Beyond My Control
April 12, 2020
Indian Divide, New Mexico
Beyond My Control
It took talking to a friend yesterday to finally realize what is bothering me the most. Having been confined to a narrow scope of activity due to ‘governmental restrictions’ and the Covid-19 pandemic I have been less than myself. It has been easy to blame that on so many things, too much time on social media and news, confinement, solitude, the list goes on. My creativity is stilled, my ambition quelled, my spirit languishing. If I blasted through the house and porch for a couple of days, cleaning the living room, building a table, even clearing the porch, I stalled. I lost a week of my life to inertia and have only rallied gradually since. All this from a woman who lives alone and revels in her solitude! I have only me to blame, but there are readily available excuses.
What have I accomplished? My old couches are out the door. I have not one but two work tables, one for art and the other for woodwork. My house is in order, the yard is clean and the garden is planted. There is leatherwork in the process and I am building a new store of inventory. I have established an exercise routine which I follow daily. I have lost eight or nine pounds to date and I am as fit as I have been in a long time. I have added a row of wood to the woodpile and will continue add more. I have also, gradually, figured out how to adjust to this new normal for however long it lasts. Of all the things I have done this has been the most challenging, and will likely continue to be so.
Why the challenge? I am so very blessed, as most of us here in New Mexico are. I live a good distance from my nearest neighbor and am as unconfined as anyone could ask for. There are mountains and open plain in every direction from my house. The views are spectacular and I am free to wander wherever I wish. I enjoy my solitude and make good use of it. There are ample projects and materials to keep my mind and my hands busy and I can always go cut wood if I want to. I have a sister in New York who for the moment would give up her comforts just to be here, even without the usual amenities. My initial complaint has been that even though I stay home a lot the restrictions on my leaving make it less of a thrill. If my social forays are few they are mine when I wish for them, until now. In conversation with my friend and editor Charlie whose opinions I so value I found she shared that sentiment. She as I does well enough alone and she is busy, but she is feeling it also.
It wasn’t really until today that I put my finger on the issue. It is a shared challenge and all of us are feeling it no matter how comfortable, or uncomfortable we are at this moment. It is the sense of things being so beyond our control that has so thrown us off our balance. Our routines have been shattered, our usual freedoms limited and we have been inundated with a sense of complete uncertainty. What is this virus, how serous is it, will we or our family get ill, where did I come from, when will it end, will it end, etc. What will things be like when this is over? Will the entire economy crater? Will the world crater? Will there ever be toilet paper on the shelves where we can buy two rolls instead of one?
With everything out of control I have taken charge of the things I can manage. If my creativity seems to have stumbled around blindly until recently there are things I took charge of, as I have done in the past. Routine is essential to me, and in times of challenge I can also apply greater focus to my wellbeing. If I can’t force creativity I can force activity. Working out keeps me focused, eating well is a discipline, walking a pure joy and a good activity. Give me the mountain, I can conquer that! Hand me the chainsaw and I can busy myself and bring wood as well. Having come to that conclusion I can also focus my thoughts and it has put me on the path to healing. Julie Carter deserves credit for that because she has been writing and posting her thoughts through all of this. I have not. In keeping with my beliefs I think it is essential for us who have the ability to share our thoughts and experiences to do so. Now more than ever is the time to do so. Julie’s reflections helped me a lot and I hope that I can do the same for someone else. I am also helping myself.
There are things that are beyond my control. There have always been things beyond my control, and there always will be. There are other things that I have full control of, or at least some! I can control what I do over the course of my day. I can pray and say thanks for all the blessings in my life and affirm the fact that I am quite blessed. I can focus my attention and energy on the things which bring me the greatest happiness, even within the present limits on my activities. I can seek and find all the good things in my life and do my best to enhance them. That should be so easy to do from my present perch, but it isn’t always so. I need not look far to remind myself of how fortunate I am, and that helps. I am also praying deeply for the protection and the wellness of my family, friends and every person who dwells on this planet earth we call home. There are so many things out of our control right now, but there are some that are within it. We should all make the best of that and I am trying to make good on that promise! I have control over that.