Stuck in a Pandemic World

Well, I knew it might happen someday. People ask me all the time how I can come up with enough content for a weekly blog. Don’t I ever get stuck? Up until now, I’ve been able to smugly reply, “No, I never get stuck. I think that’s because when I started this blog, I didn’t put any pressure on what it should be. I write it from a place of passion and permission.”

And that’s always been true, until today. Until I started and stopped this blog six different times.

Today, I’m stuck. And not just in my writing. I’m stuck in trying to figure out how I fit into this pandemic world. I’m a person who craves intimacy, so Zoom calls and social media don’t cut it for me. But neither do walks six feet apart with our masks on. I used to enjoy the energy of being in a room full of people. For example, I used to love going to the grocery store on a busy Sunday afternoon when everyone was happily smelling the pineapples or chatting with the butcher. Now I go on Wednesday night at 7:00 when there’s hardly anyone there so I can avoid feeling the anxiety bouncing off people as we try so hard to follow the rules of social distancing.

I’m stuck in trying to figure out what direction I should take with my work and writing.  Many of my writer friends are continuing as if its business as usual. They still have deadlines to meet, and staying home to write is nothing new for them. Others are viewing these slower days as a chance to experiment with different types of writing. Others are downloading dozens of free webinars, courses, and classes and expanding their knowledge. As it turns out, I’m a terrible online learner. I don’t have the patience to sit through a webinar without constantly hitting the fast-forward button. And whatever deadlines I had disappeared when this whole thing started. If there’s a new piece of writing calling to me, it must have its microphone on mute, because I’m not hearing anything.

I’m stuck trying to figure out how to feed my adventurous spirit when I can’t travel anywhere. Roger and I have resorted to taking short Sunday drives in the foothills or walks in neighborhoods outside our own. I’ll confess it’s fun to come around a corner and see something unexpected, like a llama in a pasture or a bizarre piece of homemade art in someone’s yard, but it’s not the same as visiting a place you’ve never been before.

I’m stuck trying to figure out how to support the people I love most. Is it safe to go and visit them yet? If not, when will it be?

I’m stuck between thinking I should keep up on the latest news and developments, and feeling tempted to ignore it all.

I don’t want this to sound like a complaint. I acknowledge I’m lucky and privileged in so many ways and that feeling stuck hardly constitutes a serious problem when compared to what some people are going through, but I’ve said many times in this blog that I think it’s important to lean in to our feelings if we want to grow. What can we learn from feeling stuck? How do we find the internal and external places that make us feel most at home in this new normal?

I’ve realized over the years we can’t just think our way out of being stuck. And we can’t always act our way out of it either, but those still seem to be the things I try first. Why? Because I hate feeling stuck. And then I remind myself that, sometimes, we need to sit with discomfort until we unravel what lies beneath it.

So how did I get unstuck just enough to write this little post? I first gave myself permission to feel stuck and to admit that I was. Then I found the passion to love my frustrated, disillusioned, unmotivated self enough to say, “Quit trying to write from anyplace but where you are. You don’t have to be clever or perfect. You don’t have to rise above. Just dig in and let’s see what’s underneath.”

It’s a start, anyway.

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