Letting Your Feelings Out of the Cage

“If you want to go fast, go alone.

If you want to go far, go together.” African Proverb

A few months or a lifetime ago (virus deaths are like dog years), I wrote a blog on the loneliness epidemic.

Americans, in spite of technology, are some of the loneliest people in the world due to too many factors to go into (besides you know most of them). However, this damn demonic disease called “Coronavirus” has increased the loneliness factor to the tenth power. The isolation for many who are in their homes almost full time has become unbearable.

At first blush with boredom in February and then March, I thought, as an introvert, it didn’t seem like my life was much different than pre-virus times. However, March turned to April, “the cruelest month of all,” and April turned into May, then June, and then July, and it became even deadlier. I realized that even though my body likes to stay at home, the forced loneliness and the all but choice-lessness loneliness was getting to me.

It has been too long since I shared caffeine or touched someone or been touched. All my friends, and most of my clients, get and give an unmasked hello and goodbye hug. Most of you reading this (if you’ve gotten this far with my blog-rant) can see the irony given the power of human touch to heal and release endorphins has been researched, recorded, and now removed from everyday life.

Now we all know we can be lonely in a crowd or even in a family. Some people are getting a little testy from sheltering in place and are going crazy for some solitude. The apartments, condos, and even mansions are getting a little too small for some.

Whatever kind of loneliness you might be experiencing, please remember impatience, boredom, nausea, and anger, are all under the umbrella of the virus, and though our fearful leader says it will “one day magically disappear,” it’s not, at least for some time to come. So, try not to make any big decisions, moves, or messes.

This is the time for extreme radical tenderness and compassion with yourself or with those you are staying at home with for the near future. And keep reaching out any way you can – through emails, texts, video chats, remember letters and cards, and for God’s sake, share your feelings of fear and exhaustion with your cabin fever. As James Taylor said, “tell somebody the way that you feel;” and just maybe you’ll feel it beginning to ease.

INSANE FOR THE LIGHT

“We can make our minds so like

still water that beings gather about us

that they may see, it may be, their own

images, and so live for a moment with

a clearer, perhaps even with a fiercer

life because of our quiet.” 

Robert Bly

 I’ve always wanted more quiet in my house as a child. By the time I was nine, I was seeking silence in the woods that backed up to the dirt-poor farm my dad bought. I’d sit on the million’s old rocks on Sand Mountain in Alabama and let the wind and noiselessness wash over me and baptize me with serenity.

For 30 years I had a quiet cabin in the foothills of the southern Appalachians. I tell you all this because my home here in Austin, Texas, thanks to this virus being passed around like an inhuman hot potato, is more quiet than it has been in a hundred years or more.

What do we do with the potentially deadly lull in assaults to our overstimulated ears? Maybe, just maybe, we let more light into our daily lives – perhaps some almost heavenly light. We’ve been looking at modernism’s electric lights, neon signs, cell phones and computer lights for so long that we have, to quote an old song, been “blinded by the light.”

We have been Plato’s cave dwellers for so long seeing dollar signs, credit cards, GNP flashing upon a movie-like screen in our collective caves. Chained to the dark floor thinking that what we are seeing projected on the screen is reality.

We may be the generations who break free of our chains, crawl out of the caverns, see the sun, and finally see that what we have been looking at is not real but illusions and brain-washed fantasies. Perhaps due to the Coronavirus (not “Chinese Virus”) even in the quiet nights we can feel human again and

“We know the road; as the moonlight

Lights everything, so on a night like this,

The road goes on ahead, it is all clear.”

Robert Bly

And the road ahead, while cluttered a bit with hoarders and dishonest politicians, is also filled by those who are helping others, shopping for others, praying for others, loving strangers, and maybe, just maybe, we will start crawling out of the darkness of greediness and entitlement and live more gently on the earth and with each other so that when the Spanish poet, Antonio Machado asks us the question: “What have you done With the Garden that was entrusted to you?” We will say we tended it with lots more love and very timely tenderness.

“I am not a mechanism, an assembly of various sections.

and it is not because the mechanism is working wrongly, that I am ill.

I am ill because of wounds to the soul, take a long, long time, only time can help

and patience, and a certain difficult repentance

long, difficult repentance, realization of life’s mistake, and the freeing oneself

from the endless repetition of the mistake

which mankind at large has chosen to sanctify.”  

D.H. Lawrence