The serious reduction in socialising has proven... rich. I am noticing a kind of slowness in my days that I haven't known for a long time. My days are full of small, deliberate motions and actions like stopping when I walk my dog and taking a breath in, while watching some clouds; or noticing the sensation of wet fingers when my big bottle of cold tea condensates; listening to a bee buzzing past my head without automatically trying to shake it off; frequently remembering in awe how good my life is. There are still moments of nervousness and insecurity. They often relate to thoughts of tasks and demands that I give myself. And often they involve other people. To me, this signals that I am still going to benefit from this change for some time.
Those social interactions that I still have are now rare and just as rich as the time on my own. The diluted conversations that were often repeated daily, or even more frequently, are now replaced by a surprising richness and an openness to new subjects, to others' stories, views and what we might share and what we hugely disagree on. It is not just about allowing time in between conversations with the same person; it is also about allowing time for me to reconnect with myself and source my inspiration from my true self. It must have happened so often that I nodded and agreed with everything someone said because I never stopped to check what I feel and think so I couldn't respond from myself.
I have this little note from the photo on my desk now: "What if you couldn't control a thing about your life & if you had to let go of the need to steer your life down the path that you think it should go, and accept instead - with curiosity and a sense of wonder - everything that comes your way? You only need to listen to yourself and say 'yes' or 'no' to each of those things". It just came as an intriguing idea that I wanted to keep thinking about so I placed it on my desk in front of me. I then also sent it to someone I never met in person but we have shared some thoughts over some time - via social media - and we stayed in touch. Then I thought, not for the first time, whether the two of us would be friends if we could meet. I thought it could be a short and insignificant meeting that we never want to do again. But then I had a vision of us sitting on a flat rooftop of a city building - perhaps somewhere in New York - listening to jazz all night and watching the stars as we let our thoughts spill in and out of the space above us. Then I thought how beautiful the word for "space" is in Serbian - "svemir", meaning "all peace" - or is it taken from Russian in which case it means "all world"? And then the fact that the Russian word for "world" in Serbian means "peace". Then I thought that I could have burned as a witch for my thougths and ideas only a few centuries ago. Then I thought that I must have done in a previous life, if there are previous lives, and that I still carry the fear of this punishment for my innate freedom of this pathetic human form. My mind wonders on.
Placing a screen in front of the real world feels more and more unhealthy. Placing images of life in between my sight and the actual life feels like being lied to, or lying to myself. Consuming other people's thoughts and pictures, or offering my own to them, instead of meeting to share moments of real life, feels disconnected and ill. I would rather burn - by fire as a witch, or by shame for not belonging in that world, as a mad person.
My feelings of dread, sadness and loneliness quickly fade away as one of my dearest story characters whispers in my ear: We are all mad here.