1. Truth: Everything has changed; everything is the same. The squirrels still treat our compost pile like a 24 hour “all you can eat” buffet. Spring is rising, things turning green and blooming, so many more hours of light. Every day the dogs get up at 5 am, eat breakfast, and go on a walk. I do yoga, meditate, and write. I hang out with Mikalina on Zoom every Thursday. I’m still burnt out and take lots of naps. I water the plants, do laundry, and put clean sheets on the bed once a week. I pay the bills, still love payday. I read in bed at night while Eric and the dogs sleep. And yet, the dogs “go to work” with Eric in the office at the back of our tiny house, the one that used to be exclusively mine. My office is the kitchen table. I haven’t been in a pool, sauna, group in-person yoga class, grocery store, restaurant, coffee shop, movie theater, or bookstore for six weeks. We are going to cancel the reservation we had for 10 days at the beach, the longer trip we’d planned to visit family in Oregon this summer, and we can’t be sure when we’ll get to go again, when we’ll see them again. Eric and I are home together all day, every day, except the mornings I sleep in while he walks the dogs. When I take the dogs to the vet, I wait in the car while they go inside. I order groceries online and pick them up, never going inside the store. I’m better about using our fruits and vegetables before they go bad and get put in the compost pile. Some days, Eric and I literally forget to shower. I haven’t had to put gas in my car for weeks. My yoga classes are all on Zoom. I text my mom and brother at least every other day. It’s so hard to focus, get things done with the end of the word shadowing me. Sometimes when I first wake up, I forget the current state of things, but just like grief, I quickly remember and it all comes rushing back.
2. Truth: Some things I miss; some things I don’t. I miss the pool and the sauna. I miss teaching my yoga class, group in-person yoga classes, the way the light comes through the three tall windows at Om Ananda Yoga. I miss tea with Chloe’, laughing and crying sitting at her big dining room table covered with art projects, poetry and books, drinking tea out of the pretty little antique china cups she has with her sweet dogs nearby. I miss grocery shopping, going in the store with a list but also allowing myself to add things as I go. Bumping into people, literally bumping bodies, being close enough for that to happen, without worry, the apologies and assurances that follow. Hugging anyone other than Eric. Eating meals in a restaurant, sharing a meal, catching up with friends across the table. Having Jon and Chelsey over for dinner, or going to a movie with them, or even alone. Movie theater popcorn and fountain drinks. Meeting Carrie somewhere for coffee or a meal, working to solve all the world’s problems in an hour or two. Thrift store shopping. Food someone other than Eric or I cooked. Playdates with our dog friends. Not being able to meet new puppies or babies in person. Playgrounds, not for me but for the kids who would play on them. Live music. Poetry readings. Live comedy shows. Meeting with my therapist in person. Haircuts. MASSAGES — *sigh* Bookstores, the browsing, picking up books to read the back cover, flip through the pages, and putting them back on the shelf. Someone stopping to ask if I needed help finding anything. Watching movies with my mom. Walking on the beach. Shopping at the nursery for new plants for the garden. Lord help me, I even miss small talk. I don’t miss my old job at CSU, the way I would feel when I had something scheduled but really just wanted to stay home, missing Eric while he was at work, things that are loud, driving 1200 miles with two dogs in the car, the pressure to be productive, having to dress appropriately for “being out in public,” wearing things like actual pants and a bra.
3. Truth: We work towards a better world, even knowing we’ll fail. I’m realizing that there are always going to be assholes, always going to be obstacles and problems. As a Buddhist, I practice accepting that life is suffering — this isn’t just true, it’s one of the Four Noble Truths, the foundation of Buddhist philosophy. It’s a delicate balance though, a real brain teaser to be working actively towards change, to want to make things better, to right wrongs, and yet be aware that this goal will never be reached, that this is samsara, “the beginningless cycle of repeated birth, mundane existence and dying again…considered to be dukkha, unsatisfactory and painful, perpetuated by desire and avidya (ignorance), and the resulting karma,” (Wikipedia).
One wish: May we shift the goal, the intention, from some endpoint where everything has been made right to living with the reality that nothing is permanent, suffering is ongoing, and change is constant. And in knowing that we can’t fix everything, may we not give up trying.