If I were to identify a question of the year that I’ve been asked and have asked it’s “how are you feeling today (i.e. living with Covid-19)?”
Today, I feel cloistered. Strict policies like stay the blazes home put my comings and goings on a short leash.
Today I feel grateful. In the Canadian Atlantic Bubble we do have pandemic restrictions, but I can see my friends, eat at restaurants (at least where I live), and roam and hike the great outdoors. We probably hold the record (or close to it) for the lowest numbers in the world.
Today I feel conflicted. I crave physically connection with family – all beyond the isolation bubble of my enviable world. My insides feel edgy. And guilty when my inner critic speaks up “what on earth is your problem? You have nothing to complain about!”
Many folks, like my coffee roaster guy, are contented with this arranged life. Albeit, good coffee helps manage a mood (especially in a favourite mug) but I’m acknowledging I find this a challenge – struggling with the contentment factor.
Long before 2020 and Covid I questioned: “why do I lean towards, or away from, certain responses and actions?”
Opposing all kinds of personality testing I dug my heels in: “don’t label me and put me in a box”. But five years ago curiosity won out. I dipped my toe into the Enneagram journey. Test results identified me as an enthusiast type 7 which certainly resonated with my positivity, appetite for adventure and general spontaneity for life.
Other tendencies made sense too. Like finding it hard to sit in the moment with life’s painful stuff. Getting easily bored with the same routines, opting for discovering new things instead. Not liking it when people put expectations on me. Mmm. That’s an interesting connection to the “don’t put me in a box”!
Living according to my personality tendencies hasn’t become my new religion. This knowledge is added to my toolbox for understanding how I’m wired.
Back to now, April 2021.
I’m wired to thrive with a full social calendar. Thank goodness and thank God for Zoom. Family meetings and myriad other fun-people-surprises keep my daytimer booked up. The Parliament of Owls: reflective, spontaneous and wise women; writer connections like Pyjama writing (for real); Alison Wearing’s memoir course and writing community.
I consider my inherent bright-side view a blessing. My weaknesses and challenges also belong in the mix of me, so I own and honour all of it. A human fearfully and wonderfully made who is feeling cloistered, grateful, conflicted all at the same time.
My socializing thing could stem from “the more the merrier” kind of hospitality growing up. However it landed, it’s been one easily adopted for my table. I am very grateful for friends with whom we meet. Most of us share the ache of kids and grands living beyond our reach. Our guest rooms and bunkbeds are empty.
I’m wired for action. In my 60’s I became passionate about hiking. I call it my new religion. Whoa – hear me out. For me, the very nature of hiking is being in nature. Google says religion is: “the belief in and worship of a superhuman controlling power, especially a personal God or gods“. Walking in the woods – be it alone or sharing that sacred space with others – feels to me like a sanctuary, a communion with the presence of God as I understand and believe.
Hiking is restful for my soul (deep breathing, flushing monkey-mind chatter) and activates energy to push my boundaries (a tough trail). How these two can marry was revealed at an online art journalling class. Our writing prompt was, what do you think of when you hear the word boundary? No hesitation, I blurted push. Then I asked myself, why that?
Here’s a simple explanation. My personal wiring has these two things going on: it’s a challenge for me to be still – physically and mentally – and I have an abundance of energy (a term I like better than excess). Hiking offers intriguing boundaries for me to push. I welcome them for my personal growth. There you have it.
This reading list, non-fiction and memoir, has inspired my hiking passion.
Hiking supports my whole being to feel grounded in every way. Knowing my personality tendency cards helps me ‘play the game.’
But at the end of the day (and wrapping up this post) relationships are the way and the walk of my religion.
Fellowship with God in whom I trust and rest as beloved; connecting however I can with those dearest to me; exploring the enlarging circle due to – and in spite of – Covid.
Accepting grace for who I am, and wishing that mercy will be the same for you.