Hot and cold.
It’s hot and humid today – like “don’t go outside unless you have to” kind of hot and humid. That has effectively curtailed any plans I had to do anything outdoors. It’s the last day of my eleven-day staycation, so I had hoped to find some way to get out of the house, but honestly it’s just too freaking uncomfortable! I had to move my car in anticipation of tomorrow’s street cleaning, and that was enough effort to drench me in sweat.
The weather seems like a cruel joke during this pandemic. When it first started, we were dealing with the tail end of winter in Illinois, so there were weeks of frigid temperatures, even some late season snow. Getting outside was difficult at best because it was painfully cold.
In the middle of the sixteen weeks (and counting) we did have some better days, but that was during early phases of quarantine, so nothing was open or available. My best bet then was to occasionally take a long walk in my own neighborhood.
Now, as we are edging into what Illinois considers to be Phase 4, there are a few more things to do (restaurants, parks, walking trails, etc.) but just as we entered Phase 4, it became blazing hot and humid. As much as I would love to go to a restaurant to enjoy a meal on a patio, I am not willing to melt into a puddle of goo in order to enjoy that privilege.
So, once again, I sit here working on this daily post alone in my apartment – which is thankfully well air-conditioned. Let me adjust that prior statement. Well air-conditioned if I find a room that gets no direct sunlight. My living room feels a bit like a sauna at the moment, and the lingering effects of morning sunlight never seem to totally leave the kitchen. So I have retreated into my home office – the darkest and coolest of the room in my apartment.
Over the course of the past eleven days, as I have been on vacation/staycation, I have used my solitude in positive ways. I did a ten-day spiritual course called “Desire Mapping” with Danielle LaPorte. I have read – quite literally – hundreds of self-help books over the years. I even wrote one myself back in the late 1990s. I have also done dozens of online courses in those same genres.
This one stands out for me, partially because of timing and partially because she is freaking amazing. It’s rare that I watch videos and think, “Damn, I want to hang out with that person.” I won’t dive into details, but my post today is simply a long-winded way to express some gratitude.
First, gratitude to Danielle LaPorte for the awesome and life-changing work she has created. Truly, I know I will move ahead now with a totally different mindset than I had two weeks ago.
Second, gratitude for this quarantine. Yes, I am actually finding a silver lining in this enforced solitude. The reasons for the quarantine are awful – granted. But since I have no choice but to roll with the punches, as it were, I am not going to complain about this enforced time alone. I am finally delving deeply into some old, unhealed wounds. I am finally coming to terms with parts of my life that I don’t love, and even more profoundly parts of myself that are – frankly – really ugly and unkind.
I am finding power in the metaphorical turning over of rocks in my life in order to bring light to the gross, slimy things underneath them. I have cried a great deal, but I have also laughed and sang and danced (where nobody could see, of course). I have spent hours meditating and feeling the gentle bliss of nothingness – that space where you just focus on the feelings of your body and have no real directed thoughts. I have done huge amounts of inventory, purging, forgiving, embracing, and finally loving.
Today, on the final day of my staycation, I feel like a new person. When I “go back to work” tomorrow I will dive into a plethora of tedious details. That’s a given. But I will do it with a lighter heart, a lighter spirit, and a knowing that I am redirecting my life into a new and better direction.
The focus of the Desire Mapping work that I have been doing is to create a list of Core Desired Feelings – those things that I want to feel in my life. I leave you with my list of four for my current explorations. There are the current barometers against which I am weighing all that I think and do:
Watch out, world. I’m getting ready to bust out of my internal confinement – finally.
It’s only Quarantine if it comes from the Quarante province of France. Otherwise, it’s just Sparkling Isolation.