The secret to survive lockdown is have a routine. Learn a new skill. Clear your to-do list. Simple. Yet life in lockdown appears deceptively the same, but in reality something is out there… lurking…
The plan during this period at home was to learn a new skill. NAY- to MASTER a new skill. Week 1, a gardening course. I watched all the 6 videos and realise I had none of the tools, seeds, bulbs or any of the items the course required. Undeterred from my aim to have green fingers and toes, I used my initiative. Pulling, tugging, yanking, strimming, mowing, pruning, tilling, hoeing, raking, slashing, sawing, snipping, clipping and cutting is rather hard work when only using your bare hands. In hindsight, I suspect that my intuition wasn’t very green. The garden is now bald. What once was bursting with colour and life, is now dead mud. Tidy dead mud, but dead mud nonetheless.
The online drawing course wasn’t as successful as I had expected either. Lesson 1 was practising different strokes and shadings. It was brain numbingly tedious. Instead, allowing my inner creative self to shine, I drew a portrait of my neighbour as she sat in the garden. Again in hindsight, I should have warned her of what I was doing rather than staring at her for 3 solid hours. When finally she asked to see the proof of my endeavours, she was furious. According to her, there wasn’t a single recognisable feature in my masterpiece, despite my attempt to convince her of the interesting Picasso-esque undertones of her face. She no longer greets me over the garden fence.
The cooking course, was a non-starter too as it failed to use the ingredients I had. Not wanting to run to the shops every 5 minutes I decided to get creative in the kitchen using up all those random ingredients tucked away in the back of the cupboard. Unfortunately, my culinary experiments have not had the expected results. Cod in a raspberry and curry jus is not the delicate combination I was anticipating. When I sent my neighbour, as way to apologise, my juniper berry, vodka and carrot risotto – again, it failed to delight. She sent a note asking I leave her alone. I think she is taking the isolation badly. Perhaps a cake would work better?
Marketing for dummies
There was one success. Now that I had transferred my yoga classes online (read the Cheeky Yogi Zooms Online) I needed to get bums on mats. A free mini online course on ‘How to market your online business and retire in 1 year’ was just the thing. ‘Brad’, the marketing wiz-kid, spent the entire course building up to his big secret. The key to unlock your potential. The magic reveal to unleash your customers to come flocking and knocking at your door. In the final minute of this course his power point divulged the secret:
Your message must speak to people
I spent days pondering what this meant. Eventually, I did another online course (paid) ‘How to get your message to speak to people’. Brad then explained first I needed to take another course to understand ‘What is my true message?’ 2 weeks, 4 courses and quite a few pounds later, I was ready.
Making Brad Proud
‘A photo speaks a thousand words’ says Brad. I need a photo. Eventually the David Bailey in me sees the shot. My dog lying on the green grass, bent double, nigh on folded in two with the sun in the background. CLICK. My commentary, my ‘message’ – the importance to be flexible in our bodies and in our lives especially when adapting to the current lockdown. It was poignant, truthful, and ‘spoke to people’ WITH a photo. My marketing campaign for my online yoga classes sorted. Boom. Publish to all social media.
It wasn’t until I read many, many, many comments suggesting the ability to lick ones’ own back passage is not necessarily the best way to survive lockdown nor Covid 19 for that matter. On the positive side, this post did appeal to an unknown new customer, a gentleman in his 60’s who has never done yoga before. He felt that he would very much reap the benefits and had booked on a class.
The internet is dead
The internet is dead. Panic courses through my veins as in 15 minutes I am teaching an online yoga class. I have 3 people booked. These days that’s pretty much a full class. With the entire world having going online and billions offering their wares for free, the hunt for the elusive ‘paying’ customer is on. But I have a marketing campaign. Even the words ‘marketing campaign’ makes me feel like a ‘business woman’ which makes me feel like an ‘entrepreneur’, which makes me feel like I know what I am doing. I AM THE CHEEKY YOGI business woman, entrepreneur extraordinaire soon to be co-hosting a TED talk on ‘Marketing, finding your clan and connecting with your inner message’ together with Bill Gates and Barack Obama. If only the internet would work.
After numerous attempts of rebooting and unplugging every appliance in the house, and with 2 minutes and 19 seconds until the start of my class, I eventually offered my neighbour (the one on the other side of the house) a life-time of free yoga if I could borrow her internet for the next hour. All was saved.
