When my son was a baby, I spent many nights just staring at him as he slept.
Listening to him breathe. Watching his tiny chest rise and fall.
There was a slowness to his infancy. I was not working, nor going out a lot. My time was spent with him.
As he grew, I did this less and less. Not intentionally, but more because, well, shit to do.
So now I find myself in the midst of this pandemic where slowness and expanses of time once again come to sit beside me.
So the other night, I watched him sleep. This whirling dervish of a child who moves from morning until night. He was still. His breath was even and steady. His ( not so tiny) chest was rising and falling in the same way it has done for 8.5 years.
And I started bawling. For a moment, I let all the love I have for him in. All the way. I felt my awe for him. My tenderness for the way he twitches as he falls asleep. The floodgates opened and I let the full weight of how much he means to me fall on my chest. Of how devastated I would be if I lost him. How I already am losing him just by the nature of his growing up. I went to the places I don’t allow myself to do because the beauty and the fear and and the bigness of it all overwhelm me.
And I cried for a solid hour. Not all about him. About all the other ways I want to keep my feelings at bay. To out a hand up and say ” Nope. You can’t come in. You are too big and too scary and to be anywhere near you feels like I’m flying dangerously close to the sun.”
Perhaps you are in the same boat. Oodles of unstructured, undefined time. Routines and schedules out the window. It may feel like you are flying apart at the seams. I have felt ( and still can feel) that way. Every thing- the external things, anyway, that keep us distracted and busy and productive and give us validation and approval have been all at once stripped away.
There can be an indescribable ache as we are invited to turn to ourselves, to meet ourselves for the first time…maybe ever?
Being in isolation has for me amplified all the feelings I have anyway by about 100. And the ones I’ve been avoiding by about 1000. I feel my deep loneliness and desire to be held both emotionally and physically by an intimate partner right now. I see with more clarity than I ever have how I set myself up to be on the edge of lots of things instead of fully in one or two. I feel how painful that is to live my life as a fringe dweller.
Chances are good, you are having some heightened feelings as well.
You may be feeling the loss of normalcy right now. The absence of same-ness. Or maybe you are bumping up against grief from your past that has not had space to surface until now. Your heart may feel raw and tender as you realize how much you love your people and want them to be well. You may have “regressive” behaviors that you were sure you had dealt with re-emerging. Maybe you are being triggered into old painful feelings of being unseen, abandoned, alone, rejected, helpless, powerless, anxious and afraid. Perhaps the disconnect in your relationship that you can ignore when you are busy is now glaringly obvious because of the stillness. You could be staring at parts of you that you are afraid to see like your own anger, or co-dependence, or excessive need for control. Or you may be really happy and filled with joy at the slower pace.
Whatever the case, I believe the invitation now is to BE WITH these parts of ourselves, not in an effort to change them or eradicate them. More to just offer them the same companionship you would a good friend. Without additional shame, blame, or judgement. And the more grace and compassion we can offer ourselves, the more we will have to give.
I see you. I see myself. And however you are doing, whatever you are feeling, however you are getting through this is just perfect and oh so wise. It’s a really hard time to be a human on this planet. You’re doing a great job.
With so much love,