Lockdown in Paris: Day 5

Cold and damp today. But it smells like spring. ©Lisa Anselmo

I didn’t sleep so well last night. My head started spinning, my heart pounding. My new worry: the economy, and how much I have to lose. Yup, I broke all my rules.

I woke up to a cloudy and damp day in Paris. The birds have stopped chirping, save for a solitary crow’s mournful caw. That doesn’t help my gloom. My mood is mercurial these days—proof that my peace of mind is conditional. Something to work on.

This is a test of who we are, what we are capable of. The proverbial rug has been pulled out from under us, sending our world flying. We’re tumbling in the air, upside-down. When we land, things might not be the same. We may have to rebuild our lives. The sooner we embrace this, and stop trying to hang on to that air we’re tumbling in, the sooner we’ll feel like we’re on solid ground.

Don’t fret. We have not lost our security. We have only lost our illusion of security.

The truth: We were already here. We’re just aware of it now. Where we are today—this pandemic, the economy—has been in the making for some time. Lack of affordable healthcare, no job security, small businesses being crushed by big—the pieces were in place. Someone just needed to push the button. This is not a political post, by the way, before you complain in the comments. I’m just stating facts without judgment, realities of the world at large. It’s been bad for a while. Now we know how bad.

The upside? Now you know. And when you know, you can stop trying to grasp at the illusion of security, and plant your feet. Take a look around. Assess the possible outcomes, and begin to address them. Assess whatever is gnawing at the back of your mind—be it emotional or financial—and deal with it. Take whatever action you can to be in a better place tomorrow. We are all in the same boat, so hopefully our governments will do the right thing to ensure we’re not stranded when this tide goes out.

And that security? We’ll have to find it within. The only way to do that is to stop grasping. Get used to flying around loosey-goosey in a life without safety belts. It’s been that way all along, anyway. The more adaptable you keep your mind, the better you’ll weather this—and the better your life will be long after this is over.

Now, I’m going to go re-read my own tips in this diary. Because I need reminding, too.

Get caught up, here.

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Tip for the day: Peacefulness is a discipline. Just ask a Buddhist.

There are many schools of Buddhism, but in general there are the four noble truths: 1) existence is suffering; 2) suffering has a cause (craving and attachment); 3) suffering ends (nirvana); 4) there is a path to end suffering: right understanding (of the nature of things, of yourself); right intention (avoiding thoughts that cause suffering); right speech (avoiding harmful or senseless talk); right action (no misdeeds); right livelihood (not being corrupt); right effort (abandoning negative states of mind, etc.); right mindfulness (awareness of thoughts, feelings, and phenomena); right concentration (single-mindedness). 

What does all that mean? At the risk of oversimplifying it: spirituality, and the peace that comes with the practice of it, is mindfulness in thought and deed. Awareness. Acceptance. Release. Visualization and meditation. It takes constant work, constant discipline. You suffer when you hang on, when you don’t monitor your inner conversations, when you don’t watch what you feed your mind, or how you behave toward yourself and others. Buddhists believe life is suffering, but they do have an 8-fold action plan to end suffering. When you embrace where you are, you can begin to work on it. Ohm.

Click to listen to inspiration from Duda Baldwin’s Little School of Buddhism.

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Some light Buddhism

From Pema Chödrön. Click book to buy.

From the Dalai Lama. Click book to buy.

From Timber Hawkeye. Click book to buy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Some light reading

From Craig Carlson. Click book to buy.

Shameless plug. Click book to buy. 

From Juliette Sobanet. Click book to buy.

14 responses to “Lockdown in Paris: Day 5

  1. Hi Lisa, thanks for your article. It really hit home and right now we all feel a bit destabilized. I just got back from Paris (last direct flight to SF I think) and experienced some of those bird chirping positive days while I was there. Now back in SF and waking up to the new normal and your article really touched a chord. Thank you! Bill. (PS. Hope to be posting my pictures in the next week. You are always welcome to use them.)

  2. I am so glad that I have faith in Jesus Christ…
    being able to pray and meditate on His word brings me comfort. I still get anxious and it is at those times in particular that I need to take a deep breath and, like you said, be mindful. Hugs, Lisa and I pray that tomorrow will be a better day!

  3. Bonjour Lisa
    I had the same issue with difficulty sleeping wierd dreams etc….also concerns about the economy with everything closed.
    Here in Alberta Canada we are already on our knees with the collapse of the oil and gas industry. The younger generation will have a lot on their plates in the years to come.
    I like your focus on Budist teachings a good lesson for us to follow. So for my thought for today is to reach out to others and stop thinking about myself.
    Merci..Pamela

    • I did not realize the problems in Canada. I hope all will be well. American economy is fragile as well. At least you guys have a solid healthcare safety net. It’s just a good idea to get out of your own head by reaching out to others. That’s great advice for any time! Be well. Stay well.

  4. I’m old. I remember the polio scare – now THAT was something to get scared about! This is a minor blip. Catastrophe is not on the horizon. America’s economy will bounce back – to the high it was – when this is over. So you have to stay home – honestly – what I would give to have a home in Paris!! To stay home in. Get happy – we are all here for such a short time – don’t waste it with worry – especially about THIS.

    “This is a test of who we are, what we are capable of.” Uh, no. The Great Depression was a test – THAT was bleak despair – why not read a bit of history – the influenza pandemic was bleak despair – the hand-wringing over this is ……. self-indulgent. Which is rampant these days.

    Ah, well – goodbye until this is over – I just had a humor column published about all this – thank goodness some people can keep it in perspective. Hope you can wake up soon in a better place.

    • Hi Judy. Thank you so much for your message and sharing your personal perspective. I’d love to read your article, and maybe share it with my readers. Will you include a link? I’m a history buff, and do know about history, and that’s helping: The Spanish Flu during WWI, and The Great Depression and WWII. My parents were Depression era kids, and my sister and I were raised in that mentality. It’s why we’re always prepared for the worst, and save wrapping paper to use again. LOL. I agree the whining is deafening. I’m also not reading every hysterical unfounded article, and encourage my readers to do the same. But there are a lot of people who will lose their jobs because of the shut-down (even NY Governor Cuomo has acknowledged this); freelancers like me are already losing income. If you have a mortgage or any other debt, it can be a precarious time. That’s all I was saying, and as always I try to put things in perspective. This *is* a test of who we are, because this is the first this generation has had of this scale. And people are making choices, good and bad, under this stress, being tested. We didn’t live through polio; this is *our* polio. It’s all about perspective. You have yours (and it was helpful for sure!), and we have ours. Both deserve consideration and respect. I hope you’ll stay with me through this—fun stuff coming. I’ll be interviewing other Parisians on lockdown to share tips on ways to occupy our time, and getting creative! And thank you again for your counsel and cheer, Judy! Keep it coming. XO L

  5. Merci Lisa, very well written. I appreciate you addressing the concerns that we all have, as we try to stay calm and reflect on better days to come. Be safe.

  6. Thank you for being so honest and sharing your fears. When I get really freaked out (which is pretty often tbh) I keep repeating the words in the speech of Cyril Ramaphosa: we are not helpless….and then I focus on everything I am doing to help my son, washing my hands before eating and every hour on the hour, washing our food, not letting anyone into the house….and most importantly going over his emergency protocols in case an ambulance can’t make it to us in time. It gives me back a sense of control. I’m not helpless. Take care and thank you again for your writings xxx

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