2020 challenged even the best of coping mechanisms.
Funny how we can delude ourselves into thinking we have it all together when life is cruising along according to our expectations. And then some “black swan” event like Covid comes along and we’re hurled out of our comfort zones and forced to rethink our lives while grappling with forces WAY beyond our control. That’s why I’m approaching 2021 as a year of disarmament of my usual defenses and strategies, and a year of surrender.
Last year was just the warm-up act of my learning to surrender.
By saying this I’m not in any way downplaying the devastation that Covid has delivered and continues to deliver. The volcano continues to erupt as we land squarely in a new year. Vaccine rollouts aren’t happening expeditiously enough and a lot of people continue to misbehave (and continue to deny the existence of Covid). Most countries are still playing catch-up while running around with their pants down. The light at the end of the tunnel still seems way far off.
Big, heavy sigh.
So, as I prepare myself for a year of surrender, I keep two particular quotes close at hand to keep me focused and sustained.
So wildflowers will come up where you are.
You have been stony for too many years.
Try something different.
Surrender.” — Rumi
“Sometimes surrender means giving up trying to understand and becoming comfortable with not knowing.”
— Eckhart Tolle
Not knowing is a biggie for me and my biggest obstacle to surrender.
Letting go of the “need to know” doesn’t come easily to me. I suspect it is the same for most people. We want to swing into action, to patch ourselves up so that can expel the pain or discomfort. Rob Preece, in an eloquent essay in Tricycle (read the full article here), shares an integrated Buddhist perspective:
“It is tempting to grasp at something that will rapidly patch up the cracks and create a sense of security. We can experience these fearful times as periods of great danger, or we can see them as opportunities to change the orientation of our life.” – Rob Preece, The Buddhist Review – Tricycle
For yours truly, in this year of surrender, life already has taken a different turn.
And that means you, my subscribers, will be hearing a lot more about Liguria! Yes, we’ve moved from Treviso in Veneto and are living now on the opposite coast and a short drive from the border of France. We found a lovely home with expansive sea views and made the move just over a month ago.
There is a lot to tell, but I’ll have to save that for future posts. We’re still getting our “land legs” in our new local (unpacking and organizing seems like a never-ending task). We’re learning our new geography and what the local culture offers. I’m a seafood addict, so we’ve come to the right place.
If Covid hadn’t come along, we wouldn’t have considered this path.
Mid-way through the year, when restrictions had been lifted and we were once again free to travel, we came to Liguria to spend long overdue time with my Italian in-laws. While it shouldn’t take a big crisis to underscore the importance of family, it did for us, and realized that we didn’t want to be so far away.
Nurturing time with family and glorious daily walks in the seaside villages inspired us to open our minds to make a move we wouldn’t have made otherwise. And, after several months of chewing on the possibility, we took the leap.