It’s Like We Are in Time Out

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This is a personal post.

It’s available in distraction-free (- no ads) PDF for my patrons, linked here. It’s also at the end of this post for people who benefit from access to PDF’. If you want to hear me reading this, just click the link below.

My Facebook feed is full of comforting/clamoring calls for action/inaction, people giving me permission to accept “what is” right now, and snippets of encouragement for “how well”and what a “great job” I am doing.

That always annoys me; blanket statements from strangers about what a “great job” I am doing, or “how well” are meaningless phrases.  They only feel like weak, smothering platitudes.

“How well” am I doing?

What a “great job” I am making of this.

I’ve been inadvertently training for this pandemic for years, it seems.

I’ve been slowly weaning off of all regular in-person connections since I got married, then travelled down the Pan American highway and lived on the beaches of Mexico. I’ve been training for this with the years off the grid in a yurt, two hours from any big store or convenience, with loneliness becoming my familiar, and my children becoming my constant.

The stupendous, wrenching grief of losing my brother, than the implosion of my marriage – the latter of which I am only now sort of coming to terms with – was perfect training for understanding the process of grief and the waves that it travels upon, through and in.

How alike a sleeper grief  can be, slipping under you and knocking you over when you least expect it, when you aren’t prepared, when you don’t have a kitchen counter to hold onto when you lose your shit and need to grip something as you cry.

I know how to cut my kid’s hair, my own too.

I started cutting our hair a while ago, when I realized how much cheaper it would be, and how good at it I’d likely get by the time the kids were old enough to really care about style.

I feel like I’ve been training for the pandemic for years.

I know how to make just about anything from scratch.

I’m not boasting with that statement, it’s just a fact. That’s just what happens when you end up in super rural communities; you learn a lot about self sufficiency. And in that, you learn a lot about inter-connectedness and the need for community, for support. You learn that we really are like the fingers of a hand, each alone and providing a critical function, and that we must work together as a unit, a hand in order to thrive.

I was a teacher

I taught for years, and developed curriculum. I love teaching. I love my kids. I love developing learning systems. My kids have had Khan Academy accounts since they could talk, but since they all wanted to go to regular school so badly, we’ve never actually homeschooled.

(I’ve only used homeschool as a threat of sorts, “oh, you don’t want to get ready?! GREAT! YAY! I finally get to homeschool!!” I’ve been sincere about that too; but they, all 3 of them, just run for the car)

I feel like I’ve been training for the pandemic for years.

I grew up Baha’i, a pioneer child (- missionary)  to boot.

I was raised on the message of prophecies of crises of global proportions headed our way, in my lifetime, unless and until humanity united and chose a different path. I was raised with the understanding that suffering would be ours until we made some different choices, choices born of justice, equality, education, health, spirituality, oneness, unity in diversity.

I feel like I’ve been training for the pandemic for years.

When this first blew up, I stretched my arms, cracked my laced palms and smiled.

“Oh, I’ve got this!” I thought so happily, followed by blissful joy that I could at last try out homeschooling, and, introverted homebody that I now am, I could quit the pretense of even wanting to go out.

My mom moved in with me from California, and with that has come the relief of knowing that there is someone else to read to the kids and to hold the fort down while I take the trash to the dump.

It also comes with challenges that tend to come with the territory of being 46 years old, having young children, and sharing space with one’s parent.

The hours have turned into days which have turned into weeks, and I still feel like I’ve got this in more ways than perhaps most.

Homeschooling is a breeze, even when I don’t think the suggested material from the kid’s school is appropriate or relevant for my specific children, especially the ones with disabilities. I just find my own resources; it’s not hard.

kids homeschooling

I love being with my kids all that time; that’s not hard either.

I live in Hawai’i, and when the weather is beautiful, nothing about living here is a hardship.

I have tools and materials.

I’ve made my garage into an art studio.

I’ve built a raised bed, block by block, and with a free mulch run from the green waste facility.

projects

I’ve read my eyes sore, books about tropical gardening, the how-to’s and wherefore’s and oh: be sure to plant bananas with other bananas because they enjoy each other’s company!

And yet somehow, in all this “I got this” action, I feel like a big piece is terrible, achingly incomplete.

This isn’t going to be over soon.

Nor should it.

What I mean by that is that this pandemic happened for a reason.

It happened because the world is intrinsically interconnected but refuses to acknowledge it.

It happened because we have enormous disparities between the rich and the poor, we have a profit-based healthcare system and rampant ignorance. We have one of the shittiest educational systems in the world; if not THE shittiest of any nation with wealth.

We have been valuing money and work over all else.

