It's dark; the birds are in full, glorious song; and I'm sat here in my tiny little office, blessed to be able to write, and drink my coffee.
In these unprecedented times (at least in my lifetime), .
No, don't worry. I'm not talking apropos the rubric about fraud, nudity or being caught out for another misdemeanour; I'm talking about our soul being exposed when, in my case (and many others, I suspect), we've got no or very little paid work to do.
But I'm lucky — extra, extra lucky: at least for now, my employer is still paying my wages. I don't expect it to last much longer though and like many of my fellow employees (about 50% at the moment), I'll be furloughed.
I say exposing our soul because I hope that that's what's happening with the abundance of time (by dint of not working or having paid work), and not allowing ourselves to replace one normal — i.e. doing it, doing it, doing it — with some other equally dispiriting or exhausting form of ho-hum work. Don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying when you're back is firmly against the wall and you're sh*t scared you shouldn't work doubly hard to replace the lost income and loss of self-esteem that comes with doing something worthwhile, but, and it may well be conjecture, soul work it ain't.
You don't know that mate!
No, I don't.
I've no way of knowing if your new normal is lighting your inner fire or simply pandering to your Lizard Brain, but I bloody well hope you don't squeeze out that space — that wide open space — to simply do, and not sit in quiet contemplation of what a life of meaning actually looks like.
This surely, if nothing else, is what's required now, not because I'm getting all hoity-toity but you can surely see what it means to live on a planet when, amongst many other things, everything has slowed down, there's less pollution and most wonderfully of all, certainly in my neck of the woods, nature is having a riot — it's not missing our old ways one little bit. And the question that then arises, is what do I do to preserve at least some of this — the slower pace, perhaps?
What am I really saying?
For god's sake, stop, breathe and...listen.
Spend some time not thinking up your next action plan, but just being with that quiet inner voice that you've so vehemently ignored for most of your life.
Just remember though, this 'exercise' isn't about anything. In fact, the less you do the better — in my humble opinion.
OK, normally, just about now, I regale you with another story of yours truly and how in a slightly or very smug way (eejit, Ju), I'm all over the point I'm making. But I'll resist the temptation, if only because I'm not sure it's as easy as I'm saying. In fact, in my case, I know there's a big part of me that's addicted to work. It's me and I'm it. It's all I've ever known and the prospect of just sitting with nothing to do fills me, if not with horror, then at least a bit of trepidation. Sure, it's nice to start working with my hands but there's something else off in the wings that I've not yet found the courage to explore. It might be writing, or poetry or something that's never before surfaced. One thing I do know is that if all I do is get busy then my poor, long-suffering soul is just as likely to stay hidden from sight as it has been these past 40 years.
I suppose then, more than anything else, I need silence and time and to resist any temptation to do. If I can sit with that, not as some marathon session, but just to sit quietly for an extended period, then perhaps something might emerge.
But then again, it might not...