Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur

Author, Speaker and Entrepreneur
Valerie Anne Burns

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Masked and Zooming

Masked and Zooming


By Tuesday night (4/14) after excessive Zooming, Google meetings, WhatsApp face-time for far too many hours and far too many weeks, a rejection letter (that all writers are supposed to expect), and several days before that, receiving a rather unfair and hurtful message, I found myself shouting to the inner walls of my abode, that's it, I need a break offline! I stepped back and cancelled everything I had in the way of online meetings scheduled the following day. I desired quiet, a true peaceful silence. That, and hiding under the covers.

This may sound odd in the (necessary quarantine) isolation of Corona to pull away from virtual connection but it was exactly what I needed. Admittedly, I have been getting up a little later than usual... because, why not? Life isn't the same. Trader Joe's and Lazy Acres used to be a chore and now I look forward to my two outings a week. It's a chance to see human beings and converse, even if words are rather muffled through masks. My mask, (in photo) was generously gifted to me by a talented costume designer of the State Street Ballet where I volunteer when the company is performing. But most everything has been cancelled and closed the world over--A mask pulled down over the arts, businesses, and the faces of most citizens throughout the globe.

I do find masked people waiting in line or wandering the aisles of stores a little kinder; more understanding. Getting out for basic needs is a break from the internet and my own company only. It's a small unit of time to connect. Last Saturday, after calling TJ's 4 early mornings in a row to ask if their 12 pack recycled toilet paper had come in yet and only heard, "sorry, no, and not sure when", I rolled out of bed at 6:00 a.m. and arrived at Vons (a market I rarely enter) at 7:30 where I scored the limit of two 12-pack of toilet paper. I nearly jumped in glee along with a masked mom shopping after 3-weeks inside her home with kids. 

Although the internet has been a necessity for decades, it's become the end-all-be-all. It's a remote work world and we've moved to Zoom (or something similar) for majority of meetings and all student classes, which would include my Italian 101 through City College. I much prefer the in-person connection participating in the classroom. Now, we Zoom with the instructor and I zoom with the tutor for many hours of the week. 

This brings me back to the day I needed a reprieve. I woke up and didn't exactly get up for, well... a while. I felt exhausted, wrung out, fussy-headed and discouraged; a need to cry. There is a pervasive anxiety and sadness vibration running through the world that I feel wrapped in like a heavy cloak. Decades ago, on my first visit to a psychic out of pure 20-something curiosity, she made a point of telling me to be very careful to protect myself since I had the ability to pick up on others' energy. I actually found that to be true. I am sensitive and can feel the hurts of the world. This includes people, but also a vulnerable planet and wildlife 

The Internet presents us with immediate news of severe suffering and tragic death that the Corona Virus has caused in Lombardy region of Italy, New York City, in other areas of the US and all over the world. There is also the undeniable constant horrific and distressing news of the US Dictator-in-Chief destroying decency, diplomacy, and democracy 24-7. It's overwhelming for all of us.

I yearned for solace...block out the noise of bad news and incessant internet. Isolation is something we're all sharing as is endless zooming or other means of internet meetings and face-time to keep life, schooling, and business going. I'm used to isolation after surviving breast cancer and nine surgeries (a result of complications) and long, lonely recoveries over a seven year period. I'd just begun to re-enter our world after recovering from #9 all through February and then thrown back into isolation along with millions of others beginning in March during our pandemic.

After I crawled out of bed, I went straight for the espresso instead of beginning with my special concoction of green/black tea with a splash of cream and rice milk and topped off with raw honey. I sat with my espresso and stared out my big picture window to the giant trees, blooming plants happier from the blessed spring rain we received last week, and all the birds singing in a harmonious orchestra. My hummingbirds buzzed around on the patio from the fuchsia plant to the feeder. I just sat and stared. Sat and stared. Then I did my ritual of tapping and breathing. I stared out the window again. The sun was shining so I moved to my chaise to stare up at the sun-dappled trees. I made my Magic-Bullet veggie drink. I sat in contemplation for a need of healing in my being and the globe.


I stepped away from the hummies to wander on a splendid day. As a power walker, it's challenging to slow the pace for a stroll. After being in Italy for a month last fall, I was taught the 'art' of a slow stroll through a village to soak in the day; connecting with people, culture, and beauty known as una passeggiata. (From Google: "As one dictionary describes it, una passeggiata is a traditional evening stroll in the central plaza by a town's residents.” It's a word that's very much associated with leisure and ease, and the feeling of having plenty of time.)

So, I took an una passeggiata through my landscaped complex and felt the fresh breeze embrace my body and the warm sun on my face. There weren't any residents around but I did stop to smell the flowers.

Back on my patio, I experienced peace to be in the presence of hummingbirds zooming around me rather than zooming on my laptop. I highly recommend stepping away for a natural breather (una passeggiata) in the natural world for a couple hours, a day, or longer.
Be well. Be safe.

Keep on swimming through life,

Valerie









1 comment:

  1. Valerie, it's a beautiful writing. I'm so glad you wrote it, and good job taking care of yourself. The circumstance definitely makes me feel more grateful for the nature these days.

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