be present

A Five Senses Check-In (Omicron Edition)

Hello there.

A little while back I started doing these senses check-ins (I’ve done two so far, this one and this one) and I thought it might be time for another one.

This one will be a little bit different than the rest, as I wasn’t outside, amongst the sights and smells of nature, but rather stuck in my room, sick (like seemingly everyone else) with the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

This was my first and (hopefully) only run-in with Covid, which I know makes me very lucky. My family managed to steer clear of it for a while, but Omicron seems to be leaving no stone left unturned. In fact, I was one of the last men standing at my job (and the last woman standing, if you will) as our staff of 13 was picked off one by one, leaving I believe only one person without a positive diagnosis.

Thus, there I was. In my room. Waiting for it to be over.

I wrote this post on Thursday, and have since finally started to feel better, but I like that this is a little glimpse into what I was doing and feeling. I really tried to keep my mind busy since my body couldn’t do much of anything, and this made me feel productive.


Five things I can see

1) The television, slowly flipping through different Google chrome screensavers

2) The very top leaves of my ZZ plant (because it sits on the floor) which continues to thrive and grow.

3) The light coming through the lace curtains that hang in front of my bedroom window.

4) The wrinkles in my comforter, undoubtedly from my continuous fidgeting and occasional napping.

5) My feet, in adidas socks, stretched out in front of me—out from under a blanket for the first time in a while.

.

Four things I can hear

1) Cars driving by outside. I’ve heard the occasional police car and ambulance, a sporadic honk from impatient drivers, and the start and (sometimes not quite) stops of cars at the stop signs surrounding my apartment building.

2) My sister, moving around in the kitchen and living room. I can hear her cleaning and organizing, starting our (very loud) dishwasher, and planning out the rest of her day.

3) A conversation taking place outside, a woman calling to her neighbor about her dog and the other woman talking to the dog in a high pitched, loving voice.

4) Creaks in the ceiling from the upstairs neighbor moving around, and miscellaneous doors in the building opening and shutting.

.

Three things I can feel

1) The effects of Covid. For me, it is massive fatigue and chest tightness (as of now). I’ve had the occasional fever, but nothing too high, and there is some slight congestion in my head that is making my ears click.

2) The pillow behind my back. My favorite spot to sit in the house is a chair in the living room that reclines. More often than not, when people come over I’m sitting in that chair, eating or writing, or working on a cross stitch. But since I’m sick, I’m spending most of my time in my room, sitting on my bed with a pillow propped up behind my back when I feel like I can sit up. It’s amazing how much sitting up can make you feel like a human when you’ve spent a few hours laying down.

3) The Kate Spade blanket beside me. It was a birthday gift, and it has been the coziest companion. Before I got sick, it was my go-to napping blanket, but for the past couple days it’s become more or less an additional appendage. (Thanks Kristine!)

.

Two things I can smell

1) To be honest, I can’t smell anything, and that’s not because I’ve lost taste and smell (thank goodness) but because I’ve been sitting in this room for so long, that any discernable smells (which now that I say that, I honestly hope there aren’t any), have long gone unnoticed. I did just take a deep inhale through my nose however, and should nasal congestion join this party in the coming days, I’m trying to remember what that’s like.  (Thankfully, it never did!)

2) All this talk about not being able to smell anything made me sad, so I lit a candle given to me by my sister for Christmas, and now the room smells good.

.

One thing I can taste

1) Cold Water. I have been trying to diligently drink as much as possible, as I know it’s important to stay hydrated when you’re sick. And I just love cold water.


Sending well wishes from my (currently four walled) corner of the world.

Stay hydrated, stay healthy—or if you’re like me, get better!

This Thanksgiving, Right Now

At Thanksgiving time, it’s common practice to take note of what you’re thankful for. It helps pull you into the present moment, as we often spend too much time looking ahead—looking for what’s next.

Thanksgiving says, look at everything you have right now and worry about the future later. Which is good. But lately I’ve been worrying about the future in a different way.

Growing up, the future has always promised more. More freedom, more understanding, more confidence, more love, more friends, more money, more adventure, etc. Everything that hasn’t happened yet can only happen in the future, so it seems the future is the place you always want to be.

