Report on my 1st Secular Sabbath I deem to be a success:
Basically, I managed to do without devices, from Midnight Saturday until 4:30 Sunday afternoon. A hi-light of the day was my two hours in the Arboretum with my granddaughter Sophie. The trees were exquisite, the conversation engaging and the joy of being there with nothing tugging at my heels calling out, “do this.” Of course, the downside arrived when, on the way home, I suggested we order a little Sushi for pick-up and realized I had no way to do this. And we both burst out laughing when shortly afterwards I said, “darn it, what can we do? I know!! I’ll call Mom and get her to place the order.” You get the picture. Hence, there is a learning curve when you hand in your smartphone for the first time.
Part of our musings as we tromped through leaves and over bridges was how to prepare for the time change, and winter, in the time of Covid. How can we make the best of this?
One of the common slippery slopes of a cancer diagnosis is the tendency to put our life on hold. Consequently, everything grinds to a halt and we plan for when we are well again, when treatments are over and side effects are gone. Only, after all of that, will we finally get back to normal. However, cancer patients and others going through serious and prolonged illness learn that we don’t go back to our old normal. We will eventually have a new normal but in the meantime we can easily miss one or two years of living.
Similarly, the same holds true for life in a pandemic.
When will we get back to normal? Maybe next spring? Summer? Will there be a vaccine? Who will get it first? Who knows?
It’s true when we go through treatment, there are many things we may have to forego, and equally so with Covid-19. There are restrictions and sacrifices for our benefit and also for the benefit of others. The problem is, if we mostly look longingly at things we miss, there is a good chance we won’t notice what today has to offer.
So, Sophie and I discussed how we might prepare to still live a good life and not succumb to inertia and despair. Part of my plan involves Sunday as a day for creativity. I have all these things I want to do and have put them off due to lack of time. Going forward, I now have one day a week to explore, try new things, make mistakes, and enjoy myself, focusing on the expressive arts. I already have one date. The first Sunday of November.
Part of that day will be to learn how to hand-draw a sun mandala. A lovely woman in the Netherlands learned of my interest, after I saw her mandalas, and offered to teach me on Zoom. Voila! This time has never been better to learn new things. Many of them for free or minimal cost.
For years I have been teaching the benefits of the creative arts for people struggling with illness, ageing and other curve balls that get flung our way. As I think about this winter, I believe it will be tough for many people. Conversely, doing things with our hands where we create, however clumsily, can bring a spark of joy. This goes for making music, baking bread, taking photos, writing, wood working…whatever appeals to you.
As luck would have it, I found this excellent article yesterday. It seems all arrows are pointing towards consciously taking this opportunity and making the most of it. I hope you do too, even if there is just the slightest tug to try something new.
Creativity is Great Medicine, by Dr. Susan Massad a retired Doctor of Internal Medicine of 51 years. She continues to lead workshops and conversations… on creative aging, health and wellness and issues of dementia, death and dying.
Note 1:) Dr Graham Pole, suggests: “We make a clear distinction between art that patients and clients passively enjoy and art that participants create themselves. Participation is more effective in the healing process of illness both physical and psychological because the more involved patients are in the creative expression, the more able they are to take charge of their situation.”
Note 2:) I hope you are all doing the best you can do, dear readers. I think it’s good to notice the beauty, find a few good words, laugh with others, lend a hand and offer a hand. We get through things together.
Note 3:) Tonight I made an apple crisp for the family, from apples that came from my cousins in NB, and using a recipe like my Mother’s. The taste of comfort and the wealth of memories that each bite provided was a gift.
Note:4) Last but not least the warmest thank-you’s for coming by here. Some of you are suffering and I think of you everyday. Please take care, stay safe and send me a note if I can do anything for you. See you next Wednesday. As always, Trudy