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Shelter-in-Place: An Opportunity for Time for Ourselves
Here in Sonoma County, California, it’s Day 2 of mandatory shelter-in-place, which means we are required to stay in our own homes except for “essential” trips out for groceries, pharmacy, banking, and other such things. I did go out yesterday to pick up my mail from my PO Box, buy some food, and go to the bank, but I had to have my doctor appointment over the phone because the medical clinic is closed. The order is through April 7, but could be extended as long as the government feels it is necessary.
At first this was surreal. Life as I knew it had stopped. Most stores are closed. I can’t go to a restaurant or a movie. A friend had to postpone his trip to the East Coast because his flight was canceled. I don’t have children, but if I did they would be home with me 24 hours a day. It was like everything outside of my own home and it’s inhabitants had just disappeared.
And I resisted having my freedom to move about in the world taken away by the government.
But once I got over the disorientation, I realized what an opportunity this is. Instead of gaining our bearings from the world at large, it’s an opportunity for each one of us to be self-determined and orient our lives to ourselves and our own values.
As a very mundane example, I found it became necessary to prepare all our food ourselves. I was already doing that for the most part already, and I am entirely capable of doing so, but in my usual life I could always pick up sushi if I didn’t feel like cooking and any ingredient I wanted was always available. Now it’s different. I haven’t been able to buy brown rice for five days. I need to make sure in advance that I have both staples and fresh ingredients on hand. I have to eat what’s available in store shelves, at the farmer’s market, and in my garden. This is not a problem because I’m already eating from the farmer’s market and garden. But it’s no longer a choice. This is the way it is.
I’m seeing right away that this shelter-in-place time is a gift. I’m doing things I didn’t have time to do before, like finally opening the last boxes from our cross-country move two-and-a-half years ago, and going through my books and discarding those I no longer need. Larry and I have more time together. We’re catching up on unfinished projects. We’re going out for walks in nature because that’s almost all that is allowed.
But most valuable for me is to have time and attention for establishing my life on my own terms. For years I have been wanting to step out of the industrialized world and live as a spiritual being according to the laws of Life and now suddenly I have that opportunity because the industrialized world has disappeared itself. Everything is uncertain. Here in California they are saying children won’t be going back to school during this school year. Everything is being re-organized around Covid-19. I don’t think the world will be the same on the other side of this. It’s a great opportunity to actually create something new.
I actually feel free from industrialism for the first time in my life. I knew it would collapse sooner or later, I just didn’t know it would collapse like this.
Larry and I are fortunate in that we have a foundation of spirit and nature on which to build a new life for ourselves.
Our orientation at this time is not on protecting ourselves from possible death from Covid-19, our orientation is—as it has been—reaching for more Life by building our immune systems, going for walks, eating highly nutritious whole foods, practicing our spirituality, building our tiny house. In the past few days I’m already spending more time working on our Lifely websites.
Though the industrial life as we know is being disrupted globally, all is well. Life itself is still here and functioning and can be a new basis for our human lives.
Crisis always comes with opportunity. While the mass media is focusing on the sensational drama of the crisis, we’re acting on the opportunity that has presented itself, and loving every minute of the freedom.