Pandemic sent me into isolation away from my home, out of my neighbourhood and community. Although as a caregiver I am not by myself here, I often feel alone.
There have been moments when this has sent me scrolling through social media, drawn in to the often mundane-aity of what other people deem important to share, looking for gems of insight or connection until, in sudden awareness of passing time and drained energy I pull myself out. That’s what it actually feels like, that I have to take my arm and draw myself away.
I’ve learned that intentional solitary moments are when I feel least alone. When I create an altar, light a candle and draw in, everything shifts. I am companioned by Breath, by Self, by Presence and hours can go by. I come away from those times refreshed, renewed and often with helpful insight.
And my camera. My camera draws me into relationship with the world. Even before I put viewfinder to eye its presence in my hand focusses my attention. I am more aware of what’s going on around me, the play of the light, dynamics of interaction, the poetry that is everywhere. Sometimes I can capture that and sometimes it is for that moment only and not to be held electronically. It is held, none-the-less, as an encounter as nourishing as a chat with a friend or time with a mentor.
Both of these activities have been curtailed with a broken foot. In meditation I prepare my altar on the floor and sit seiza1 which I cannot do right now. And walking the camera has become more challenging with one active leg and crutches. Somehow I’ve allowed this to prevent engagements which do not hinge on either. I could learn to meditate propped up on the bed. And the camera is as content in the yard as the beach; it is I who feels a need for what seems a more exciting location.
In the same way we’ve learned to adapt our interactions with each other, I can learn to adapt these ones. Although different than sharing a meal together, telephone and video calls and walks where we are further apart have kept us connected. Yesterday my longest held friends from the old neighbourhood gathered on video conferencing as we’ve done throughout pandemic. We each now live in different cities and generally have connected all together only once or possibly twice a year. Meeting on-line over the past 8 months has made us wonder why we never did that before.
Meditation draws me out by drawing me inward. Photography draws me in by calling me to engage outward. Both require intention and attention. And so I’m recommitting to these powerful acts of connection. I’m determined to let go of the things that are ultimately secondary and draw back to what is central, draw back to attention and simple connection.
1Seiza is kneeling on the floor with feet tucked under.
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