Truth be told, I’m in a bubble of manufactured perfection; a moment in stasis in my life. Even writing that sentence caused my fingers to quiver a bit over the keyboard, hesitant to tempt the gods, or whoever, to intervene, to pop the bubble, to upend the perfect little craft upon which I contentedly and contemplatively bob. This morning, Susan reported a dream that she executed a surprise visit from Cape Town, realizing when she got there, that I was less than pleased to have her pop in. For a moment we can leave aside the unreality of such a scenario due to a shocking paucity of vaccines in South Africa and the curfew from 9PM and 5AM, the closure of international travel, etc.. While I relish the real excitement that any future possible visitation provides, I recognized that I’ve found myself thinking of late I have everything the way I want it in my little home. The other part of Susan’s dream was the part where she managed to spill something in my “new” apartment. We laughed a lot about that part. What is true is funny, right?
Gone from that scenario is the puppy/dog/rescue/companion, canine. For now, I content myself with listening (through the inadequately soundproofed flooring) to the small horse that lives above me, galumphing from room to room. I deleted the dog rescue instagram feed from my phone, which had been sending me at least four dejected but loving pit bull pictures daily. Not ready yet.
Stasis – not the medical definition referring to slowing of blood flow or reduced motility of the intestines. I’m talking about what we theatre folks know happens at the start of the play, the moment when the world of the play reveals itself, prior to the introduction of conflict, climax and ultimately resolution. Defined as a period of inactivity or equilibrium, is it any wonder that having located stasis, I would be in a hurry to leave it? Nope, no surprises there.
Think about that for a moment. Whereas I had thought that I was re-gessoing my canvas for the next great work in my little studio of life, I’ve discovered that looking at the clean blank expanse is…well, quite satisfying enough for the time being, thank you.
As in any drama worth the price of admission, we don’t stay in stasis for long. This became abundantly clear in the past three days, as the Los Angeles County reissued the order to mask up, indoors for everyone, regardless of your vaccination status. Gone in an instant was the heady feeling of liberation, the joyous embraces with friends unseen for eighteen months. With that news, I immediately dove into the trough of despondency, before pulling myself up short. In the PQ practice, one of the reps is “Make Misery Optional!” or “Remove the Suffering.” The exercise encourages you to “choose an activity that you are dreading doing, and to just do it with full presence and commitment rather than resistance and reluctance.” By remaining present rather than succumbing to the saboteurs which tell you how much you are suffering, you can allow yourself to find things within the task that you can enjoy. For example, a feeling of accomplishment, or a pride in the array of beautiful masks you have to wear going forward, the giddy anticipation of the positive impact this order will have on the infection rate in Los Angeles, and the resulting triumphant return to no masks in due time. Little is gained from fuming on the reasons for our societal slip back into the masked order, or casting blame. When I think about the impact of this shift in my thinking, I realize how much time I’ve been wasting by resisting change, or spinning out about bad news. In other words, rather than fighting our inevitable inability to stay in a state of steady equilibrium, going with the flow and responding evenly is needed.
For the moment, I encourage you to be aware of those areas of your life where you have achieved equilibrium and to enjoy it. Try not rush through the park of equilibrium to get home to do the dishes. Let them soak in the scullery while you take a moment to push your bare toes through the grass, or lie on your belly to watch the bee pollinate the clover flower. Fully enjoy gratitude for that moment and for what you have. There will be plenty of time ahead to respond as stasis slips away. Worrying about what’s going to happen next means less time spent enjoying what you have now.