(I initiated this “Dear Fieldpoppy” advice column a few months ago; today’s questions were so rich it ended up in two parts — part two will come this afternoon).
As we re-enter the space previously known as The World, I am feeling utterly overwhelmed. I have so much work to do. I still have lots of care needs to attend to. It feels unbearable and I cry a lot of the time. Which makes me dehydrated. Which makes it worse. What suggestions do you have for balancing the impossible as we “return to normal not normal”?
Dear Fieldpoppy: I’ve lost my mojo and cannot for the life of me find it. I don’t even mind if I get back half of what I used to have, but even that seems out of reach. Suggestions?
Signed, what is mojo anyway?
First thing, for both of you: a big glass of water. I’ll join you. Let’s make a mindful ritual out of it.
Run the tap so it’s nice and cold, get your favourite big glass or water bottle. I like a giant blue hand blown glass that looks like a chalice. Get some ice if that’s your jam (it’s not mine). Put something you like into the water, like a skoosh of cranberry juice, or an orange slice and a blueberry.
Sit down, and be with the water, like the mindfulness exercise where you contemplate a raisin for an hour. Put your finger in the glass and feel its wetness. Think about where it came from, and the miracle that is clean water coming out of your tap. Feel the glass, real in your hand. Lift the glass, intentionally, and slowly wet your lips and drink, slowly. Feel it going down your throat.
Now, put your feet on the ground, intentionally. Like mountain pose, but sitting down. Feel the floor under your toes. What are the sensations? Sit a little bit more upright, feeling yourself in your body with dignity, with grace.
What a goddamned amazing body it is. Today is the official two year anniversary of a global fucking pandemic. There is a goddamned war in Europe. People and spaces you relied on have turned out to think very differently than you. This body has kept you alive through the most uncertain, frightening, disorienting, exhausting time we never imagined we’d deal with in our lives. You are here. You have water in your hand and solid floor under your feet. You are a miracle.
Now, breathe. Breathe in some love for that body and soul of yours. Breathe out love for the world. Breathe in — one, two, three, four. Slowly. Breathe out — one, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight. Do it again, and again. Pay attention to what is there — gratitude, love, resentment, sadness, worry, joy, loneliness, fatigue — these are all the miracles of being a human. A human who has held it together through stress you never expected to have to hold. What a goddamn miracle.
As the world “opens up again”, there is no “again.” It’s all new. We aren’t who we were two years ago, the world isn’t what it was two years ago, our bodies aren’t what they were two years ago. We see ourselves and the people around us differently. We’re older. We’ve been folded in on ourselves, literally and figuratively.
Now — emotionally — and literally — put yourself in child’s pose. Start there. Listen to what your body is telling you. Accept it. Be with it. Root up slowly, curiously, quietly, to find what is actually available to you in this new world. Listen to what your body is whispering at you. What is there, now? What do you need, now? Use your beginner’s mind — you won’t ever get the same mojo “back,” you won’t be able to balance the “same” things you balanced in the Before Times — but there is a new strength, energy, mojo, balance available. New care, new connections, new kinds of love. Listen for it. Let it be enough. Savour it. And see what grows in those new, smaller, tentative spaces.
I breathe in love with you.
Fieldpoppy is Cate Creede (she/they), who lives and works on the land now known as Toronto, which is the traditional territory of many nations including the Mississaugas of the Credit, the Anishnabeg, the Chippewa, the Haudenosaunee and the Wendat peoples, and is covered by Treaty 13, singed with the Mississaugas of the Credit. Cate is a coach, consultant and general thinker about relationships and meaning making. You can read earlier versions of the Ask Fieldpoppy column here, here and here.