Do you have the patience to wait till your mud settles and the water is clear?
Can you remain unmoving till the right action arises by itself?

The Tao Te Ching, Chapter 15 – trans. Stephen Mitchell

The governor of California has asked all people over the age of 65 to remain at home for the next month, at least. Whee! I have often longed to sink deeply into my “hermit” persona, but have struggled against long-ingrained habits that keep me pulled out and stirred up. Now I am being ordered, commanded, to be that which I truly am deep inside. Nancy will make the occasional trip out for supplies and will take great care – gloves, soap, and whatever disinfectants might someday reappear on the shelves.

Cabin-BillThe isolation will be harder for many. I am on the far end of the “hermit/extrovert” continuum, but I would cautiously suggest that a bit of the “hermit” might be good for everyone. You might consider using some of this unexpected, admittedly uncomfortable time to explore the introvert shadow side of your life. Physical isolation is only one part of the process. The chaos enters through all sorts of cracks, some of which you might consider closing. Otherwise, just as the mud barely begins to settle, the media stick comes along and gives it a good strong stir and you have to start all over.

These are the cracks I’m caulking up a bit:

1. Heavily censored “news” – Nancy is checking my email each day and passing on to me only personal correspondence and the occasional bill (which I send right back to her quickly!) Nancy has better “media control” than I have, and has agreed to inform me only of news which requires action on my part – like:  they’re coming to take me away…

2. I do not go into town. (Well, the governor commanded…what can I do?)

3. I go “on-line” only to post my writing or do research. (The “research” aspect is fraught with peril and can be a slippery slope. I research only non-current information and take an on-line course in Quantum Living. Nancy helps keep me honest here.)

I have seldom, perhaps to be honest, never, remained quiet long enough for the mud to truly settle. How can I possibly know what a clear view of the magnificent Universe that I believe awaits actually looks like? It sounds insane, but a part of me thinks it would be good if this crisis lasted long enough for us to cease “holding on” and waiting for things to go back to normal, so that we might discover a new “normal” that is less frantic, less distracting, less materialistic, and far more satisfying.

I wonder how we might go about reordering our lives in ways that might actually be deeply beneficial? Smaller communities? Less mass entertainment and more home-grown fun? Less travel and strain on the environment? A new understanding of work and family? A new sense of what’s really important in life?

When the virus crisis passes, where will we be? Who will we be? What will have changed? It will be important to take the time to let the mud settle and to think about these things.

In the meantime, relax, and enjoy this wonderful song by John Vidakovich, our friend and relative once-removed.

“We are living in self-quarantine”

3 thoughts on “Hermit

  1. I’m on the furthest end of the introvert scale and deeply introspective. The irony of isolation being available and natural to me to deal with is offset by operating as a highly sensitive person who is unable to stop the constant flow of energies from those around me from interfering with harmony. The biggest learning curve for me of late has been the realisation that other people’s energy is not muddying my waters. I am. I hope that by watching these moments I might catch the right action to take (or not take). I’m very much in agreement that this turmoil has the potential for great grassroots change of more peaceful and calm connectivity. Take good care!


  2. Good post on taking advantage of a difficult situation.

    That being said, the directive for self-isolation does not mean we have to huddle in our homes and not go outside. Hiking, biking, walking the dog, going to the grocery store are all excepted. We seniors need our exercise and fresh air as much as anyone else, and we can, and will, continue this healthy practice. Nor is there any consummate risk from being outside the house.

    An important factor in our equanimity is maintaining our our healthy, contemplative lives as much as possible.


    1. Couldn’t agree more, Michael. I’m fortunate to live amidst hundreds of miles of hiking trails. I suppose there’s a danger of letting the isolation turn us into couch potatoes with mounds of DVDs around us. Again, fortunate not to have a tv screen.


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