The last time I wrote one of these personal updates was 3 months ago on the Winter Solstice. I was living the tropical paradise dream in Mexico but I felt uneasy. Something was wrong, my body kept telling me. It all makes so much sense now. There was a reason I had to leave when I did.
I am so glad now. It would be devastating to be in Mexico with the lack of services and support systems that this Cartel-run country relies on. I know — from that one experience I had been rushed to hospital with an infection — where they wouldn’t treat me until I handed over my credit card and signed some papers even though I was entirely incoherent. I know — from the amount of crime that happens when times are well — that the crime rates would rise when times are not. Mexico is not a safe country to be in when things go wrong.
3 weeks ago after 4 Ubers, 3 flights and 1 night in an airport hotel I am back on this little island edged by the North Atlantic Ocean. I was so tense and anxious about travelling with my cat and putting him through this extraordinary ordeal but that feels completely meaningless now.
We are learning what is truly important, time is standing still and everything is changing.
The birds seem to sing more loudly than usual now. The sound of fallen leaves crowding into a corner by the wind accompanies me. The streets are empty bar a few joggers wrapped in black, their heads hung low against the cold. Cafes are stacked with chairs and ‘closed’ signs hanging off the door handles. Most people, except those required to maintain our basic services, have retreated out of view.
After 3 days of grey and rain, the sun is bursting through the clouds today. I have pledged myself to a long walk to one of the furthest parks where a small local farm is operating a stand. I want to support small local businesses as much as I can. I will also use any excuse I can to go outside.
I view this time as one giant pause.
A pause we’ve all been desperately needing and secretly hoping for. We know that life as we have been living it is unsustainable. We know things need to change. Now they are.
People keep asking me what my plans are. Fortunately for me, I don’t really do plans. I set gentle aims that are flexible to the everchanging landscape of our lives.
As soon as I arrived in Brighton I busily set out to find a home. Every day I scoured the online posts for the perfect 1-bedroom flat. Third or fourth floor, wooden floors, balcony, near the water… Every night I would design the inside of my home with Pinterest pictures. I found one that was almost right. I didn’t get it because of Danger. I kept going. Two weeks later I found the perfect place. It had everything plus a cat flap that leads out to the balcony.
I was accepted to rent it. Mentally I started to list the most pressing furniture I would need. A bed. Pots and pans to make meals. A sofa. A desk. Hours later the real estate agent contacts me. “We regret to inform you that the property has been withdrawn as the owner has lost his job offer in London and will no longer be moving.” I cry. Big heavy sobs in the square outside my yoga studio. I want to find my home.
After the sadness I find acceptance. This is happening for me. There’s no need to rush. Relax. Breathe. Trust.
For now, I wait. Friends and allies support me in my decision to stay in another AirBnB for the next few months as we wait this time out. I have 10 days left in my current one and have 2 potential places to stay in for April and May.
Everyone is kinder, more compassionate, more caring right now. There’s a sense of solidarity amongst us even as I look strangers that I pass in the eye. We are in this together. Everyone is being impacted in one way or another. How interdependent we really are is clear to us now.
I am one of the fortunate ones. I have worked online for almost 7 years now, and it’s pretty much business as usual. I have enough savings to see me through for a year if need be. I suddenly have all the time I need to upgrade my systems and processes. I am writing and reading books and watching films and being kind and gentle with myself. I am grateful for this enforced downtime.
I hope this is the source of a new normal. That we take this time sequestered into our individual realities and allow it to steer us into a new revolutionary direction.
I hope we all willingly do our part in activating drastic change. That we reflect on how we can act together as a community that includes not only humans of every race and background but also animals, plants and oceans.<
I hope we are at the tipping point of a transformed perspective. One where connection, beauty, love and creativity override capitalism, consumerism and selfish greed.
I hope we use this fragile transient time to see everything with new, clear eyes. That we can envision what we need to do to steer into a new way.
I hope we learn to remain soft and gentle and kind. That we make every choice with loving mindfulness instead of hurrying back to what we once knew.
I hope this is the beginning of a new world. One where we view ourselves as part of a breathtaking miracle: a rotating sphere of life suspended in an infinite galaxy. And honour it as so.