As I resume some of my pre-pandemic life (riding the horse more, catching up on doc appointments), I have a sense of dwelling a short distance from my body.
I’ve already noted in this space that pandemic living resulted in some odd behavior changes for me. I stopped whistling, and I am a pretty dedicated whistler. I stopped stretching, even casually, as in touching my toes while waiting for my tea water to boil. I stopped laughing at the ridiculous antics of eight-week-old kittens. Stopped wearing my most colorful socks and went instead for cozy pastels all year round.
My sense is that I withdrew into a state of low self-expression, and became emotionally non-permeable. Worry, anxiety, and anger were not going to get in, and courage was not going to leak out. I kept the hatches battened down, and now… the hatches are kinda stuck. Small challenges–might run out of milk!–are occasion for much strategizing even though I still have an entire gallon of milk in the fridge.
I need time to get my groove back, but I also need to do the things I know to do to be me. One of those things is to invite novelty into my life. My imagination cannot think new thoughts if I never give myself new experiences or perspectives to chew on. This week, I rode a different horse, for example. Santa boogered up not one but two of his feet, so I did a lesson on Waldo, a handsome bay Hanoverian gelding whom I have known for fifteen years…. but never taken a lesson on.
My take away from that lesson was, as long as I focused on listening to the horse instead of anticipating a spook, bolt, buck, earthquake, market crash, new pandemic, or meteor collisions, we had a fine time.
And then I tried something called floating, which is essentially sensory deprivation in a warm bath of concentrated Epsom salts. Somebody at the barn recommended it for stress relief and reduction of inflammation. I like a good massage, but cannot find a massage therapist I click with, and besides… a massage in a mask has little appeal. So a-floating I did go.
I did not reunite with my missing soul, or think up the best story premise ever. I tried a little something new. My myriad small aches and pains might be somewhat mollified for the present, and I did enjoy it. I also had to find my way to a new location (I do not use Sat Nav), had to deal with people I’d never met, had to manage when I left my towel in the car (What, me? Distracted?), and generally had to be present to my own life. It’s a step in the right direction.
Are you having to treat yourself any differently lately? Planning any new adventures? I’ll put three names on my ARC list for Miss Delectable, which launches in the web store in May, and on the retail outlets in June.