I feel a mix of emotions as Melbourne reopens after 7.5 months of lockdowns of various flavours. Within 10 days (give or take, forgive me – my concept of Chronos* time has blurred), we have moved from 2 hours/day of outside time and going out for only 4 reasons to being given the freedom to sit in a restaurant with friends.
My body feels a sense of relief as I am given the space to breathe again, and yet I’m feeling anxious about stepping into the world. For 7.5 months, I have largely been inside my house. This wonderful space nurtured and held me as I came inward. When I step out of my home, sometimes I feel excited about being seen. Sometimes I want to hide.
The face mask has been challenging to navigate. I am hiding a big part of my identity when I step outside. I can’t express through my face. I can’t breathe.
To transition into sitting in a restaurant, being on public transport and moving beyond my home / my suburb / my plants feels like a big step. I see the flurry of activity as Broadsheet tells me twice daily what is opening. Friends start ‘locking in’ catch ups weeks in advance. Seeing people queue in front of retail stores in a shopping centre on my screen are all making me feel uneasy. (Really? Garments made under horrendous conditions is the first thing people want…? I just want to climb a mountain and hug some trees. Each to their own…)
Why am I responding in this way, I wonder..?. Largely because I have been exploring and learning what nourishes me. My plants, my cooking, friends, walks through my suburbs, online circles, meditation, dancing, learning. My past life feels so baffling now. Going from a tea to dinner to tango across town. Going to one class after another. And while I knew it was all sapping my precious energy, I continued (even though it was a pared down version compared to a few years back).
Perhaps because the last time we were allowed out, it lasted a few weeks, and it was immediately taken away again.
Perhaps I know that lifestyle was unsustainable and yet I ploughed through because it was exciting.
And I know that with my ability to respond to the most subtle of energies, there’s only so much before my system goes into overload.
So I’m taking a conscious step. I will continue to connect with what nourishes me, so that I continue to connect with my body and heart intelligence. I will continue to connect with Mother Earth, my cooking, my dance, my neighbourhood, my communities. I will not be locked into gatherings weeks in advance. Because this is another form of lockdown.
One thing I have learned through this experience is my value on fluidity, freedom, connection and choice.
And I will continue to cultivate living these intentions in this new, uncertain and exciting world.
To throw it all away is a lesson wasted.
*In its simplest term, Chronos refers to chronological/sequence of time, as distinct from Kairos – opportune/right time for action
Image by Jean Sum