It started with making homemade granola. And freezing it. Then, I tried for the first time to make cabbage rolls in honor of my late mother. She made them for holiday dinners. What followed, was homemade sauerkraut made from leftover cabbage.
Against the backdrop of these DIY projects (which I never do), I watched a documentary about Canadians living off the grid – without public utilities (water/electricity), at a distance from neighbours, and having to figure out everything on their own.
They are 24/7 do-it yourselfers.
These people are ingenious and creative, with homes running on renewable energy. They produce most of their own food. They carefully manage and monitor their consumption of essentials like fresh water. Days center on solving problems. And they do all this sustainability, in harmony with the environment, while wasting little.
While I am not about to go off the grid, I appreciate their hard work and commitment to be resourceful, happy with less, and self-sufficient.
It struck me that, with this locked-down socially-distanced covid-lifestyle, we are metaphorically living off the grid.
Like the self-reliant people in the film, we covid homesteaders have to solve new work and life problems constantly. Beyond Netflix, we have to create our own amusements. We need to find outlets for our creative energies. Find meaning and fulfillment without depending on our friends and family (who live in other households).
While living off the grid isn’t for me, putting in the daily effort to ward off negativity, being resilient and resourceful and enjoying a more frugal Covid lifestyle, feels good to me.
Wishing for brighter days ahead, peace within and extending to all.
This global pandemic has created massive upheaval. Surges in poverty, job losses and domestic abuse. Heartbreaking stories of sickness, isolation and loneliness. And I am scratching the surface.
Since late March, we have been learning to live one day at a time. We don’t have much of a choice since the future seems to have shrunk to about 3 days ahead - about the length of time to wait for your COVID results. We are practicing being present to the unfolding of each day. This is good news. This also levels the playing field - no one has the advantage of being able to plan, go out or have a good time. It should be a great comfort that everyone is stuck at home with no plans and no clear future. Misery loves company, even if you have none.
In 2021, not too much I expect will change except that it will be colder outside and winter equipment (skates, skis, and snowshoes) and indoor equipment (weights and workout machines) will be sold out.
I wish you and your families good health, fresh perspectives, healthy ways to deal with stress and ways to make your life meaningful to you.
In times of nowhere to go and no one to see, enjoy the simplicity of the present.
Desperate to hug someone,
p.s I will be posting new promotions for 2021.
Week after week, I want to reach out and share some inspiring thoughts to help those of you who are feeling frustrated, anxious, down and plain fed up.
Without sounding too prescriptive or trite, I want to find uplifting words to help:
Find the path of least resistance – that is, choose a way of being and a course of action that is the least taxing, the least demanding and difficult, but still allows for opportunities to create meaning. Stay mentally and physically healthy & strong. Find daily moments of quiet and solitude.
The fear and the reality of COVID, combined with the impulse for safety can contribute to various constrictions – in our bodies and minds. Find ways around this, so that you can feel open, carefree and light-hearted.
p.s While masks make it difficult to connect, I have found that eye contact is much much more interesting.
On vacation in Andalusia, in southern Spain, I have hiked in three different mountain ranges in the provinces of Malaga, Granada and Cadiz.
It feels wonderful to enjoy the beauty and sounds of nature and to get lost in my own thoughts.
But there is apprehension, too.
Over the last few years, leg and back injuries have muted the old pleasure of mastering physical challenges. My self-confidence has diminished, when it comes to hikes and the like.I usually plan to reach a set destination or to follow a specific route. Sometimes I care if I get there, and sometimes I don't mind ending up elsewhere. As long as the hike covers well-marked trails and easily-walked terrain, with occasional uphill challenges, and wraps up in three hours or so, I'm happy. I do prefer huffing and puffing uphill to putting on the brakes while going downhill, where I feel my knees and hips absorb too much force.
And something very unpleasant happens to me when the trails are not well-marked, the ground is uneven or strewn with loose rocks, the ups are too steep or go on for too long, and the 3-hour limit has somehow passed.
Walking along a narrow path, with little room to maneuver, I see myself falling over the cliff. I look up at boulders that have been there forever and wonder if they might come tumbling down. I look down at the Mediterranean and imagine a hypnotic urge to do something crazy - like jump. The end looms. I tell myself that I'm running out of energy and won't be able to make it much longer.
These unsettled moments are among the many ways we can experience anxiety. The continuum ranges from the passing hiking fears I have been facing to feeling out-of-control with endless nervous thoughts experienced by all too many others.
Because I'm interested in my own experience of feeling anxious, I play with my mind and experiment with how different thoughts and actions (even breathing) can worsen or improve my state.
I am discovering how to calm myself, diluting the worries and irrational fears that 'one false move and it's all over.' The quiet mind is less prone to the grip and power of fear.
Turning down the volume on your worries may not be a once-and-for-all end to anxiety, but it's a quick fix when you still have a couple more hours of hiking to do under a hot sun.
My family, relationships, movement, nature, flexibility of mind, exploration of alternative perspectives & openness are central to my life.