Is it wrong to thrive during the COVID-19 quarantine? It has been over a month since I last blogged here and I really intended to post more often than that. My last post was about being a solitary witch, one of a bajillion witches who is in quarantine due to COVID-19 self-isolation. At the time, I was still finding my place in the new normal and adjusting to life on the inside.
Our shop closed March 19 when our county went under shelter in place orders. We will reopen sometime, but today is not that day and tomorrow isn’t looking good either. As of today, El Dorado County where I live and where my shop lives has had 65 cases of COVID-19 and no deaths. Most of our county layout is very rural, which I am sure is a strong factor. Our county bleeds red and is one of the most conservative counties in California (Amador County beats us out). You can bet that a sizable portion of the people who marched on the capital demanding haircuts and Cheesecake Factory were my neighbors. I swim through a sea of MAGA hats to get groceries. El Dorado County is now charging toward re-opening and is downright angry that the health and concerns of others keeps slowing their roll.
Reopening? I don’t think I am ready!
Our County is one of two counties that was this week approved for going deeper into Phase 2 of the COVID-19 reopening process and let me tell you, the barn door is open. You would never know there was any kind of quarantine in place. Restaurants are open for dining in with modifications such as paper menus, spaced seating, and disinfecting tables after every patron. I ate in a restaurant on Thursday and none of those things were done. I don’t believe anyone is actively policing it and my county is legendary for giving the state the finger.
Retail is still closed unless the business can accommodate curbside pick up and our shop is not set up that way. We are a smell-the-incense, touch-the-rocks, look-at-the-oracle-cards kind of establishment. Our clients often have consultations with us and as healers, we are all up in their personal space. We have classes and rituals and meetings and so we expect to open during a later phase, despite ongoing pressure from our customers to turn the closed sign around to open.
Adapting is harrrd
When I opened my shop in early 2019 after not having a retail business for a few months, I really thought I didn’t want it. Being tied to a store, driving down the mountain five days a week, working 10 hours days, constantly making product, just didn’t sound like what I wanted to do. I did it on faith and loved it. When we closed up the shop and locked the door on March 19, I felt bereft and sad.
I am slow to adapt to change and to process threat and as such, it took me a bit to figure out what all I felt about the quarantine. I have left my house four times since March 19. I have been in a store twice. I wear a mask when I go out and STILL I feel uncomfortable being out there. I feel vulnerable and at risk and that is not like me.
I take all of this very seriously and my heart grieves for the people who have to endure this horrible disease, either first hand by contracting it or second hand by losing someone they love or not being with their loved ones due to COVID-19 quarantine. This entire situation is devastating, divisive, clarifying, horrifying, and so many other adjectives.
With all that being said…
I am loving this.
I have been so happy since going into quarantine. I sleep as late as I want, so for the first time in literally years, I am well rested. I can set my own hours and follow my circadian rhythms literally for the first time in my entire life, which is saying a lot since I am 58-years-old. I start working at noon and keep going until around 1:00-2:00 am with a break to eat supper with Eric. I can still cleanse and heal people from a distance, I can still do spell work for people, and I can still do readings for people.
Because of the wide open time, I finished a book for Llewellyn that turned out to be quite difficult for me to write. After I receive their honey do list of changes they want made, it will go to bed and be out of my hands. I can start book #5 of the Seven Sisters of Avalon series and it will be a complete joy to go back to Avalon and finish the next three (final) books of the series. I dearly love that story and I am grateful to have time to work on it.
Eric (husband) has been busy on our property and for the first time in years, it looks amazing. He re-rocked the circumference of the HUGE permanent circle we have out back and is in the process of fencing all 2 acres of our property. He planted a gigantic garden after the snows were gone for certain and included my favorites, some monster-sized sunflowers. All six of my kids and their partners are safe for now, including the ones that are essential workers.
