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I want to write about something else...

Updated: Jun 4, 2020

I want to write about something else – but there is nothing else. Corona virus, shelter-in-place, quarantine. Concepts we didn’t know a few months ago and now they are all we know. This is the year of the rough draft, the year we learn to bend in the wind. We are slowly coming to understand that this is the year of the marathon, not the 50 yard dash. And, we haven’t trained for it – we are plodding along trying to catch our breath and we can hardly see the track. And yet, it is also the year of rest, reset, silence, contemplation, and extended hiatus. No place to go, no end of the race, not even any ribbons to be won. We are living in the space between words. And yet, it is the year to read War and Peace and to do the 1000-piece jigsaw puzzle, just because. It is the year of no haircuts, baking without flour, parking the car more or less permanently. It is the year of Zoom and making do, of empty beaches, empty chairs. It is the year of darkened doors and home-made. It is the year of more medical deaths than we as a country have ever imagined, and the year of not knowing. It is also the year some of us have had the bandages ripped off our eyes and we have glimpsed the raw truth of the inequality among us.

And so I am always asking myself, what is the spiritual truth in all of this? What are the soft places hidden in the difficulties? And/or what are the hard places that I suddenly see more clearly? What are the possibilities for spirit to show up in our lives in some new way? Though we certainly didn’t choose this, it is what we have. I like to hear people talk about what they have learned or are learning as we slog through this time together. It’s not that there’s always a silver lining behind every cloud – and not that what we are learning is worth the price we are also paying – but still, since we are here – what have you learned from this time? What do you hope to carry forward once this is over or changed?

(I’d love to see people actually add their comments, but that must be difficult to do, because I notice people don’t. So, if you can figure it out – I’d love for you to share in the comment section below what is working well – what are the tiny glimpses of silver you see in your life right now? Or what new truths have become clear to you?).

May all of us stay safe and calm and hopeful as time passes through us.

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Mary Allan
Mary Allan
May 24, 2020

Hello Penny!

One of my learnings is that I welcomed the quiet larger community, from the very beginning. My home/yard is my personal sanctuary and my quiet place; I treasure it. However, before Shelter-in-Place, I would go out into the larger community and immediately feel an assault on my senses and whatever inner peace I had been savoring. It manifested itself in the form of people rushing, pushing in line, weaving in and out of traffic lanes, argumentative tones in voices, yelling a kids, abrupt responses...and more. This time of staying home has presented me with a myriad of other gifts, as well:

•my personal family staying in close touch

•witnessing families playing and finding creative ways of spending time…


May 24, 2020

Thank you for these questions, Penny. I also find that I seem to be unable to write about anything but the quarantine, adventures in staying safe, and the new "normal". Your questions inspire me to look beyond. One of the things I have enjoyed so much, especially now that spring has come to my home, is having the time to daily walk around the yard and see the subtle changes in the trees, flowering bushes, and flowers. I have also enjoyed the rituals of what I call Zen meal preparation - taking the time to get all the ingredients out before starting to cook. In this way I can be more mindful of the task (and I don't burn stuff…


May 24, 2020

Hi Penny. I have time! Time to read your blog - and I am loving it. Thank you. I also am meditating now, pretty regularly. I am receiving "The Raft" from Plum Village and listening to the Dharma talks - they are very settling, somehow. The "sound of the bell" takes me right back to my stay there in 2018.

We are isolated on our small island. We have created a walking/exercise loop on our 2 acres. We are noticing more things: the mink moving her kits, the baby song sparrows hatching from the mottled eggs, the baby robins fledging within 2 weeks of hatching.

We are tackling jobs on our quite long "to do " list: things we wouldn't…

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