Staying in, staying sane…

It’s been an interesting year, 2020. An astrologer friend said it’s officially the ‘year of suffering’. I prefer ‘year of transformation’. After being taught by nuns during my school days, the word suffering has terrible connotations of Jesus on the cross. I’d cry in class every Easter, if you also grew up with those stories, you’ll understand why. It’s the same thing ultimately, but words have power, so ones that resonate more positively in your own brain are worth choosing, in my opinion.

I don’t see any point in staring at the mud, never have – ever since I was taught that story in primary school. Was probably the nuns again, though it may have been one of my Grandmothers, all very wise women. Do you know it? The story about two prisoners looking out of their cell – one looked down and saw the mud and the other looked up and saw the stars. I want to see the stars I thought as my five-year-old self, and I do – I see them everywhere. These things are a choice.

When lockdown came, I was fearful, angry, frustrated – even more so that my ex was still living in my house and locked in with me. It takes a lot of willpower to be polite towards an ex-spouse whose behaved terribly. Saying, “would you like a cup of tea”, instead of screaming, “get off my back, I’m so sick of taking care of you!”, takes strength, trust me.

When the first lockdown finished, and he was about to start a new job and go get his own place he injured himself playing sport, so that put paid to that. Watching him limp out of A&E on crutches, I cried silently to myself. For someone so opiniated, bossy and ever ready to tell me my faults – he just can’t seem to look after himself. It’s exhausting. These days he’s polite, after all, we’re not together anymore but he’s still living under my roof on my charity, so be kind of stupid to continue his verbal abuse of our married days. We tend to occupy different rooms and time-zones so I’m in my own company most of the time.

Back to the stars, I decided to use my locked-in time as an opportunity to grow, heal and learn new things. I’ve found all kinds of new things I enjoy and indulged in some of my old favourites as well. My Mum always said the happiest people find pleasure in the smallest things, like smelling a flower. The big difference I’ve been working on is remembering to actively acknowledge how much I like something, in the moment. Like watching back to back episodes of The Batchelor on a rainy evening, fire lit, pyjamas on and covered in sleeping dogs. Add a glass of wine and a little cheese, I’m in heaven.

On the growing and learning front, I’ve been reading and watching YouTube tutorials on botany, yoga and self-improvement. My favourites are Gathering Thyme, Herbal Jedi, Yoga in Bed by Candace, Yoga with Sanela (her voice alone is so relaxing) and meditations with Marisa Peer and Jason Stephenson. Sleeping with healing music I’ve found is amazing to, they’re free on YouTube from posts from Nu Meditation and MoonLight Meditations, plus many others. Trying different exercise classes, loving Lucy Wyndham-Read and Meredith Shirk. Face yoga has been a new skill I’m learning also, KoKo Hayashi is a great teacher.

Yoga really does work! I call it body magic, I managed to convince one of my friends to do ’30 days of Yoga with Julia Marie’ with me. We’re on day 26 and been messaging each other about our progress. I’m loving it so much because it makes you feel alive, peaceful and happy. The feeling of achievement is a great way to start the day as well, seeing poses and wondering if that’s even possible – then doing them (even for a moment before collapsing) feels fantastic. Julia Marie is super encouraging, she also explains in detail how each move is doing awesome things for your body, mind and soul. My flexibility is greatly improved, I feel stronger and my stress levels are down. I love you Julia Marie – thank you!

Growing plants from seeds, that’s another new hobby, it’s earth magic! I’m still in awe they grow for me, and very grateful. The whole process is fascinating, I enjoy the feel of potting-mix and watching each plants progress, so much so there’s now about fifty pots in my backyard – flowers, herbs, vegetables and a baby willow tree. I also put some fairy lights up, they make me smile when I look out the window at night.

My neighbour gave me an over-the-fence tutorial on how to make blackberry wine. During August I picked loads of blackberries while out walking the dogs – it’s quite meditative as it’s a slow, repetitive task while the sun warms your back.  Now, I’m enjoying drinking my own blackberry wine, it’s delicious if I do say so myself and relaxing. Very relaxing.

Rediscovering rainy day cooking, what a joy! Making soups and roast dinners with the radio on and dancing and singing around the kitchen to the quizzical looks of dogs. I’m a terrible singer and most others don’t like my taste in country music so it’s a great pastime for alone time. Mash n gravy; is there anything more comforting than mash n gravy – that’s not a question, it’s a statement of fact. Well, actually, mash n gravy and a glass of blackberry wine.

Twinkle, twinkle little star.

Published by JoJo

Confessional writer, starting over at 50 - I promise you brutal honestly with a few laughs along the way.

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