I know that I’ve reached for (and relied upon) the future, hoping it has answers and solutions that I’ve long awaited. Hoping it holds happy endings to the stories I’m writing in my life. But I also worry (and know) that it will hold things I’m not ready for. Things I’ll want to trade everything to be back on this side of.

Sometimes when I think about the future, I think of everything I will have to give up to get there. And while I look forward to the people, places and things that await me in the years to come, I hope they know (and I remember) what I’m sacrificing to reach them. I’m not just giving up the hard parts and the unanswered questions. I’m giving up all the little, magical things that exist in my day to day that I might not even notice—things I won’t miss until their gone; I’m giving up all of the unique peace that exists in between the current chaos I want to move past; and I’m giving up the naivety that exists in this world before the hard parts that lie ahead.

I’ve been through hard parts in my life. I’ve gone through good seasons and bad ones. And when I look back on the times before the bad seasons, I long for those last few moments of innocence and ignorance. But then I remember all of the good things I didn’t know, all of the magic I was yet to discover, and I feel an appreciation for those hard times and where they have brought me.

The same might be true of what is to come. And I look forward to all of the life I will get the chance to live. But for today, I’m trying to be thankful for what I have right now. The people that are around me, the place I live, the way I feel, what I’m hoping for and working towards, what the world looks like, and the things that make me smile, laugh and clap my hands. Everything that defines this Thanksgiving, this year.

If I’m lucky, I will have many Thanksgivings to come. But this is the one and only time I will have this Thanksgiving, the one and only time I will have today, and I want to embrace and exist in it, before it becomes a memory.

So future, while I’m excited to see you, I can wait. For now, I’m good right here.

There are a lot of good things right here.

A Five Senses Check-In

Back in October I wrote this post—inspired by The Next Right Thing podcast—that was all about connecting to your senses in order to find some peace amongst the fear of the future and chaos of the present.  

Right now, I have a lot of moving pieces in my life, a lot of things that I don’t feel like I have control over and that are changing. As a result, I have been pouring myself into projects, exercise, and goal setting in order to combat the corresponding anxiety. Yesterday, after getting home from work a little earlier than usual, and with the sun out and the weather an incredible 75 degrees outside, I found myself debating over how I could be productive. Should I go for a run, a walk, a hike, do yoga, do work, write, clean, read, pray? What could I do to make myself feel good, or better, or at the very least, calm.

After a while, I decided to do a little yoga, even though I spent the first few minutes frustrated and unwilling to participate. I pretended to relax until I actually relaxed. Then, I sat down on my bed and tried to map out my plan for the rest of my evening—instantly going back to that place of demanded productivity.  My mind was racing and I felt like I was wasting time. But then, I felt the breeze come through my bedroom window. And then I noticed that the sun had turned golden with the evening and there were birds chirping outside. And then I thought back to that post, and I thought it was a fitting time to shift my focus back to the present—“to what is rather than what we are afraid could be.”

Here’s what I wrote down:

Five things I can see

  1. The golden hour sunlight shining through the window
  2. The flickering shadows casted on my bed, my floor and my wall from my blinds
  3. A branch of the palm tree in my backyard swaying in the breeze
  4. The collage on my wall that I made to inspire me whenever I look at it
  5. My newly painted pink toenails

Four things I can hear

  1. The bells of the church down the road that mark the start of every hour
  2. Birds chirping—a reminder that spring is so close!
  3. Neighbors chatting and laughing
  4. A UPS truck driving in the distance

–Three things I can feel

  1. The evening breeze that is cool but no longer cold
  2. The soft comforter that sits on top of my bed
  3. Hunger. The excited kind of hunger you feel when you know what you’re making for dinner and you can’t wait to have it. Looking at you Naan pizza.  

–Two things I can smell

  1. The laundry detergent I used to clean the cozy sweatshirt I’m wearing
  2. Fresh air from my open window

–One thing you can taste

  1. Cold water

There are a lot of things that we can’t control, but there are also a lot of moments that we can choose not to let control us. As it turned out, there were plenty of good things to find on what tried to become a very stressful afternoon. And while I can’t guarantee that anxiety won’t sneak its way back into my shoulders, as I sat there, allowing myself to feel the breeze, to listen to the family next door joke and laugh, and to watch the sun turn gold, I knew everything was going to be okay, and that I could take a deep breath and relax.