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Acting within the confines of the possible

Feeling sad at all the news, the havoc caused by the virus, I turn my eyes to the sunlight streaming in the window, stopping for a moment to enjoy its peaceful act of care for plants and people.

Photo by Claire OBrien

The destruction in Italy, the ten pages of obituaries in the Bergamo paper, creates a fear of what may become of my own locale, my family, friends and community seeming so fragile against the violence of the contagion.


A friend calls. I’m self-isolating and he asks, ‘do you need me to get you some groceries?’ The question, so kind and thoughtful, returns me to that sense of belonging to a human family whose strength is the bonds of union between us.


I sit in darkness, a single candle my source of light. Deep meditation gives me calm amidst all the upheaval of these days. I think on all the people in my life and my heart wishes each well: rivals, friends, neighbours, colleagues, siblings, parents and loved ones. 

Candle with photos of family behind

My days are slowing down, and I am acting within the confines of the possible. My feet still long for running in the mud, rain on my face, wind at my back. For now, it’s physio exercises and sitting in the sun, getting my Vitamin D. I am being creative as best I can in these unsettled times.


I see my friends by video calls and the connection gives me great joy. Within these walls I am going solo in a communal way, reaching out, reaching in, reaching peace.


I begin to sleep but remember my friend in distress. Having this virus is one thing, a physical illness, but the mental coping is a new experience for all of us. We must lean on each other, checking in to see how each is going. 


Music has a primal urgency now—as though it is heard anew by our ears. We play audience to orchestras in empty concert halls, our phones streaming the beauty to our living rooms. The enforced slowdown gets in the way of our regular rhythm, syncopating the beat of routine.

A Melbourne sunset photo I took earlier this year

The strangest thing has happened: even as the horizon seems ever darker, I take heart that the sun will rise in the East day by day, its light an invitation to hope.

Published inCOVID19prosespirituality

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