we don't know
It’s such a strange time. There is a feeling that my toes just skim the surface of my reality. I’m in some kind of limbo. A couple of weeks after I landed in Brighton the word COVID entered our vocabulary along with other new words like ‘lockdown’ and ‘social distancing’ and ‘flatten the curve’.
They brought with them a distinct sense of aloneness. We are going through this together, but also alone. I’m fortunate. I know it. And yet the grief comes in strange indiscernible waves and I often don’t know what to do with it other than spend long hours staring outside at the birds, the sky, the clouds moving past. Or pound my feet against hard ground as fast as I can to feel something, something other than… this. The sweat pooling under my breasts and running down my back remind me that I am still a living breathing being.

By the end of March, I have to find another place to live. The AirBnB I rented for a month needs to be returned to its owner. A month of house-hunting colliding with a global pandemic left me empty-handed. I find another AirBnB to rent and then a friend connects me with a friend of hers… She’s stuck in Finland and her flat is empty. Danger and I are welcome to sublet it for the time being.
My AirBnB host generously offers me to move. We do a strange social-distancing dance packing my belongings and the cat-crate into her little car, but then sit only inches apart on the short drive to my new home and I think how all this doesn’t make any sense.
That first week is strange, confusing. I project all my displaced emotions on my environment. I feel frustrated, sad, uncertain… I don’t know how I’d manage all my feelings without my routines. The yoga, the running, the journalling, the meditation. Without these, my days would be lost to my emotions.

I start to become familiar with my surroundings. The seafront that changes every day set along the lawns and stretches of colourful beach huts. The parks that have the most trees and blossoming flowers. The closest independent grocery stores. The little rituals that make up life right now.
One day at the cash register the boy checking out my produce asks me how I am. It’s the first time since my move that a real human being in the flesh has asked me that. I softly smile, grateful for this simple, pure interaction. I’m ok… riding the waves, you know. What do you do for work? he asks. I’m a writer. My standard answer when I don’t want to explain the full spectrum of the work I do. Wow! He seems genuinely impressed. What does your partner do? I laugh, lightly. He’s cheeky. What makes you assume I have a partner? You just look like… he draws a breath… Can I find you on Instagram? Sure. I smile and tap my tag into his phone. We develop an unusual friendship.

I can barely bring myself to work. Most of my private clients have asked to take a break for the time being. My new planner’s production has halted due to borders being closed. We don’t know when things will begin moving again. I have plenty of things I can do, but the motivation to do them has gone.
So instead, I order books online and lose myself in stories. I have immense spurts of creativity blended with extended periods of apathy.  I write about books I’ve loved and film a gift for my readers. Each day is different. Most of the time I feel like this:

On Easter Sunday my new friend sends me a DM. How’s your Easter? Did you celebrate with a chocolate egg? I did not. I kind of forgot about Easter. I reply. I’m not one for conventional holidays. Give me celebrations based on the movements of the moon and the sun instead.

He meets me in the square near my flat with a Lindt chocolate egg, a bunny, a dark chocolate bar and some daffodils. I am beyond touched.
A few days later we go for a walk. I impress him with my knowledge on octopuses. He makes me laugh with his openness and enthusiasm. We forget that there’s a 14-year age gap between us.

Eventually, I find bliss. The days are long and sunny. The spring blossoms intoxicate the air with their scents. I go for extended rambling walks anywhere I can find nature. I’m drowning in my privilege and I know it and I am so grateful for it. Space. Time. The ability to relax into this limbo we find ourselves in. I’m content.
Early on I decided to drown out the noise of all the conspiracy theories and news. Well… that’s my rule regardless of what’s going on in the world, but now I had to make more of an effort to remain away from it because biased loud opinions have filled every digital platform I spend time on. Suddenly, millions of people are shouting their views in all caps, narratives based on tiny fragments of possibilities.
I only believe in what I know and the one thing I know for sure is we don’t know. There’s so much we don’t know.
Is this just a flu? Is it something more? Is nature taking its course is and showing us who’s boss? Did someone create it in a lab? Should we not hug each other anymore?
Most of the information we are given contradicts itself and creates conflict amongst people with differing views. Mine is more liberal than most. (If you are reading this right now and you don’t agree with my perspectives, that’s ok. I accept you. Thank you for accepting me, too.)
I believe everything happens for a reason. This is a big wakeup call which will be experienced in as many different ways as there are people. There is no right or wrong way to navigate and negotiate this. We are all sovereign beings doing the best we can with what we have available to us.
We live in a systematic society based on capitalism and a chronic sense of urgency to go faster, harder. More, more, more. It’s toxic and depleting. Now we are all seeing exactly how and why. Capitalism cannot survive things slowing down. It’s a betrayal to a system that always requires growth.
I want to understand this better and begin to learn more about how we can create an economy that thrives and how to implement it. We have all taken part in this system of exploitation. We can be the ones to improve it. We can demand change by choosing to do things differently and expecting distinct options.
I am thinking a lot about my role in the world. About feminine leadership and how I can best embody this. I start developing a workshop to offer to female corporate leadership teams about tapping into their unique, uncensored ability to feel and embody truth and create spectacular results in their workplace through it. I’m excited to teach and expand on this topic.

