Doing what’s in front of me.

April 5, 2020 § 8 Comments

In different times, the activities I am about to describe might be called Zen. In these times these tasks are my way of dealing with being stunned, dazed, and in free fall. What do I do?

The thing that is right in front of me.

It is usually a physical thing, something done primarily with my hands. I knead bread, sew on a button, play guitar, hang the laundry, wash the dish that is in the sink.

As I do each thing I concentrate, doing the job meticulously and well, as if it is the only thing needed from me.

Maybe one thing is all I can handle given the enormity of what we are going through.

Maybe I need the sense that I still control something.

And maybe, as most of the tasks create order, I do them because I need to believe that I can impose order on the whirlwind.

With this process I fool, prop up, and encourage myself.

Each morning I create a list; not an overwhelming list, but not one that is too easy to be taken seriously, or one that is too scary. In this time of the pandemic the list could be: breathe in, breathe out, stay in the house, breathe in, breathe out…   Instead I concentrate on things I can accomplish, none too easy or too hard (this sounds like the story of the Three Bears, right?).

The goals are concrete and limited so I can achieve and cross them off in a day.

Perhaps my creative right brain is placating my logical left. My right brain instinctively knows my logical left would freak out if it realized it is totally adrift and lacking control, so my right brain is cheering it on, “Look at you, getting the laundry folded so neat and orderly, you go!”

Maybe my logical left is reassuring my scattery right, “Don’t worry, I got this. You know I always do.”

Or maybe they are two wounded soldiers leaning against each other as they limp through a mine field toward safety as far away as the horizon.

Whatever is going on, each time I cross something off my list I feel a disproportionate sense of joy—way to go, me!

Then I shift my gaze to the next task on my list.

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§ 8 Responses to Doing what’s in front of me.

  • cronkitesue says:

    Good column. Good outlook. We can go forward, one step at a time. One day at a time. And pray our world remains intact. Blessings on you and yours, Adrian. You are an inspiration to me. Give Ray a hug. Hope the rest of your family stays safe.


    • I suspect the world we left just weeks ago will not come back, that we will be changed by this time of separation, but I doubt that all of it will be bad. Perhaps we will have a truer sense of what matters and we will appreciate what we have always had the luxury of taking for granted–each other. Take care Sue!


  • craig reeder says:

    i love the image of the two wounded soldiers. that’s exactly what it feels like heading thru this virus pandemic with a very uncertain path forward


  • lcjameson says:

    That is exactly what I’m doing. I have a list of 16 things for today — sounds like too much, but each is about a five-minute task. I just keep going from one to the next. Baby steps. It is the only way I can keep myself from folding up into a fetal position and pulling the covers over my head.Thank you, as always.


  • Paul of Flowerland Mountains on Shangrila Farm says:

    Speaking of right and left brain: I have much more confidence and faith in Ms Adrian’s corpus callosum (that which connects you together), and the one foot distance between heart and brain, than the parts: It is the connections that matter most; the parts are all just playing their part as parts of the connections! (hope I got that at least part way “right”, haha).


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