Monday, 22 March 2021

The Little Way and the Pandemic...

Rather recently, I remarked on how one thing that could made the downtime of the pandemic lockdowns easier on the mind is to adopt qualities (even from a secular standpoint, if necessary) of St. Therese of Lisieux's "The Little Way".  This basically means, if I can loosely describe it, that one should approach the acts of the day with the dedication of a helpful child doing tasks around the house - that is, putting your finest effort into everything you do, with great care.  St. Therese often remarked that everyone is like a flower in the eyes of God - some are mighty flowers with major tasks they perform for the Lord, others are little, living simpler lives, but all are beautiful in their own way, and all are loved by God.  (She is the saint known as the "Little Flower" - she would sometimes compare herself to St. Teresa of Avila, except that she saw that particular carmelite as a mighty flower, seeing herself more as a little one.)

So, an atheist reading this might roll their eyes, but let me be clear.  This approach is another way of looking at a form of mindfulness, something people work with in Dialectical Behavioural Therapy, as a means of grounding.  On my pandemic lockdowns, I of course had to abandon social gatherings - days of karaoke with friends and dancing in clubs long left behind, now we Zoom, but it's not the same.  So mainly, I have chosen to focus inward, as I have before, for refinement, and dedicate my days to the small tasks I need to complete, incorporating mindfulness into them.  The rosary was something that became a delightful activity to do in a nearby park under a tree, and in the summer of 2020 it was a daily routine to walk there and use that time to work on my spiritual growth.  Walks around the city became a regular way of feeling the sun and getting my exercise, and to focus on what's truly important in my life.  Living small, though not necessarily the easiest thing for some who love to live large, has been a delight, and I have grown quite accustomed to it at this point.  Live small, and you might start to take greater notice of the little things.  You may start to hear what Spirit is saying to you, through what's happening around you.

I am still on a lockdown leave from work - my second since the pandemic began.  I recognize that if my needs are met (mine seem to be so far), wants don't have to overwhelm me, if I can't have them.  It's a new way of living that I, as a person of the west, should learn.  We in the west have lived too large for too long, and it's hurt our Mother, the Earth.  Letting go of wants is one thing I have been training myself to do, as a form of detachment from worldly obsession.  It's slightly tricky as an artistic type, loving novelty, wanting to collect artifacts, wanting to create - but, I can curb the aching desire to shop constantly and accumulate things I honestly don't need.  I don't tend to buy things unless I absolutely love them, and they are within my budget, and even then, I may not.  

What saddens me is to hear stories during this time where people's needs aren't even met.  Seeing the tent cities in the parks is a horrific sight.  I remain thankful that I had found an affordable place to live, supportive housing that would never renovict me.  If only housing was accessible for all.


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