It happened because we do not utilize regenerative farming practices, we haven’t implemented green life or green living practices. Our environment is trashed and we just keep on digging for more oil, make hard plastic to pour laundry detergent from.

Our political system is unbelievably messed up; parties battling for control on a beds of dollars, over the bodies of the most vulnerable.

Who are we? What is this?!

You know as well as I that this is not who or what any of us was born to do or be.

We are more than what we have been, and the Universe knows this, too.

This pandemic is will push us into these new directions whether we want to go or not, because fundamentally changing who we are and how we live is ultimately going to be the only way we can truly save ourselves and prevent this from happening again.

I feel like I’ve been training for the pandemic for years

I’ve stockpiled food since my years living off the grid, but I know how to grow my own food, too.

My work is already home-bound, internet-based – the only difference is that now it’s all becoming so much easier for me because everyone is catching up to where I’ve been for so long.

Everyone wants a Zoom meeting now!

My kids around me all the time and monitoring them while I was also trying to work phased me back in the Bay Area and in Mexico, but now..?! No.

I know how to do this. My learning curves for all of this happened years ago.

I’ve been training for this pandemic for years.

But somehow in all this preparedness and training and readiness, I’ve been dream-walking through fog.

Things don’t seem real or make sense, my focus is scattered and for the first time in years, my stress-sleeping and narcolepsy are back.

I can feel this shift in the world and the need for the pieces I’ve mentioned – education, equality, a green revolution that is fueled by a spiritual metamorphosis.

While I feel like I’ve been inadvertently training for this pandemic for years, the piece that is missing and the piece I know we (as a collective human whole) are being forced to wake up and make is new.

In this colossal Time Out, I look around me.

Like most everyone else, my world has shrunk to a handful of people: those whom I birthed, and to whom I was birthed.

And myself.

Just us.

Sitting in this Time Out, with my attention so firmly and squarely on my self, wrapped and whirled around ME and MY KIDS and MY MOM, I am brought back to our collective genesis: we are first ourselves.

Then our family.

Then friends.

Then on and so forth.

If we want to change the world, we are supposed to start with ourselves.

The roots of global change happen on a local level, the ripple is generated from the core, and the core of every human being is our own self, which is exactly who we are now required to spend an inordinate amount of time with.

I think about this stuff while I am out in the garden.

flower
flower
anthurium

I think about the advocacy that some other disabled people are doing right now, fighting for access to health care, for triage rights.

I think about how much I admire them for standing up for their rights, for saying, “I AM WORTH LIVING” so boldly, so clearly, with such strength.

I think about how hard it is for me to do that, that somehow each gasp of my own worth feels like a struggle, I am paralyzed by doubts of, “am I really?”

Am I really worth it?

When I go back to gardening, and I see the intricacies and beauty of all the of the different plants and flowers, and I know without doubt when I am out there that I AM worth it, that we are all worth it.

That this giant Time Out is perhaps a part of that: discovering and recognizing our own worth.

Back to this pandemic that it seems like I have been training for, for years

We are more than what we have been.

We have been putting ourselves (and our children, our world) into this tiny box of what “should-be,” we look to others and not within.

We turn down the volume of the energetic call of life to offer our presence to spaces that don’t even remotely tap into the precious and priceless gifts that each and every one of us have within us.

We are more than what we have been, and the Universe knows this, too.

 

flower

This pandemic is will push us into new directions whether we want to go or not.

We are going to figure out how to come into our own worth – slip into our authentic power and be who we really are.

Because I think that fundamentally changing who we are and how we live is ultimately going to be the only way we can truly get out of Time Out.

That’s such a tall order: because it involves love, authenticity.

Honesty.

It involves cultural shifts, education, systems of care, economic justice, rights.

It means being still and reaching in.

But I have confidence that tall order or not, we can do it.

This is, I believe, a part of our evolution, it’s becoming more of who we were always supposed to be.

It’s painful, but, like birth, it’s just part of the process.

That doesn’t mean that I’m not scared or that it isn’t hard.

It is hard, and I am scared.

All this “training for the pandemic” that I’ve been talking about only means that I know how to breathe through labor, be a little. more comfortable in the pain – but I still have to learn how to birth this all into being.

time out

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Meriah
Meriah Nichols is a career counselor, teacher and blogger. Single mom to 3 (one with Down syndrome, one gifted 2E), she is also a cat-loving Trekkie who likes her coffee hot and black.
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1 thought on “It’s Like We Are in Time Out”

  1. And only the future will tell we birthed a beach ball or a bread basket.

    “Who are we? What is this?!

    You know as well as I that this is not who or what any of us was born to do or be.

    We are more than what we have been, and the Universe knows this, too.”

    That is a big existential risk cry.

    Reply

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