, water, clothes. These things are essential to keep us alive. That is why I’m making sure I have food in case of another shutdown or because of a break in the supply chain.

Next comes a sense of safety and stability, freedom from harm including death from disease and/or social unrest.

Then there is love and belonging. Our present situation is separating us from friends and family.

These three important factors for human well being are being threatened by Covid-19. The world is in trouble.

Political parties and political bickering are insane when our country is facing life and death issues. There has to be a major shift. The time for candidates to ask us for support and money is gone! The question now is how are the people running this country going to protect and save us? We need that answer.

Confessions of a Covid Captive

I haven’t written in a while because how could I write when I didn’t know who I was? How do any of us live when what we thought was normal suddenly disappears, when routine and certainty is gone? How do we understand anything when our reality is so different and our thoughts and feelings have been jarred and muddled?

I’m a control freak, an “all-the-ducks-in-row” creature. I guess it is the survival tactic I acquired during my chaotic childhood. There was alcoholism in my family. I’m also a news junkie, I watched sick people filling the halls of the Wuhan hospitals and ordered my first masks from Amazon on January 26.

I’m in my 13th week of this thing called “the new normal”. I am getting out more with my masks, hand sanitizer and social distancing. I can write now because I can see myself again. But my image is still a bit blurry around the edges. Sometimes the lost feeling comes back and I have to hold still and stop the uneasy vibrations inside me. But there is hope and the beginnings of wholeness

My points of reference, the present and the future are unstable because of the pandemic but something strange has taken the place of these two life markers. I’m going back to past things that brought me joy. It’s like I’m a tourist leisurely walking through an art gallery seeing pictures of a long ago me who is smiling and doing rewarding things. I’m rich in time now and like a wealthy patron, I take the imagines off the wall and they become a part of me once again.

I started with baking. I used to do it all the time but lost the skill. I feared the chemistry, the failure and the waste. But I’m baking again.

I’m exploring my woods like I used to. Going off the usual trails, I have found new treasures in new places that I’ve never noticed during my decades here.

For many years, I knew I should cut down the small trees and bushes in the understory so I could see through the wood more easily. That goal is being achieved and, as I do, I have been gathering and burning deadfall from winters long forgotten.

I built my firepit last year in hopes of sitting by a fire with coffee and books. I never got around to it but now I have. I have gone back to reading fiction, enjoying the beautiful words of skilled writers. I usually read only nonfiction. But I’ve moved away from my habit of cutting away at information from these books by picking at the table of contents. Alway feeling short on time, I rushed through pertinent chapters without really appreciating all that the authors wanted to teach me.

It’s been a long time since I’ve sat still by my big picture window, in silence just to be. Now I’m being rewarded.

Image may contain: plant, tree, outdoor and nature
Image may contain: bird, outdoor and nature

I used to have a huge vegetable garden. This spring I have planted again, just a few things. I’m having fun staging ridiculous things around my young sprouts to scare away my hungry wildlife. It’s working.

Lately, I’ve returned to two old hobbies I used to love, sewing and painting.

And my biggest return to the past is the fact that I’m wearing my long uncut hair in a ponytail, something I haven’t done since elementary school. This amazes me.

For the longest time during the pandemic, I was frozen. I spent hours watching the news and youtube videos about the virus trying to understand it, control it. I was so uncomfortable with this strange catastrophic event, disorientated in the present and totally clueless and scared about the future. There was no choice but to go back to the things in the past that had brought me happiness. I know many of my readers and friends are doing the same. I tell everyone I’m fortunate to talk with to stay safe and healthy. Now, I add another wish, for them to be happy. We have the time now to explore, notice nature, plant seeds, and create beautiful new things. We need to draw from what is around us and within us. This is our new normal but we can make it work.

Copyright 2020 @theautonomoustraveler.com All rights reserved.

Circles

I have felt fractured, broken the last few days. I was fine getting through almost five weeks of “social distancing”. I was doing my part and felt proud of myself. And then things shifted as people without masks in close proximity were protesting the Covid-19 stay-at-home policy. I felt violated and wondered if all my time alone had been wasted. And I couldn’t help feeling that as a society we were surely screwed.

In these long weeks, I’ve been listening and reading and thinking. For some reason I’ve been fascinated by circles. Excess time gives a human being a lot of opportunities to notice. This one was sent yesterday by a friend.

This one appeared in an ad on Facebook.

Votes for Women Puzzle

Here is a grouping from my bathroom.

Maybe I’m jealous of circles because they are so perfect and, as a human being, I will never ever be that. Maybe I’m drawn to them because are complete in themselves. They can be symbols that provide rich understanding for hurried minds and prompt shorthand for the unconscious.

Nicolaus Copernicus Biography: Facts and Discoveries | Space
Copernican Earth Map

The Great Seal of the US Royalty Free Vector Image
The seal of the US
What's the Peace Sign and Should I Wear It? – Jewelry Guide
Peace Symbol

Did Stonehenge Hold Up a Giant Stage? | Smart News | Smithsonian ...
Stonehenge
Image result for rose windows gothic
Rose Window in a Church
What Does yin-yang Mean? | Pop Culture by Dictionary.com
Yin/Yang
Time

Circles appear in the natural world.

Cross section of a tree - Tree Growth and Structure

Image result for ripples in water

I think I’ve always admired the symmetry of neat circles. I’ve always been a global thinker because random ideas and loose ends have always confused me. Like a annoying little kid, I have always needed to know the “why” behind things. This has influenced my traveling style. I love to understand the interplay of a situation, the geography, history, art, politics, economics, etc. of the places I visit and how it all fits together.

Examples of Contextual, Integrated Learning and How it Benefits ...

A long time ago, I found a wholeness in the writings of author, Karen Armstrong, a former Catholic nun who wrote about her quest to understand all religions. She came to the conclusion that they all share a common doctrine, The Golden Rule.

Scaffolding International World Religion Day (University) -

These weeks in isolation have given me the time to reconnect with the hundreds of books I have collected over my many years. They are mostly nonfiction, my treasure troves of unsolved mysteries and elusive information. I came across a book on Carl Jung, an early 20th century psychologist, who coined the phrase , “collective consciousness”. He believed that we not only inherit genetic physical characteristics from our ancestors but also unconscientious patterns.

What would Carl Jung think of this moment in history? His theory of collective consciousness has become a reality as all of us face Covid-19 and the possible collapse of economic systems. We as a total world population now have one focus, one consciousness.

Yesterday one of our nation’s leader was asked what the new normal would look like. He answered by saying we need to change our vocabulary. He stated that normal as we knew it is gone, it is time to reimage what kind of society and future we now want to create and how each one of us can become a better reimaged version of ourselves.

This leader inspired me. There has been a rebirth of the old me. I’m cooking and baking once again. And I’ve started planting a garden. I have plans to really work on my backyard and up my daily exercise. Soon I will go up to my art room and paint again. I love to be alone but I’ve come to realize the priceless value of my wonderful friends. I will make more connections when this is over. In this time of slow paced quiet, I’m finding parts of myself again.

Carl Jung also wrote about “individuation”, the process of becoming one’s true self. He painted mandalas which is a practice found in many cultures over the centuries. Jung believed that they were symbols of wholeness in self. He also saw their creation as a peaceful meditation.

I have been doing them, printing them off the internet. I love them because no matter what colors or patterns I choose, they are all beautiful when I complete them.

Over these weeks, I’ve been doing the mandalas by starting in the center and working outward. Some people recommend working from the outside and moving inward. That’s what’s nice about mandalas, circles, and life, it doesn’t matter. It’s all about never giving up and striving to create something new.