Saturday, August 01, 2020

Meditation and Looking Back

It's important to take a few moments every day to be calm and let your mind clear of a lot of the external things. Just forget the 'to do' list and the next appointment. And to let yourself understand that this moment is like no other, but that it, too, will recede into insignificance. I've found a couple of ways to do this. Working crosswords and other puzzles takes me into the mind of another person (the constructor) and lets the mind go over random things like celebrity names, words, and geography. Or for some of the puzzles (like Ken-Ken and Two Not Touch) logic.

Of late, I've 'meditated' a bit between computer tasks by watching the 'screen saver' flash up pictures from the vast collection on my current machine. (80K and counting, many of which should be deleted) I allow myself to pause in my efforts while these go by until the screen goes black or (more often) a picture comes up with a person in it who is no longer alive. (Not a dog. Too easy.) This is a quick take on mortality and the futility of this life! I attempt to quickly identify the time and place of the photos. Sometimes I can't really do it. But many times I can with uncanny accuracy. I also wonder about the random algorithm that always brings up the same first picture put then goes on a random walk. Some pictures seem to come up often, others take me completely by surprise.

I've also recently been going through some old daily journal entries on my old blog that I maintained myself (as opposed to using Blogger to do it). I started rereading from 2002 entries (when I retired). My worries and concerns then seem so trivial and yet they are really comparable to today's troubles. My daily routines seem familiar yet different. I lived in a house, not a high rise. My dad and my husband's parents were alive. I had a dog.

This moment of a global pandemic is instructive. One suddenly begins to think about what one can and cannot control. I can try to keep from getting the virus or creating vectors that risk others. (Like having people deliver things to our building which is now a petri dish of the pandemic as far as I can tell.)

The above was written just when the pandemic was declared. Now I'm 270 days into a sort of isolation in our apartment. I'm still 'meditating' with puzzles. The NY Times puzzles are my pleasure first thing in the morning. That (and coffee) get me out of bed around seven. I am still meditating occasionally by looking at the random pictures of my screen saver. (Only now there are two computers flashing pictures because during lockdown I have bought and configured a new one.)

I say it's a 'sort of isolation' because we do leave the apartment (carefully, with masks on and care in what we touch). We go a couple of times a week to the lobby to get mail and maybe packages. Almost every day we drive somewhere and get a curbside pickup at a grocery store or restaurant or take a walk. Or both. We are never more than about10 miles from home. Except for our building we don't go inside enclosed spaces (except my one trip to Costco during the Elderly House). We don't ride the elevator with others.

Memories seem to become more and more important. Especially trips. And dining out. And family gatherings. Well, everything. We can't make many new memories so there you go.

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