A colleague (and now a little bit of a friend) often uses the word “grounding” when describing his life experiences. Even though we are psychologists and using this mumbo jumbo comes naturally to us, I haven’t been able to fathom or use the word for my own life since the pandemic. I haven’t felt any semblance of grounding in social isolation. I have resisted grounding myself to the reality of living alone in the times of corona, of being uncertain about when I will get to hug a human being, and when I will be able to travel home and touch my folks in flesh and blood (hopefully without masks). That’s the thing though. Pain demands to be felt and I haven’t been in a mood to feel it all the time really. I have forcefully pushed myself to remain in whims and fancies and dream away to glory so I don’t have to ground myself to my isolation. And then comes the apartment I live in, my safe haven and sanctuary, a place that I call mine in every sense of the word. But also a place I have resisted setting up fully. I have lived in it a little over a year and while everything else is complete, the walls are still bare. I refuse to put up art work in the living room and make it look complete. I don’t want to feel settled because a part of me longs to be back home forever. So here I am, resisting feeling settled, but also feeling unsettled and ungrounded, aching to feel settled.
After much internal reluctance, I broke my quarantine boundary and went for a quick visit to the said colleague’s house last evening. In its most minimalistic ways, it was the most peaceful house I have been to in recent years. I don’t know how he feels, but if I lived in that house, I would be high on feeling settled and grounded all the time. I kept thinking about what brought me this sense of calm there and I settled on the completeness his house had. After I came home, I finally bought some art prints I had saved in my cart on Etsy. The prints had a different meaning for me when I saved them two years ago but they changed their meaning for me last night. I always believe that setting up a house is a process to be relished and savored thoughtfully because each decision about it reflects a need within you. I know what need the artwork will fulfill now. I need to have completeness around me to feel settled, even if only temporarily. May be I will allow myself some groundedness in a complete house.
May be it was also his cat. In no time, Mr. Darcy took me back to some five years ago when I lived in Colibri with my two roommates (and now precious friends) and a cat Slipperz and was surrounded by all other friends in close proximity. Strangely, the nostalgia was grounding. A reminder that those relationships exist with such warmth and presence even in the times of social distancing and I have been able to cultivate many more in the pandemic, and that a being as tiny and disinterested in me as Mr. Darcy could bring this reminder was humbling in the face of this rebellion to resist.
I slept slightly more peacefully last night despite the raspy breathing due to an allergy, and woke up this morning to some surprise blooms on the bougainvillea plant. I bought it as a sapling in April which soon lost all its flowers. But today it stands proudly crept on the trellis with brand new gorgeous pink delicate flowers. I needed this pleasant surprise. To orient me from my whims to the present moment which was beautiful in as many ways as it was painful.
I sang a little after many months today. I felt some bit grounded today. Life is strange right now, but it has been good overall, and that reminder was grounding.
I am still rebelling though. One small step at a time. :p