by Elva Patterson Rutters RSSW
Strange words to lump together, yet full of relative connotations. With Covid, the order has been to “stay at home”; hence isolate. When we isolate, we step away from the masses, be it large or few in numbers. It means to withdraw within one’s own limited boundaries. The image of a hermit or a recluse in the hills initially comes to mind. It does not have to be that extreme to isolate. Isolation can happen within your own home, and needs to be a time of being apart. On a personal note, when the “stay at home” order commenced, I thought this was not too bad. I had TV, computer, and phone. Then the hydro went out! I quickly re evaluated and settled down with a book until I broke my glasses. Thanks to crazy glue I continue on…
But to isolate is simply to gain control by stepping aside. Control over virus, infectious diseases, drama, or even circumstances in our lives. It incorporates solitude to reflect on our own beings. Who are we? What do we believe in? Where do we realistically want to be in life? Who do we want to be with? What is your mantra?
Solitude infers quietness, stillness, and silent reverie. Looking at a winter wonderland outside your window speaks of solitude. The perfection of snow balanced on the tree branches, the smooth, flawless ground surface, and the sun glistening on the ice particles: it resonates with peace. Where do you go to enjoy your solitude? It doesn’t mean travelling somewhere, although it can (minus covid), but the recesses of your mind is your oasis. Enter with few expectations and enjoy the quietness to reflect.
It is sad and concerning to think mankind has evolved to the state of being shopaholics, consumed with constant activity, engaged in on going drama and external interactions. Children are immersed in this busyness, with over stimulation from numerous (electronics especially) toys, and activities.
That hive of activity continues throughout our lives, unless we put a halt to it. That entails a conscientious decision to stop and smell the roses. Perhaps, instead of turning on the TV as soon as our eyes are open, meditate, pray, or just be reflective, counting your blessings. First blessing being you woke up, woke up in a bed, a bed that is warm and comfortable, and on you go with the list. Indoor toilets sure beat the outhouse!
To contemplate that society as a whole is no longer able to distinguish between essential and non essential, demonstrates an evolution of priorities, and is concerning. Not a positive development for sure. How did society reach that inability to comprehend and differentiate? As much as the argument is “essential” varies from person to person, which is true, the baseline is that our “needs” versus “wants” are not being recognized. The basic grasp of “necessity” has been lost!
One of the first essential stress busters is to start that differentiation. Teach your child to use the terms “needs” versus “wants” from an early age. Other words like “should” and “could” are stressors as well. Re invent the wheel by saying: “I would like to”, or “If I can”. You will note a tremendous weight lifted off your shoulders. It doesn’t evolve overnight, so keep practicing.
I encourage you to take this time of reflection and isolation to examine your internal messages, to determine if they are practical and worthwhile to you. Keep in mind: you may be isolated, but not in a vacuum. Your choices do affect other people. The art of looking for loopholes has created a world of critics and nay sayers. Instead of being just critical, come up with solutions. Are you thinking only of yourself? or others?
You are worth the effort!