Good morning from South Oxon, where the surreal and balmy summer days have given way to some much-needed rain, and clouds. Everything is a stunning, heart-stopping green, the green of new growth, the acid lime-green that comes only for a few weeks and then fades, exhausted. I've never a witnessed a more beautiful spring; the bluebells are everywhere, ridiculously, blatantly swanning their wanton blueness, flaunting it, here we are, and we are everywhere. There are fuchsia orchids in abundance - not once have I seen a wild orchid in a wood since my childhood and now there are dozens of them. The birds. Oh my goodness the birds. We have swallows, blue tits, finches, blackbirds in the garden. Pigeons, of course. And Lester said he heard a cuckoo last week but I have not.
I've been sorting through my thoughts about all of this, and it's almost impossible to dig up what is anxiety and what is magical thinking and what is conjecture.
Nature is playing an elaborate trick on us, said a cyclist I met in the woods the other day. A good trick, he said. Nature is doing a reset, they say. Yes, yes, and yes. I believe all of it. I believe that we are part of an incredibly complicated, mathematically intricate, beautiful interconnected system, a huge fractal structure, and we're all part of it, and everything single thing affects another, and so on. I don't know where this is going or where we will end up, but I believe with every cell in my body that this is the right thing, and this is what we need right now. That's not to say that it isn't a very scary time, too, with so many unanswered questions - about the virus itself, about its impact on the economy, on society, especially the most vulnerable, on democracy, and how we will live in the future.
People like Eckhart Tolle and the Kundalini yogis who following the teachings of Yogi Bhajan (of which I'm one, if only slightly lapsed), believe that there is an enormous shift in the consciousness of the whole planet; that we're moving, in simple terms, from the Piscean age to the Aquarian age. The Piscean age, which we've been in for the last 2000 years is dominated by a vertical hierarchy and power. The Aquarian ages is about networks and information, and a horizontal structure which will provide true equality in the world. Change is painful and people will react in different ways. Some will open their hearts and minds (Tolle) and some will defend against change and long for the Golden Age (Brexit/Trump/etc).
Perhaps this is precipitating that shift. More people are paying attention to nature, to exercise, to the natural world. More people are reading and connecting (when we are prevented from connecting physically). I see in my world and with my friends a shift away from the consumerism and amassing of things that was so popular in the 80s and 90s, and being replaced with a much-needed pairing down. The beauty of simplicity has become more and more apparent. Stuff feels vulgar, silly even.
Like many people, I've been struggling with sleep and with finding the balance between being informed about what is going on in the world, and reading the most important pieces, and being oversaturated with it, and the despair that follows knowing that the Leader of the Free World is a certifiable lunatic. At my kindest, I'd say he's way too dim to be leading. Lack of empathy feels so last season, doesn't it? Do you sleep?
Existential angst hasn't ever been closer, and yet it's strangely comforting to be this near to it. My mother had a fall nearly two weeks ago (the story itself is heroic, and funny in equal measure, and I will tell you about it at another time) and we've been around hospitals and doctors quite a lot. It's not where you want to be at this time, despite the brilliant NHS and all the smart measure they are taking to ensure that people are safe. We have masks and gloves and hand sanitizer, and we're careful, but oh my gosh, hospitals are not where you want to be. My mother is now safe and home, and has a pink cast on her broken ankle, and my daughter is caring for her, and she is in good spirits. But still for two weeks we have to look for signs of raised temperature (even though that may not be a sign, according to latest research) and a cough, etc. It's not fun. I'm sorry for this rant. It's blurting out of me. I am glad for my brave Viking mamma.
Here a few things that provide solace:
The Yale Happiness Lab podcast: https://www.happinesslab.fm/
Oprah and Eckhart Tolle on A New Earth: https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/oprah-and-eckhart-tolle-a-new-earth/id1458654443
Advice from an aid worker on anxiety: https://www.pituitary.org.uk/news/2020/04/bear-vs-virus/
Sorry, we'll be back to original programming soon. I'm struggling a bit. Love to you, wherever you are in the world. xo