lockdown ledger

One of the online groups I belong to, encourages its members to do a gratitude list every day. And most of us do. Once a day, morning or night, 1 line or 30 lines. Whatever works for you.. it focuses your mind on the positives…

I do mine at night, reflecting on the day that’s been.. and not surprisingly, mine are not 1 line.. lol I really admire those who are succinct, but.. I am not..

My morning walk today, had me pondering about the situation we find ourselves in at the moment and how much there is on the debit side of life’s ledger at the moment.. but that’s not how I roll… so I mainly thought about the positives I’ve found lurking around in the last few weeks….

#Gratitude

I find myself in lockdown in my family home of over 20 years, with 2 of my 3 kids, and 1 of my bonus boys… not  a bad place to be quarantined. This old home has weathered us through many storms, and she feels a very secure place to be now. There are ghosts of happy times and new lives here, and her familiar nooks and crannies are certainly comforting… She’s a generous old girl too, which means we’re lucky enough to be able to find our own space if we need to.

Knowing that my whanau and friends are all safe in their respective bubbles, is also reassuring. Especially those who are at most risk from the virus. Am especially pleased that my Mum, moved home almost 2 years ago, and is now very settled in her “Nest”, with 2 generations of her extended whanau, and under the very loving care of my sister. Mum is well known to be pretty staunch in life, but she has accepted this new smaller life, with much grace and gratitude. I am so proud of all the inhabitants of that bubble..

Having front line staff in my whanau and amongst my friends , while scary, also makes me proud. I am so in awe of their courage and determination to do their bit to keep the rest of us safe… And the people that support them, they are just as vital, just as brave..

The kindness of strangers. I think this has been my nightly gratitude for over 3 weeks now. The ongoing health of my whanau, especially those more vulnerable, lies in the hands of complete strangers. People who are still working to get us food and essential services. And everyone who is just staying at home, to reduce its spread. You guys all rock!

That we live in the age of the Internet. This is such a biggie for me. It has made the walls of my quarantine transparent. It has enabled me to stay closely connected with whanau and friends and to find solace in art, music, poetry… And the links I have more made in recent times have been strengthened, as we share common ground…. It gives me an insight into how the world is really doing.. That I can face to face chat with my technophobic Mum, who has seen the value in seeing the faces she loves. That I can face time old friends and new – very Jetsons, for this girl born in the 60s Lol.. That Zoom is a word that brings groups of people together, to work or to just hang out. That my friends in recovery can still attend their life saving meetings and continue to get the support they need.

New Zealand, this land, that I adore. Its nature, its people and its leadership. My daily walks on the beach that were for my health, have become the thing that grounds me. Breathing the sea air, being under those beautiful skies, hearing the sounds of the sea. And the people, way fewer than before; and all, without exception observing the rules of lockdown, are all friendlier. We smile, wave, yell “Good Morning”, as we give way, take the other path, wait to one side to let the other person past.

The people who are staying home. Yes, there are a few dick heads, but sadly there will always be dick heads.. there just haven’t been as many as expected. And our Police. Choosing to educate, rather than go in heavy handedly. This is the side of our police I expect to see. And the officers, that go the extra mile, and check that our elderly are being catered for…

The stories I hear, of neighbours checking in on people living alone. That the civil defence are getting in groceries for our most vulnerable. The bonus boys of mine who have dropped off emergency supplies of bread and milk (and Hot X Buns) while I tried to negotiate the maze that is online shopping…. This, this is the NZ that I love.

The sounds of my neighbourhood have changed. I live near an airport, my skies normally full of planes and could often hear far away cars… but now I hear kids and their parents playing; tuis and fantails (NZ native birds) have come back into my garden.. there is a stillness that was unexpected..

Our country’s leadership. Its been strong, determined and swift. I know some keyboard warriors have said too fast/too slow; too hard/too soft; too much/too little… which tells me that they probably have it just about right. And seeing it lauded around the world, backs that up for me. But the underlying message has not been one of fear – but of Kindness. Be kind to your family. Be kind to your friends. Be kind to strangers. Just be kind.  That they are valuing the elderly, by putting them in quarantine early; the message to everyone – stay home, to keep the elderly and vulnerable safe. And taking care of our young – who must be as scared and as confused as all of us. Making light-hearted but important gestures, acknowledging that their needs need to be met to. Devising and rolling out an education plan for them to stay at home for as long as is necessary… That our leader makes herself available to answer online questions from the public. And that all questions and concerns are being collated and answered by her team. Makes us feel part of the process…

And I love that 2 of the experts that have emerged are a very accessible, quietly spoken, calm man who appears every night for the briefing. His manner is measured. His message is clear. And that the micro bugs expert is a young, smart, also accessible woman, who happens to have pink hair! Again, this is the NZ that I love.

I am grateful that the eclectic bag of skills I honed as a “Cruise Director”, or events arranger in my old life, have become useful now. I can’t arrange parties or dinners, but I know that people need amusements, distractions and a way to stay connected…. So, for all the music challenges; Meme sharings; light-hearted banter; photo challenges; I know people are staying in the moment. Not dwelling on what might be.  For one moment in time they are just laughing.. #jobdone..

That my muse, who has been sketchy of late, apparently likes Lockdown as much as she likes travel… maybe it is the time I have to think that she finds useful… Lol.. Am very pleased when she appears on the beach, walking next to me, flicking me ideas…

I love that our language is softening… most messages I receive end with Take Care or Stay Safe.. from all corners of the world (even emails).. Yes, there is still anger and fear.. but there is also love and support and generosity.. we are taking the time to say the things that we mean..

And time…. I have been so busy for so long, that this enforced period of just staying at home has given me the treasure of time… time to think, sort out my priorities; plan or not plan for the future. Time to just be still… we are all so busy now, that time and space are long lost riches. I hear from a lot of people that while time was hanging heavy, now they are just chilling and breathing…

But mostly I  am eternally grateful for everyone who takes the time to flick me a message. From the single “Breathe” I received, as soon as the level 4 lockdown was announced to every message I’ve received since; I am ok; thanks for checking in. I have talked to more people in the last 2 weeks than I have in ages… and still making new connections and reviving old ones…

So while I sit through the rest of the lockdown, and later restrictive times; I will continue to write my gratitude list every night. Still send positive thoughts out into the ether and continue to support anyone who crosses my path…

Thank you for taking the time to read; Take care, Stay safe…

Kia Kaha Kia MāiaKia Manawanui

Be strong Be brave Be Steadfast

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