Well, it had to happen at some point a positive Covid test, despite PPE, inoculations, boosters, social distancing, mask wearing and trying to keep healthy.
Ten days of isolation whilst not feeling 100% it’s been an interesting experience partly because I don’t think I’ve ever been ill for that long and the novel experience of having to manage my activity levels.
Of course not being able to go anywhere helps.
Friends; neighbours and clients have all been so kind offering food deliveries; mercifully fridge was reasonably well stocked and I didn’t feel like eating. Having no sense of taste and smell is novel. You really cannot taste/smell a thing although it’s subtle. I can taste the sweetness of hot chocolate; warmth in ginger; bitterness in coffee and the salt of marmite, but not the technicolour wonder that is taste. It’s like being stuck in a black and white movie. I have taken to adding flavouring to things I cook even though I cannot taste them; texture has become really important I do hope normal service will be resumed soon.
After 2-3 days you start to settle and slow down; life develops a different rhythm and you become more aware of the nuances. You have time to reflect and really notice what you feel and what you really want; without that siren song of the world telling you what you ‘should’ be wanting.
Many religious traditions embrace retreat; times when you go and contemplate yourself and your life; often used to see if you had a calling. But it is also useful to take yourself out of your usual structure and see how you feel. Is there a ‘still small voice’ inside that is desperately trying to gain your attention, which is drowned about by the hurley burley of life.
What have I learned?
- Less is more, focus on one thing deeply rather than a usual scattergun approach.
- Different things catch your attention, sit with them a bit before acting on them. Especially when it comes to shopping!
- Recognise what is important and nurture them; social relationships, things you like to do; talking to people rather than texting.
- My reading habits have dwindled a lot over the last year so I have decided to 1. Not watch the TV after 9pm, record if necessary and read instead. 2. Not watch TV out of habit.
Having watched the Earthshot programmes; really try to find ways of minimising waste and maximising resources. Bring on the water butts and the bee friendly plants in the garden! Buy the right quantity of food, less waste. On that front you can only do what you can but every little helps.
I wouldn’t have chosen this but I think I may well retreat annually on my terms for a bit of quiet contemplation and re-setting the balance.
It has a lot going for it, Why not give it a try?