The to-do list
At the beginning of lockdown I had suggested to my partner that now would be a great time to do all those niggly chores. How is it possible after all these weeks, a bank holiday, the Easter holidays and a global pandemic that none of the list has been completed? Not one item.
My approach today is more cunning than it has been over the past weeks. Today, I ignore the list. I need to put him in a good mood. I suggest he watches the football whilst I do my self-practice. He scowls as he informs me there is no football. ‘No Champions League, no Premier Inn League?’ I’m chuffed I remember the names of the tournaments he’s been following. He cuts his eyes.
‘The Grand Prix then?’
‘The Super Bikes?’
‘Something with go carts perhaps?’
He scowls at me and is now in a foul mood.
This has not gone as planned.
Up until now my meditation routine hasn’t been as regular as I would have liked. Now, I decide is a perfect time to meditate. Crossed legged, eyes closed, I begin. Visions of the to-do lists float in my third eye. I begin again. Dancing to-do lists doing the cancan fill my consciousness.
Focus on the breath.
Inhale ten, exhale ten.
Inhale nine, at least he could clean the gutters. Exhale nine.
Inhale is the ladder in the garage or behind the greenhouse? Exhale – I bet you he left it behind the greenhouse. If you want something doing, do it yourself.
I open my eyes, hoping that half an hour meditation time is over. Two minutes and 45 seconds have passed.
Unwilling to being defeated, I decide to look for my phone for a guided meditation instead. Spying him doing nothing except for ‘playing with his phone’ irks me deeply. But I am a professional yogi, I refuse to pass judgement. Then catching sight of his to-do list on the counter soaking up this mornings’ spilt coffee as the words bleed and vanish from the paper forever. The irritation explodes out of my throat chakra with a big ‘Humpf’. Stomping out of the front room I search for a meditation about non-attachment.… Several cute cat videos later, it is time for lunch. I shall have to meditate afterwards.
The Great Escape
I decide that a strenuous physical practice is just what I need to get rid of my negativity and restlessness. I roll out the mat and just lie down for a moment to breath. 2 hours later I wake up to my phone ringing. Would I be interested in having some of my neighbour’s food? Her stockpiling is going off.
A moral dilemma hits me in the third eye. Is this an essential excursion?
With Bond like precision I decide that it should be a covert operation of breaking lockdown to save the food from waste. Donning a scarf, gloves and sunglasses. I sneak out. Elation filled my whole body at the freedom as I sat behind the wheel, like Thelma and Louise driving their convertible towards the Grand Canyon. 4 minutes and 23 seconds later I arrive at the secret meeting point where we are to make the drop. In the centre of the village green stood my friend, lonely, isolated waving. Eventually I see 2 enormous plastic bags hidden behind a black car with tinted windows as I look up my friend has disappeared. Phase one of rescue mission food accomplished.
Removing the lurgy
Safely back home, I wipe down every item with disinfectant. Stripping naked, leaving my clothes in a pile as I shower, I sing happy birthday Mr President twice over in my best Marilyn Monroe as I lather every inch of my being to remove any potential lurking lurgy. Returning to the kitchen to explore the items bequeathed to me. I barely recognise anything. An enormous white truncheon like vegetable, which I discover is a daikon radish, a smaller black truncheon like vegetable an Erfurter Radish. A packet of amino snack fish – cardboard looking pieces of dried cod which in both smell and appearance could easily pass as cat treats. The more I unpack, the more I need to google. I am grateful for the food, but utterly baffled by the contents – a vegan tin of roast Peking duck and 12 kilos of frozen chicken? It is too surreal. Disconcerting. When will life get back to normal?
Yoga Nidra will do the trick, it’ll make the world seem normal again. I scroll through the phone to look for a suitable Nidra. 2 hours later after reading about the different uses for radishes I realise it is time to teach my evening classes. Turning on the computer, I see some friendly faces. I ask about their day, and people share their news and I begin to teach. By the end of the class we are all in a very different head space. Everything has paled into insignificance and the only thing that matters is the here and now. We end the class with a resounding OM. The collective sound we make as individuals uniting our voices celebrating, acknowledging the sound of the universe and our togetherness within it. There may be something lurking out there, but fundamentally nothing has changed.
As I walk past the kitchen getting ready for bed I see the list and think tomorrow is another day.