12 years ago I was rendered immobile, stuck at home for days on end unless saved by some sympathetic soul who felt sorry for me and would take me out, like an aged relative, for a little fresh air on a monthly day-trip. A snapped Achilles tendon brought my fast-moving world to a grinding halt. It was abrupt. No prior warning. No time to prepare for months of isolation. It felt un-nerving, uncomfortable, even a little frightening. What do I do now? Unable to drive, the only method of leaving the village would involve asking for help, something I found extremely difficult to do (and even today this remains my weak point). But I had no choice, and in spite of much resistance, anger, bitterness and frustration, I came through this isolation a better version of me (a not so perfect right calf, but hey...I can walk, dance even!)
Todays events surrounding the Coronavirus have reminded me of this time of injury and the lessons I learned from it. It was the first time in my life when I was given the very clear message to slow down. I had possibly been given subtle messages before but I was so wrapped up in a world of achieving, of making things happen there was no way I was ever going to hear them. I needed something considerably more dramatic to make me listen. SNAP! Now you can't move at all. Now will you please be still and listen. So I did. I listened.
All my senses suddenly awakened when my world slowed down. I could see my children with fresh eyes and be deeply involved in their young lives rather than blinded by business.
Simple pleasures of sitting in the garden, listening to nature, breathing in warm air, planting new plants, getting my hands dirty, connected me with this beautiful miracle of life. I re-connected again, not only with the people I love, but also with the things I used to love doing before becoming overwhelmed by the relentless economic processes that reduce life to nothing but "resources" to be expended. I played the piano, read hundreds of books, wrote journals, articles, sketched out ideas for my own book, listened to music....
Once healed, I never did return to the manic routine of business first, juggling childcare, home and work. It was impossible for me to return to my previous life. I made changes, sacrificing material wealth for a much greater richness.....health and happiness.
I would never have imagined being able to change my life in this way before being forced to stop.
Maybe this is the Coronavirus lesson we are all being given, by being forced to slow down, even by bringing everything dramatically to its knees.
Maybe everyone should begin to reconsider how they are living.
Maybe we should all start connecting again with community and people, family and neighbours, to re-build a more balanced, loving, healthy life.