Presence in Disguise
march 16, 2020
Presence in Disguise
What in the world. How did we get here and how the fuck do we make it stop? No one really knows, do they? Everything appears to be on lockdown for at least two weeks, but any sane person I speak to says it’ll get worse before it gets better - this will last at least 6-8 weeks. Others say we’ll be cooped up until August. Not to mention at least a few years of economic recovery. Or the grieving for the lives afflicted. Does that ever really end? Not until we make peace with death, I suppose.
And still, under the very ugly surface of things, I see a shiny new outlook in our world. I see how this crisis is bringing the reality of current social issues to the forefront. I see love and care coming out of the woodwork in my relationships and from strangers on the street. I feel myself giving into the present - how can I be attached to a future of such uncertainty anyhow? Our lives have never been certain, but now I feel it in my bones. But maybe that gives license to indulge in what joy we can bring each individual moment. In the past few days, I’ve seen myself play and experiment in ways that I haven’t since I was a child bored on summer vacation. I sometimes get lost in an activity all day, unaware time is even going by. And is it really? A brilliant scientist once said time is an illusion - it’s all relative. And yet, I can’t help but ponder how I’ve used the time I’ve spent on Earth - just over 26 years.
I feel incredible gratitude that I’ve lived such a full life - heck it feels like I lived several lives in just the first few months of 2020, as I spent 7 of the first 9 weeks of the year on a whirlwind adventure. Wow am I glad I took that trip - I almost didn’t go. Did you know that? When I first found out about the trip to India working with the non-profit, it was the last week of December - three weeks before I was asked to depart on January 15. I couldn’t go on a big trip so soon after a festive, boozy, and less economically prosperous December. No, I needed to stay in LA and make money, at least through January. But instead, I took the opportunity. I lived. I soaked in every piece of the world I could when she offered herself. And maybe that’s a beautiful lesson in itself - live your damn life. It can change overnight.
Mine did. And now everythings is different. I’ve found ways to make this my new normal. I’ve come to peace with the hit on my financial security and have found a side gig teaching English online (to Chinese children of all people) during the peak hours of 3-6am PST. Social distancing still allows for one-on-ones with friends and phone calls across the country. New found time has been a gift for my meditation practice and painting. My dear dog is capitalizing on all the extra snuggles and I revel in them, knowing I have nowhere to be. I’ve been eating at home so nutritiously, blessed with an abundantly stocked kitchen, playing around with recipes from Pinterest that have been patiently waiting for this moment to come alive on my counter.
Self-quarantine has come with relative ease, as the weather has been uncharacteristically rainy. I have a premonition that we’ll wake up in a few months to the most beautiful, green city with clear skies that go on for miles. Coronavirus is a product of Mother Nature, after all. Maybe enough was enough and she needed a break - Earth put the kids in timeout. And what’s the purpose of timeout other than to ponder our actions? I invite us all to take a moment to look within. What about our current life is keeping us from growing... or from taking responsibility for our world and our society like any sane adult would? Whenever this ends, I think we’ll all see the world a little differently. We’ll feel the weight of our actions, heavy on our hearts, but our souls will soar, at last grasping the gift of freedom and our duty to protect it.
a photo series with Moe Martinez