I am absolutely thriving and in Heaven. When the time comes that we re-open the shop, I will be happy for that. Until then, I am thrilled with this… and therein lies the problem.
On Facebook, my preferred social media because I am an old woman, I am quite outgoing. I post a good bit and I have had to learn to be careful about saying that I am happy and thriving. Joy does not go over very well right now, which I never saw coming. At first, I would post about how great I feel and how much I love being home and it didn’t take long for people to let me know both through direct messaging and in public comments that I was out of line for being happy while so many struggled.
When I have posted about appreciating this time, about thriving, about feeling happy and joyful, I have been told things like:
“If you are feeling happy right now, you aren’t paying attention.”
“How can you talk about feeling happy when people are dying all around you?”
“You’re tempting fate! If you say you’re happy, you are bound to have a downfall!”
“Don’t you realize that it is insensitive to talk about being happy when so many people are struggling?”
One healer, a cohort of mine, told me, “If you can be happy in the middle of all this, you must not be as empathic as I am.”
What I extracted from this was, “You have no right to feel happy if others are in crisis. You should feel guilty not only for saying how you feel, but for feeling it in the first place. If you are happy, you must be somehow broken.”
When our intrepid channel master, Jason Mankey, told the Patheos writers that he wanted articles on how COVID-19 changed our practice or affected us spiritually, I’ll admit that I groaned a bit. Agh. I just wrote one complete with charming clip art images! I also felt some trepidation over the idea of sharing with others that I am freakin’ spiritual fire right now. I am dialed in, engaged with the Divine Energy as never before, happy… nay joyful… empowered, and feeling my Goddess hammer like nobody’s business. Trust me. There is a reason why goddesses in art have at least one of their boobs out. When goddesses are in their full power, shit’s about to get real and boobs need to be out for that.
I know well that I speak from a place of rampant entitlement. I am safe. I have a home. I have money to live on. I have THE GREAT GOD INTERNET. I have food to eat and clean air to breathe. I am in great health and my job is mobile. I could not possibly be more thankful than I am for all I have, for whatever twists and turns and bullcrap led me to where I am now, in this moment, typing to you. I am tingling with the feelings of blessedness and awe and gratitude and possibly altitude sickness because we live so far up in the mountains.
I am positively blissful and do not take one moment of it for granted and you know what? I refuse to feel guilty for it and I didn’t even realize that until I typed it just now. It wasn’t my intention when I started the post but any blogger can tell you that sometimes, the writing itself is the journey and you never quite know where you will end up.
Nope, I can’t
I have had literally decades of my life where I apologized for inconveniencing others, apologized for taking up space, apologized for not being thin, apologized for having needs, and felt guilty for pretty much everything going wrong around me. I have had decades of my life where I was depressed, sad, living in poverty, abused, taken advantage of, and completely subjugated. I felt in the way, ashamed to take up space, terrified to set a boundary, much less defend it, and nearly breathless from self-loathing. Those who met me now might have a hard time imagining that and it was through sheer stubbornness and tenacity that I am not there now. When I think back to that person, it feels like it was someone else entirely.
When I hear that there is something wrong with me for feeling good, I feel triggered. I circle the drain to that other life, that other person, and have to pull back before I get sucked in. When we grow out of outmoded behavior that holds us back, it is always there, waiting, hoping, reaching… longing for us to return.
Feeling guilty for feeling good is a place I can’t go and stay healthy.
Letting it go
A few days ago, I was meditating and I felt an unexpected whoosh. I described it to Eric as a bottleneck under pressure that suddenly came unclogged with everything flowing freely. In that moment, I felt a leveling up sensation like The World card in the Tarot. The World changed in that moment. My world changed. I changed. It was transformative. I stayed with the experience for quite a while, not trusting it, believing it would abate. It hasn’t. If anything, it got stronger.
I think it might have been my final moment of caring what other people think. I guess there is a reason why The World comes right after the Judgment card in the Tarot. Let go of Judgment and get the whole World.