I gain a new perspective

In the last few weeks, quite a lot has happened. For better or worse, we’ve started to lessen Covid restrictions. Brother has been to stay twice and we’ve cleared out a lot of things from the house. With the opening up, I was able to have some guys from the charity shop come and take away a few pieces of furniture. Of course, clearing away one load of stuff only uncovers another pile that was packed away behind the first tranche, and which I now need to sort out. But even though the place is still pretty untidy and chaotic, it does feel better. I feel like I’ve finally got some space – which is great! I feel lighter and less like I’m suffocating under the weight of stuff that didn’t even belong to me. Now I can start sorting through the stuff that does belong to me and which has been stashed away in the garage for the last seven years! But at least I’ve made a start.

Also thanks to the relaxation of restrictions, about a month ago, I was able to spend 10 days in London staying in the house of friends who themselves were able to go off for a break. It was wonderful. I saw many friends and members of my family. I touched a part of my life that’s been closed off and that I’d really missed. But it was a very intense visit. Each day I saw a different set of people, and we talked about how things have been during this weird time of Covid. Some people have coped better than others; some had an easier ride than others, but lockdown has taken its toll on everyone…including me. But I’m beginning to adjust my perspective on how things have been.

I’ve been reading a book called Mysteries of the Dark Moon by Demeter George. In it she discusses is how certain things can develop in ways which correspond to the three phases of the moon: that’s to say, a phase of growth (new moon); a phase of fulfilment (full moon) and then a phase of withdrawal (dark moon).

When I read: ‘The dark phase of the cyclical process is where healing and renewal occur.’ (p 25) it immediately struck a chord with me. As I’ve said before, since mum died, I’ve felt, metaphorically speaking, as if I were walking through a dark, barren abyss. It was an obstacle I couldn’t cross except by descending into it. In fact, it felt like I did literally fall into it when I broke my arm! Lately though, I’ve been feeling that this barren place isn’t quite so barren, or quite so dark. And I’ve been thinking I must be coming out the other side.

I really like the idea that a dark place is not necessarily a place of inertia but can also be a place of growth and transformation. Just like a seed buried deep in the earth, somehow grows into a beautiful plant; or a tiny embryo in the womb, somehow develops into the complexity of a human being, a time of ‘descent’, of sinking deep into ourselves, can be a time of renewal.

We can change old patterns of thought that have outlived their usefulness or have held us back. Letting go of them might be painful; it could well be an experience we’d prefer not to undergo. But if we do succeed in it, we may release energy which will change our ways of thinking and being and help us create something new.

Lockdown meant I’ve had to sit with my feelings. I didn’t do this intentionally. If I’d had the wonderful distractions of normal life, I would’ve been busy doing this and that, travelling, visiting: all the things I’ve always done and enjoyed. Basically, I’d have been ‘getting on with my life’ but that would’ve involved repeating the same inner patterns of behaviour that I’ve always had. This time of Covid, which for me has been a time of solitude and apparent standstill, may yet turn out to have been a time of incubation, leading to positive change.

At the beginning of the lockdown, my plans for the future were thrown into disarray. I decided the only way to cope would be to feel I’d achieved something meaningful during this enforced period of standstill. Apart from the boring yet heart-breaking clearing out of the house, I’ve been working on several projects. Now I’m thinking that there may have been some other unexpected benefits as well.

I don’t want to speak too soon. I still have to climb out of that metaphorical abyss. But when I do, I should, hopefully, be on the other side of it!