The biggest thing I’ve struggled with during this time of social distancing and isolation is protecting my peace. That might seem contradictory, since some of us, including myself, have been legally forbidden to leave the house except in cases of emergency or necessity. For many people, their homes are pinnacles of peace, but that’s not exactly the case for me.
I’ll be honest, as I always strive to. Having to adjust to people being around more because they can work from home paired with being a freelancer whose workload has taken a huge dip has put a massive strain on my ability to protect my peace. Tensions are high, emotions elevated, and for the most part, many of I’ve become stir crazy and cranky.
Adjusting the way I think about being confined to the house has helped some. Instead of believing I am trapped or restricted, I think about how much I’ve been allowed to rest, how much time I have to read and write leisurely and play video games and watch movies—all things I tell myself I’m too busy to do, or, if I do them, I make myself feel guilty for it. Being able to spend time with my sisters has been nostalgic in a way, and reminds me of how much time we spent together as kids, playing games and making each other laugh (in between the bickering, of course). I’ve been cooking a lot, which means I feel accomplished for having fed my family in a delicious way that will take their minds off of things temporarily.
However, this has not helped to protect my peace. There is a thick veil of anxiety and fear over the world right now, and as someone who tries to actively rise above collective anxieties and fears, I think I can speak for many people when I say it’s been so hard to rise above. Not because of fear of the current situation, but because of the uncertainty of the future.
Which lead me to a different path of thinking. The best way to protect my peace is not to regurgitate videos and quotes about rising above fear or going on about conspiracies and what’s really happening that people are failing to see, but it is to see everything at its core.
Working from home has forced people to adapt and break out of the mold of the confinements of corporate America that have been in existence for generations. Putting restrictions on how much toiletries we can buy reminds us to leave some for others. Not being able to sit down at a restaurant and eat reminds us to tip our delivery drivers well or cook more frequently at home. Food being out of stock in grocery stores reminds us to not be so wasteful. The internet being slow because servers are overwhelmed reminds us to make every second count online. Knowing these things has helped protect my peace.
Refusing to pass judgment on how others are handling this has helped protect my peace. Being compassionate and showing grace to others has helped protect my peace. Socially distancing, to ensure the safety of myself, my community, and the world at large has helped protect my peace. Being informed from multiple sources has helped protect my peace. Being present for my friends has helped protect my peace.
I’m hopeful that this will be over soon, but I’m also grateful for the shift that’s occurred that has allowed me to move closer toward living in a state of peace instead of living in a state of fear. The world will never be the same after this on many levels, and that can be something we look forward to while we also hold space for the hundreds of thousands of people who are sick or have passed away.