I wrote this post on April 18th, 2020, one month after the first lockdown started.
I haven’t had much to say lately. I wanted to write but each time I tried I felt the words had too much weight. I guess I’ve been dealing with too many confusing emotions at once, like most of us in these times.
I’ll talk for myself here. About confinement (obviously?) but I’m curious to know if anyone else feels the same. I feel grateful that I live in a tiny village on the coastline of Portugal. I live alone so most days are easy since I like to be by myself, but some days I feel a little lonely. C’est la vie.
My routine didn’t change so much, I’m a digital girl working from home. Maybe I can’t keep my surf-work lifestyle up right now, but I still find some sort of balance with whatever I have, which is mostly with walks nearby. I live in the countryside so going into fields through wild trails is easy and I am grateful for having arrived back to this place 6 months ago.
Some days I think about life with a little more distance, and right now it is about making yourself happy with what you have, and it starts with yourself. Rather simple in theory, but sometimes it takes lifetimes to get there. Here.
I also wasn’t sure if this confinement period would bring me another sort of wake-up call or not (not yet?), but it feels almost as if the way I felt in February was an announcement for this time (If you didn’t read any posts before, basically February was pretty heavy emotionally). So for now, no major shift, but instead, small discoveries about myself. Did you get those too? For example, I find joy in cooking. I have to write that again haha. I find joy in cooking. I have shifted from the lazy girl who cannot be asked to cook to a full-on at least 5 veggies and fruits per day diet.
I discover new veggies, new recipes and I’m learning a lot about how to make cooking easier and less daunting for me. I also started foraging flowers and leaves when I go outside since I’m close to wild areas here and it’s been fun to learn that too.
Oh and the workouts. I’m addicted to the Nike Training app when 3 years ago I hated it. In my head, the words glutes and hamstrings are on repeat mode like a song you can’t get rid of. And all my muscles hurt!
Isn’t it funny how sometimes small things suddenly change from being almost insignificant to being the one thing you hold onto? And maybe other things I used to consider vital come down to be totally unnecessary in the end. Although this is happening because I made a choice. I had realized that in February I had already let myself down a bit, and when confinement started, I faced the same options most of us had: stay on the couch, watch Netflix, snack all day and feel sorry for myself, or decide that I would do at least one thing per day that would make me feel like I’m moving forward with my life no matter what.
So I chose the second option, and I pulled myself together. Easier said than done, but you know what, small changes make a big impact. Now I start the day with a simple intention and a big glass of filtered water. The one thing that changed here is that I used to not filter my water and because I didn’t like the taste of it, I wasn’t drinking enough. So the change can really be small. I also started working out at home daily and I gave myself some goals there.
Generally, I found out that to get through this on my own I needed two things:
- To feel physically tired at the end of each day,
- To learn something new.
Now feeling creative is a little harder sometimes because for that you need mind space, and right now between social media, updates on the virus and new measures being taken, it’s easy to feel full of it and not wanting to dive into something else.
But still, it is possible, and so every day I try. I’ve been enjoying organizing my home a little more since I moved into it only 6 months ago, and I’m finding forgotten gems in craft boxes. Small things bring happiness. Of course, the Vata in me (head mostly in the clouds, a spirit alternating between the tornado and soft breeze mode) wants to start everything but finishes almost nothing. So I keep it small and simple. For now.
The fact that I’m pretty isolated also brings me quite a bit of distance from the events that are happening. Of course, like most people, I see a lot on social media, between memes, humor that varies slightly from one country to the other, poetry, jokes, and art, but I also see harsh comments, criticism, sometimes racism and (what I would call) unnecessary judgments being enhanced and thrown out too soon.
But having taken that distance, I think as human beings we do have an extraordinary quality which is that we adapt extremely well. And here in Portugal, we adapt without stress, and with a smile. There are no judging looks in my village. People smile at me when they see me and my red face coming back up the hill with a bunch of wildflowers. They even throw some words at me that I half understand, but I see the smile on their face. That smile means that yes, that foreigner girl here, she loves this country as much as we do. Love. Love. Love. That’s the energy that goes around, you can see it in the blink of the eye, in the second of the smile, and in the salutation of the hand in the air. Love is simple. Love is what I hold onto.
But I also see something else. Last week, at around 21.30, a young priest came into the village in his cute/interesting sporty car and said some prayers with a microphone, a few days before Easter that was. People opened their windows. And I surprised myself opening mine too. Now I didn’t get a word of what he said. But again. We all smiled at each other. In that moment, it didn’t matter who you were, how old you were, where you came from or what you did for a living. The only thing that mattered was faith, connection, and love. People all acknowledged that despite what was going on, we could still choose love. We still had each other. We were still living together.
I’m not saying that religion is the answer, I was raised catholic but my views are different. But I certainly see how people here trust. Is that why they are so calm and naturally open? I still don’t know. But for sure they look like they trust the seasons, they trust their land, they trust the weather, and mostly, they trust each other.
What I believe is this: in life, you have two options: fear, and love. I may feel fear because of the uncertainty of these days, but one thing is for sure, I found love here more than ever before. I believe that to trust is to love. And to love is to trust.
PS. this was meant to be a one paragraph post about the album I chose to work on. I’m using the only 3×8 album I have here, hoping I will fit everything into it. I used journal cards and elements from the amazing Liz of Paislee Press.