Danger and writing and creating are my constant. Every morning I find him lying at the end of my bed waiting for the moment I open my eyes and move. He comes and nuzzles my face and licks my nose and snuggles against me while I take my temperature to track my cycle. Then we go find the ribbon that came with a Sezané order once and I hold it up high in the air while he chases and enthusiastically swings his little paws at it for a while.
Some days we spend the whole morning here, in bed tapping away at my keyboard, on the bed naked, soaking up the sun’s rays. Other days we get up and move straight to the office or sofa. When I feel particularly agitated I go out for a walk or run or do a sweaty yoga session. I’ve never been more grateful to be able to move all this energy out through my body.
There are fewer appointments in my calendar and my days have less structure and I like it this way. I make friends with every neighbour in eyes view and soak in the simple acts of connection and community. They stop what they are doing and are excited to chat whenever I see them now.
I cook actual meals, sometimes twice a day, instead of speedily inhaling something simple and at hand. Why was I in such a hurry before, I wonder? Soft boiled eggs with sourdough toast, baked sweet potatoes, salads and gnocchi, homemade french tarts and galettes. I stop stress-eating and remember how to nourish myself. How it’s about more than food.
Life is showing me how it wants to be lived. It’s wonderful, except for when I try to resist. Sometimes my mind likes to take over and tell me that I should be doing it differently. This is when all my spiritual practices come into their own. I sit with what comes up. Deep healing is available to me, to all of us, right now. I stay with the discomfort and bring awareness to what arises. Each time something I didn’t know was blocking my life and body is released.

At first, when all this began, I wanted to offer support to my community. Quickly I felt exhausted and overwhelmed and I realised my reaction was an adrenalin stress-response. One that has been programmed into all of us. Fight or flight. Go into over-drive. Deplete what is already running on empty.
All around me, the online world stepped up in noise fueled by adrenalin. So many people. So many offerings. So much free stuff. It shut me down and I had to step away. This is not the future I envisioned.
It is a gift, to do less, to slow down, to catch up with ourselves.
We all have an opportunity to redefine and reinvent how life goes from here on out. We have a chance to recognise where life is out of alignment, and create new boundaries, make new choices, get out of the spinning wheels we’ve been caught up in. Our individual truths are being exposed. Now we get to break things down to the essential and let go of all the rest.
It’s time for a reset. For each of us, this is going to look distinctive.
It reminds me of the clairvoyant I saw in Mexico who said “If you’ve done the work, 2020 will be a new beginning for you. If you’ve not done the work, it will still be a new beginning for you, but much, much harder. Let go of what you think you know, or what happened in the past. It’s the only way you’ll get through it.”

Some days, the bliss goes away and I feel restless and frustrated. I’m anxious about lockdown coming to an end. I’ve become used to the slow pace of life and the lack of urgency. My bubble and rhythm of life are gentle, sweet, kinder. I feel more like myself now.
I miss the freedom and the excitement of living outside of these walls. I miss physical touch, human contact, flirting, smiling at strangers without face masks covering those smiles.  I miss the contrast of the rapidly-moving outside world to my quiet life at home. I want to drench myself in loud bass on a dance floor surrounded by 100’s of other sweaty bodies shaking off the tightness and lethargy. I want to let myself go, let myself expand back into the vibrant, social, interactive world again.

I also want to bring this way of slow being into the rest of my life. I’m scared I don’t know how, or that the world will turn on its cogs to hyper-speed and drown out the nuanced subtle spaciousness created recently.
There are other things I don’t know. How long I am going to live in this little flat meters from the sea and if I’m going to have to find a new home again soon. How I’m going to make money in the future. What’s going to happen next. I have ideas. I have hopes. I have dreams. Above all, I have a consummate trust that this is all happening for a reason. That it is happening for us.
“There is meaning as well as pain in sadness, mourning and grief, the emotions born of empathy and solidarity. If you are sad and frightened, it is a sign that you care, that you are connected in spirit. If you are overwhelmed – well, it is overwhelming.”The Guardian
Whether we like it or not, this experience we are having is going to change all of us, forever.

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