I am single. I live alone. My love-life has taken a major hit, along with every other part of my life come to think of it, very much like yours has I am sure. So no more dates, no flirting, no human contact for the foreseeable future. That’s not a hugely welcoming prospect. We are pack animals. It is no coincidence that the zone of our body that soothes us the deepest when touched in a particular way is directly between our shoulder blades. In other words, just out of reach. We are meant to have contact with other humans.
Don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t seeing Mr Right before the lock-down, but I was seeing Mr Right Now. And, well, now I’m not. Perhaps I am fortunate; some of my friends are in serious hand-holding types of relationships (you know the sort; the type in which your man will let you have the last Rolo and the window seat on the plane) and they are now stranded. Cocooned in different towns or cities with no hint of when they may be reunited.
Where’s the party at?
My practice will see me through, I know it will. But I am acutely aware that it’s not the same for everyone, and months of isolation and social distancing will be a particular challenge. They say that the more one meditates, the more bliss and indescribable happiness will be experienced on a daily basis. For the pro’s that is one of the many rewards. For us lesser mortals who do not live in a cave and meditate for several hours a day, we can have glimpses of those emotions and we certainly experience deep insights and improved overall health and wellbeing.
My Zen teacher Daizan Skinner says in his book ‘Practical Zen’ about the concept of FOMO (fear of missing out) that one might feel “haunted by a sense that the action is elsewhere. You’ll find this changes radically over time. The party’s right here. There really is nowhere else to go. You can settle and enjoy your life wherever you are right now. There is nothing to worry about and nothing to fear”.
The party really is right here. And it was long before the lockdown and the virus which changed us all forever. But it takes a dedicated practice to truly feel this way in your heart. Begin by setting aside time every day to do some formal meditation, even if that is 5 minutes. Over time you’ll find that you look forward to this time-out and a sense of peace can be found. If you’re struggling to get started, join a class or an intense 8 week programme.
Your time is now
There really has never been a better time to show yourself the love and attention you deserve. Only you can do this work (and it is work) but the rewards are plentiful. And way better than that first kiss at the end of a romantic meal for two, or that glance shared over a private joke. You don’t have to do it alone, there are heaps of teachers offering online support. We all have this amazing gift of time, and starting a journey of self-discovery and self-care seems like a great way to spend some of that time.
Yes, I’ll miss the human touch and the excitement of social interaction but I’m happy to continue with my party for one. Joy and bliss are ours for the taking. Not so that particular kind of touch in the middle of your back however. That will have to wait if you’re a lone lockdowner like me. If you’re wondering what that kind of touch is, you already know it. It is embedded into our DNA. If you watch a mother soothe her child, she will automatically know how best to do it. The gentle caress of skin on skin, around 3-4 centimetres per second. Heavenly.