Being Here

How are you and how are you getting on? Are you enjoying the respite of quiet contemplation or are you longing to get out there again?

Have you been filling your lockdown time with Zoom meetings (and did you know much about them before the middle of March) with office folk and Zoom after-hours parties with your friends?

Or have you been catching up on your reading and delving, as one friend has, into Biblical matters. She tells me she is not particularly religious but is curious about history. Did I know for example that Jesus Christ spoke only Aramaic therefore he would not have said: “This is my body … this is my blood” because his language consisted only of pronoun and noun – no verb. His words, translated from Greek, would therefore always have been open to interpretation.

Wow! Who’d have thought it? My friend cannot say her lockdown has been wasted. What an extraordinary use of time! She will not forget what she was up to during this time.

Zoom works well for many

And that led me to a little of my own reflection. What is going on for us in lockdown? Are we willing the period away in frustration and fury, feeling trapped and angry that time is passing and that there is so much to do and so little time to do it?

Or are we taking this as an opportunity to really think about ourselves, and what is going on for us within ourselves? Are we looking at our lives and feeling happy and content with what we have or are we feeling it may be time for a change and considering what that change may be?

I suppose, much of it comes down to whether you are a “do-er” or a “be-er”. The word “be-er” does not seem to exist (except in its alcoholic form and that’s a whole different discussion) so what does that say?

“I’m a doer”, I may say, proud that I achieve things and get things done. Society understands that and I can imagine I will be applauded for my achievements.

Conversely, what does it mean to say: “I’m a be-er”? Would anyone but me even understand it? Probably not.

I have another friend – how lucky am I to have two such thoughtful friends – who is an academic and spends quite some time being quiet and reflective. She takes that role very seriously and, if ever challenged for being so occupied and not taking part in the lively hustle and bustle around, she will say: “I reflect. That is what I am paid for.”

Personally, I have tried to do a bit of both. To escape the everyday world, I read. I find it easy to immerse myself in whatever adventures I am reading about – relationships, comedy, espionage. I have also, to my amazement, travelled the world cruising with Jane McDonald. Whoever would have thought Channel 5 would come up trumps at this time?

Off to hug a tree

In real life, I have been lucky enough to spend time outside with a small child, watching the world through her eyes. We walk through woods – she hugging trees without being told to and ditching her red boots so she can feel the earth under those tiny feet – all the while keeping our distance from those others who are themselves using this time to connect with our world.

Occasionally, my little friend will do something she is particularly proud of and clap her hands together as she laughs and says: “Well done.” She knows what she likes and what is good for her. I could – and will – learn from her.

There is so much talk about mental health issues – maybe, sometimes, just a bit too much? – so how beneficial it might be if we were to use this time to “clear” our heads of unhelpful or hindering thoughts and feelings and to replace them with positive plans for the future.

Our lives are generally busy and the one thing many of us do not have enough of is time; time to stay still, reflect and feel. However, at this moment, we have time to look at and reflect on what life means to us. What makes us feel good and what does not – and is that something we can change?
How refreshing it might be if, just for now, we could forget about our plans for tomorrow and instead get on with the pleasure and enjoyment of life simply by “being”. 

This one-off experience is not going to last for much longer. Let’s try to make the most of it.

By: Lulu Sinclair