Peer Leader Letters #8

More notes on our recent lockdown 2021…

Possible antidotes to the restrictions on travel, mixing with others, and the dominance of repeating societal narratives mentioned before include the following:

• Walking, especially in nature, where the sense of a quiet ‘industry’ constantly in process I find comforting- stark and minimized in winter but still present

• Playing games of all sorts- the game ‘platform’ can still provide the sense of participating with others in a shared activity, even if virtual

• Shared projects of all kinds

• Regular phone calls to family, friends- establishing a routine for calling benefits both the caller and receiver

• Reading

• Perhaps aimless screen time- especially if it spurs curiosity in a subject- the curiosity itself being the antidote- otherwise limited screen time for entertainment since most of the content is escapist oriented, and primarily observational towards behaviourisms rather than bearing witness to its subject

I have not mentioned meditation yet- in the sense of entering ‘no thought’- mainly because I prefer quiet time which allows for random thought and ‘drift’ among all narratives, internal and external. Meditation, for me, is one end of a continuum whose other end is the constant, ever-changing frenetic activity of being alive- or the busyness of the worlds we make and participate in.

Why are they on the same continuum? Because below the surface of daily life, there is a silence out of which the ‘directing’ or purposefulness of all activity arises. Just as there is an extraordinary, never ending imminence in motion in the apparent silence/no thought of meditation.

To meditate during the pandemic is to make one homesick for the activities we are restricted from pursuing.

A last area to explore for solace in a pandemic is solitude, and its joys.

Solitude is often defined superficially as living apart from others, but its deeper meaning is essentially in not living apart from oneself. Solitude offers us the opportunity to be as fully present to ourselves as we are capable at different times of our life.

Community, one of our primary concerns in our Peer Leadership work at Trinity, actually works the same way. Practicing community superficially means living face to face with others, but its deeper meaning is found in not living apart from the awareness that we are connected to each other. Even if we are alone we are aware of the reality of relationship, and its importance in our wellbeing.

Our self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-concept are all works in progress our entire lives, though often stuck in certain ideas and expression from particular experiences. In solitude we can attempt to uncover the self-stories that inform their content.

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