The next worst thing to catching the virus is being stuck at home by mandate or out of your own fears. After nearly two years and counting, many of us are still in that mode, worn down by the ritual of work from home, zooming till the wee hours, and media binging just to kill boredom, day after listless day, with little prospect of unbridled global trotting to cheer us. Yet, we need to break free, if not in body, at least in spirit from this rut because our mental wellbeing depends on it. On a more positive note, there’s no better time than now to reflect on what really matters for you, what gives you consolation, joy and meaning in life, and what is it you are good at (besides work!), and then put in the effort to fan these “embers of joy” so you could flourish even in the most trying of circumstances. It is with these thoughts in mind that I wrote the following poem, addressed largely to myself but hopefully also speaks to you. I title the poem “Recovery”.
The days go by;
they are all the same.
I need to wake myself from this fog
that encircles the world
like an invisible cloak,
break free from the grey ennui,
of working from home, takeout meals
and media binging to pass the time.
I must do everything I can
to recover my impulse for play,
my sense of color and song,
of mattering and meaning,
and soak myself again
in wanting and wanderlust.
setting my spirit free like the
bouncy flight of a finch in mid-air.
I want all my windows to be opened
so the Earth could remind me
of how vivid and vivacious it is.
The arrows of the sun are
coming through the windows
like shafts of answered prayer.
The air is crisp and clean,
as if it is cleansing the world.
of its superficial drama, and
the warblers have arrived on time
tweeting their sweet notes,
without a care in the world.
Slowly, I’m relearning to cultivate
a new openness and a new hope
with these small embers of joy.
I am counting on them to teach me
the urgency of caring and not caring.
I am looking to them
to light the way forward.