Pandemic time bears a striking resemblance to airport time.
I have long theorized that time spent in airports and airplanes exists in some strange liminal space — not really here nor there. If I spent enough time in an airport waiting for delayed or cancelled flights I even start questioning that this time actually exists at all. (Or that may just be a defense mechanism in order to survive the frustrating, seemingly endless waiting.)
In pandemic time, regular activities and large events are altered so significantly we barely recognize them. Or they have been cancelled outright and we are left to grieve their loss and wonder how we are going to pass the time. Our drastically altered culture and community leaves us feeling that we have no anchor, no sense of time. We are wandering in the wilderness, yearning, like the Israelites in the Hebrew Bible, for the promised land, but instead needing the time in the desert to get the rhythms of slavery out of our system.
But, here’s the thing I’m learning in this liminal time of wilderness wandering: my body actually likes this pause. With fewer activities, I find myself rushing less from place to place, often late. With no prospects for racing in a triathlon or half marathon this year, my workouts are not dictated by a training schedule, but by what my body needs. I almost hate to admit it, but it feels pretty good.
This time is reminiscent of the silent retreat in which I participated a couple years ago. (Read my blog reflection, The Vulnerability of Silence, about that experience.) The stopping of activities, the change of surroundings and schedule, the quiet is actually welcome to my body-mind. Once I get over the agitation about it, that is.
I am becoming increasingly interested in how we might lean into these pauses. This week I lead a short meditation practice on the pause in breath on Instagram Live. I am leading a YoWo session also on Short North Church’s FB page on Thursday, May 21 at 7 p.m. ET. I will be exploring how we pause and rest into mystery (really another word for liminal space).
Finally, I will lead a webinar — Mindful Teams in Times of Change Rather than letting the frustration get to us, how do our teams use this time to grow to be more creative, collaborative and purposeful through the use of mindfulness practices?
Take some time to pause with me. You may even like it.