Zen and the art of self-isolation

Today, I woke up a little out of sorts and thought I was taking a backwards step, but I overcame the restlessness and attributed some of it to a ruse of the mind. After stirring slowly, and witnessing the weather, I was low-spirited and lacking purpose (along with any kind of comfort food).

I wasn’t intending this to become the diary of a self-isolator, but we live in strange times and must do what we can to maintain our momentum and find new ways to power it. The way we live our lives is going to change, for the time being, and the word ‘cancelled’ is becoming commonplace.

As our world shrinks and we become more insular, we must learn to fall back on our own resources, perhaps discovering a newfound sense of self, with unlimited potential for creativity and compassion. This pared-down way of life will bring with it both challenges and opportunities as we are forced to discover new ways in which to serve ourselves and others, while this storm blows over.

So, the self-care starts here, because we can’t pour from an empty cup, and we’re all reliant on each other to control the confinement and carry out our duties to those who are dependent on us. You can have your cake and share it, so learn to live simply and we’ll get through this together.

When a gardener needs to self-isolate!

So, it’s Day #4 of self-isolation and although it’s getting boring, and I’m not feeling my best, I know I’m one of the lucky ones.

I picked this cold frame up from a supermarket, the night before I decided to quarantine myself, and just enough supplies to get me through the week ahead, but have only just felt like building it. Flat pack can be a faff, as I’m not the best at following instructions, and I don’t have the patience of a saint, but somewhere inside me I found the stamina to put the pieces together, and that got me thinking…

A lot of people would already have been feeling isolated and fragile before Covid-19 descended on them, and the panic-buying ensued, potentially making one of their only sociable situations seem more solitary and hostile as they left the store empty-handed and full of fear. Age is no barrier to loneliness, but mobility and confidence does make contact more accessible.

Empty shelves, however, is everyone’s problem and when, suddenly, the things you took for granted disappear, spare a thought for those less fortunate and less able to fend for themselves, and consider ways in which you can make them feel less alone and this societal disease disappear. There has to be a positive to this negative, and you can be a part of that solution. Be kind.

Help make homelessness history, one kind act at a time

Doorway

Let’s tackle homelessness, one kind act at a time!

There have been shocking statistics about homelessness in the news, recently, with local councils estimating that more than 4,751 people a night sleep rough on England ‘s streets as of Autumn 2017. That’s up 169% since records began in 2010, and rising.

The reasons why someone finds themselves in this no-man’s-land are as diverse as those existing in this perpetual Groundhog Day. Devoid of interaction or purpose, their voices are muted and their lives hang in limbo, swept aside like spent leaves on an Autumn day.

In the words of Ben, from London, “Every day I wake up is just another day closer to death. “If I didn’t wake up, tomorrow, sometimes I’d think it’d be a blessing, then I wouldn’t have to do another 24 hours of this.” How, in 21st-century Britain, can we allow words like this to form in the mouths of our citizens?

The longer that someone is homeless, the bigger the impact on both their physical and mental health and the further removed from society they become, reducing their chances of reintegrating with and contributing to the community that created their predicament.

In the spirit of Bernadette Russell’s ‘The Little Book of Kindness’, I want to create a ripple effect of Kindness Scouts who, rather than turning a blind eye on their daily commute, stop and engage with those sleeping rough, from a position of safety and compassion.

Perhaps you can forgo your daily coffee fix on your way to or from work, slow your pace and extend a warm hand on a cold day. You might not have a ‘responsibility’ to that person, but you do have the power to give them hope, a meal, and a kind word or two.

How would you feel if you were identified as a ‘problem’, if your life amassed to nothing except for the tattered clothes that you were wearing, and the doorways you slept in were the same ones that closed in your face on a freezing night?

Be a part of the solution. Be a Kindness Scout and let’s help make homelessness history, one kind act at a time.

Tag your kind acts using the hashtag #KindnessScout

Thank you! Darren X

Statistics source: ITV News – 25 January 2018