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  • Writer's pictureColin Eveleigh

The Screen of Life

Nine of us last night including one from Spain, one returned from France ~ now here temporarily for the duration, one from deepest Devon…. Oh, and a dog made a brief appearance too along with the very welcome new person/owner.  Deep apologies for my ineptitude in sending one link late and another not arriving at all, otherwise there would have been ten of us. The irony is, this person was making a special effort to join us after saying they didn't feel able to come and then they were prevented anyway by me! Sorry again. Especially wonderful to see, hear and share with old friends!! And I remembered that I had said to myself when setting these meetings up that I didn't want it to be all about 'the world in crisis' which we are all increasingly distressed by and distinctly worn out with. Now, I'm realising that of course the current crisis is inescapable and each week that we meet to share our experiences together there is bound to be a lot of sharing about that. And it doesn’t need to be all doom and gloom. It will be about whatever it is I guess and we are free to share whatever direct experiences come to mind in the moment. And when it's heart felt and mindfully, openly and honestly expressed, that's got to be good hasn't it? In truth everything is about corona virus just now and one person wearily and resignedly expressed probably what we all felt, which is that they couldn't add anything to it at all. "That's what leaves me being so quiet tonight", they said. And then 'warming up' 😊 as they put it, they went on really helpfully to share how the mind in a crisis will easily go towards the dark side, the 'what ifs?' and try to confront reality ~ the impossibility of the unthinkable ~ like losing an income and all the fears around that. The dilemma of facing up to things as they are (even death) or turning away. CV overload can lead us to turn from all this in favour of solace in other distractions, but the truth is it’s always there to sit with if we choose to. Sometimes we just need to do what we need to do. The natural world is vividly on hand to come to our rescue here. Never appreciated bird song and the beauty and majesty of tees as much as I do now! I think not as a distraction or escape though. Well... being human, sometimes maybe. And what do you do if you find yourself marooned far away from home taking care of others? It’s hard, but as one person shared we can still see it as a precious opportunity that we may not have had otherwise. And at the same time recognising and acknowledging the pressure cooker stress and pressure of it all. One moment we can calmly admire the beauty of the waters receding from the beach and in the next, experience sheer panic as we see the massive wave of a tsunami approaching us. Technology was bit of a theme last night too because we all struggle a bit with that especially when it’s new to us. Due to this, one person who was in the meeting was heard but try as we might, actually could not be seen. The absence of a visual image was disconcerting because you didn’t know if they were there or not, but in fact their presence was felt and they were included just as keenly anyway to be there with us. A lack of internet signal often made our tiled images freeze of disappear randomly too and in one instance there was even a duplicate image of one individual producing a still and smiling ’twin’. And somehow none of these things mattered or detracted from the mindful sharing and listening and they even seemed to mirror the wavering up and down of our moods from moment to moment. Even when we are together with others it’s possible to feel completely alone and as at least one of us was experiencing, actually being isolated and alone is extremely tough. "How can I manage this for more that a couple of weeks, let alone…. (it’s a phrase we use!)…. cope with this for a long time ~ maybe indefinitely?” And we do and we are, day by day. Somehow, there is ~ for me anyway ~ a settling and a calming in this sharing. We know we’re all in this together and at the same time completely alone.  There is a broadening of the outlook from SELF to other.... I'm not just looking at and talking to myself on the screen of Life. See you next week!

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