The current pandemic forces us all into an unfamiliar kind of confinement.
I am hard pressed to listen in this respect to the British Government advice on all that, given its track record of cock ups, incompetent hesitation and general inclination to politicise even matters like the need to act.
To me, it’s common sense to isolate as much as possible to prevent getting ill and, above all, help protect others. I also don’t much appreciate being questioned in a stern manner by two policeman, as I have been after having been spotted by a police drone, why I have to walk my dog in the park, alone, close to my home.
I appreciate there are fools out there who think they know better but to be threatened with a fine for walking my dog alone around my neighbourhood makes me uneasy and does nothing to change my view that we are currently ruled by a bunch of narcissistic, self righteous, power addicted, pitiful, incompetent half wits
and policed, in part, by partly well meaning but at times also hapless and clueless officers
who are to be pitied too for having to apply half baked, ever changing policies. I might not be popular saying such things but it’s how I feel and if as a consequence of four years of Brexit negotiations to achieve what is wrongly labelled as sovereignty a lorry driver has to surrender his home made ham sandwich when entering Holland, or a British musician needs a work permit to perform in the EU, then I feel even less inclined to believe that we are well lead on our way out of the pandemic through the ever changing rules put in force by this bunch of below average politicians. No, I’m not happy with all that but I do sense that a heavy dose of self imposed confinement is necessary to remain safe and well until it’s our time for the promised shot in the arm.
As confinement goes, I am quite surprised by its effects on me even if it’s partly to be expected. I live a relatively private life at the best of times but the thought of being unable to go to a concert, visit at a whim my favourite bookshop in town, the beach 20 miles north of where I live, this I find unsettling, the knowledge that I can’t that is, even if I might not want to go out into the cold right now anyway. This knowledge of ‘I can’t’ is unsettling indeed. I feel locked in, cooped up, restricted, confined basically. So I end up sitting in front of the screen working from home, know what I need to do to solve a work related problem, know how to approach it, but find myself unable to actually do it. It isn’t procrastination as I don’t put things off. I just don’t want to do them, it seems. Full stop. What I want is to get out. I want my freedom back. I want that confinement to disappear yet it won’t and so I end up doing little or nothing at all at times except getting depressed, irritable or angry or all of those. No point in telling myself to pull myself together. It’s not complaining either. It’s just as if I haven’t got the right petrol in the tank. I have yet to find a way to deal with it better and am taking some sort of comfort in some of my colleagues reporting the exact same.
Confinement is hideous. It is, remember, a punishment for certain crimes of the more serious kind. It’s known to hurt which is exactly why it is that a certain prescribed length of it is considered an adequate punishment for wrong doing. The only thing is, we haven’t done anything wrong yet are confined anyway. It sucks, it really does.
The biggest comfort in all of this though, is the knowledge that we are not alone in all this. This confinement has hit us all. The risks of breaking out of the confinement are the same for all of us too. As are the pains of having to endure it. Shared suffering is suffering halved, a German saying goes. I go along with that.
Have I got another suggestion as to how to deal with it? Not really but here’s the thing, I found things to do which I wouldn’t do if there wouldn’t be in confinement. I started some DIY, I wrote a few new songs, I have reached out to old friends (not on Facebook!), I am reading more. Somehow I’m doing different things and there are unexpected rewards to be had or so I found. And I am forced to face more than usual the happenings in the world inside. Something we are all so very good at avoiding. There are treasures to be found there. And it beats the time.
And as far as this being perhaps forced a little bit more than usual to look inside is concerned, there’s also this chance to discover our true selves, and for that to happen we must allow the unconscious to have a voice. Carl Gustav Jung said to all that: ‘Looking outwards has got to be turned into looking into oneself. Discovering yourself provides you with all you are, were meant to be, and all you are living from and for.’
For me that look inside usually starts with looking at old photos.
I’m trying to hold onto that. Emphasis being the word ‘trying’. There’s little outside right now. I might as well follow C G Jung’s advice.
Seriously, in this seemingly endless period of involuntary pandemic induced confinement the road signs all point to the inside and the channels, paths and highways towards it are all open for traffic. We hesitate. Sure we do. We can be sure we won’t find stupid politicians there or crazy policies and regulations. We don’t know though what we will find but I as I have quoted before, the dark cave we fear most to enter contains the treasures we seek the most.
Perhaps there’s a remedy against this confinement after all. I shall try it. What else is there to do? You may want to do so as well.
Take care and good luck