Tomorrow marks 40 days since we began our quarantine at Mytree. This is an auspicious number in many traditions: in numerous cultures, it is the amount of time that a woman rests and recovers after giving birth; in Islam, mourners grieve the deceased for 40 days, Christianity and Judaism share multiple significant references to 40 days (and years), and it is also the length of time that ships "suspected of carrying a disease" were kept offshore in 17th century Venice. This practice of quarantine derives its name from "quaranta giorni" which means "40 days" in Italian.
In all of these examples, 40 days represents a complete cycle, the time required to recover in order to return to the world. And though our quarantine continues here in Ticino, there is a palpable shift with more cars and bikes on the roads, more people on the trails, and the government's recent announcement of a plan to gradually reopen businesses and schools. A few weeks ago, the thought of being at home indefinitely provoked a mix of feelings including a fair dose anxiety and desperation. Now, with the possibility of recommencing regular life routines in a couple of weeks, I'm feeling anxious about letting go of life in the slow lane and returning to busy-ness as usual.
I've been listening to Glennon Doyle's newest book, Untamed, and that in it, she talks about having an "Up Self," or who she is when she's feeling happy, connected, and content, and a "Down Self," who she is when she's feeling anxious, depressed, and disconnected. Glennon shared that she writes notes from her Up Self to her Down Self so that, when in the throes of depression, she can remember what is important to her, that she loves her life and her family, that she is more than the depression she is experiencing now. Then, she writes from her Down Self to her Up Self telling how she feels so she can get the help that she needs.
Glennon's notes inspired me to offer the idea to our Women's Circle of writing notes to our Post-Quarantine selves. In our last gathering via Zoom, we took a few minutes to jot down and then share some notes about the lessons, insights, experiences, habits, inspirations, and relationships we want to remember and carry with us into life after quarantine. I want to extend the invitation to you to join in writing a note to your post-quarantine self. You are welcome to proceed as you please, but in case you need some ideas, you can start here with one or more of these inquiries:
How have you felt during this time? What have you learned about yourself? How have you been surprised, challenged, inspired, changed? What are the gems of wisdom, inspiration, and insight you want to carry with you? What ways of being, doing, and thinking do you want to leave behind and what do you want to bring with you?
I've continued to work on my note and it's becoming my way of processing this experience; of preparing myself for the return. One thing that has come through is my own desire to transition with intention and integrity. To that end, I'm dedicating next Sunday, April 26 to offering us all a Digital Retreat Day. Whether you are in the middle of your quaranta giorni or about to transition back into the “real” world; whether this time at home has felt like being on holiday or being in hell, setting aside some time to nourish yourself and connect with others through will enable us to emerge from our cocoons resilient, radiant, and ready to apply the lessons of our individual recoveries to our collective healing and transformation.