A mystical, wild, green path through a maze ends in a thick tangle of hedges. It’s a drawing on an oracle card from the deck, “Wisdom of Avalon.” The card is called “Restriction.” When I pulled it yesterday morning, I thought, “yep, I’m feeling restricted for sure.” Cooped up. Cabin fevered. Ready to rumble.
About two weeks after Arizona sheltered in place due to the coronavirus, I itched to rebel. Funny thing was, not much in my lifestyle had changed! Given the degree of inner angst that popped up from time to time, you would have thought I was being restrained from a wild, wicked, and rollicking life. Patterns of thinking can be quite funny! My oppositional habits are amusing.
When we started sheltering in mid-March, I thought for sure we would be freer to move around by June. What a crock! Here we are in mid-July and the situation in Arizona is far worse, far less safe than it was. There are moments I want to scream like a banshee and run naked in the backyard (just kidding!) There are moments when I have to deep breathe (not kidding!) There are moments when the walls of our spacious home feel like they’re closing in on me. These moments remind me to invoke my superpowers.
Restriction has invited me to practice and perfect the powers of imagination, artmaking, reading, intuitive deepening and silence.
I’ve become quite a time and distance traveler! Early in the morning as the birds are waking up, my body is on my patio in Phoenix, but my imagination is in a cabin surrounded by towering oaks and pines on the Middle Fork River in West Virginia. It’s a cabin of my design, rustic, simple, with a breezy screened porch on the front overlooking the stone-bottomed river.
Sometimes I slip out and relax on a big old inner tube in the swimming hole right in front of the cabin. Iridescent blue, delicate dragonflies buzz around me. The air is fragrant with the scent of river, rock and natural musk. I do not allow horse flies into my reverie. The more I practice imaginary traveling, the better I am at it.
Art-making absorbs me for hours. Some people make art through gardening, building, painting, baking, singing…for me, it’s writing. I spend hours playing with words, free of any and all external restrictions, serving the muse.
Reading has been a portal to freedom since childhood. Escaping into other worlds, fictional or real, brings me deep joy. During the pandemic, I’ve deliberately stretched into unfamiliar worlds, for example, that of the urban Indian revealed in There, There, by Tommy Orange. It’s mind-blowing to see life through the eyes of someone whose experience of life is far removed from your own!
I’m also reading the hundreds of letters my first husband wrote to family while he was serving as a missionary deep in the jungles of the Philippines on the Island of Mindanao. Planes may not be flying, but I am.
I LOVE living intuitively…following an inner knowing about the next right thing to do, see or be. During this time of restriction, I’m checking in more frequently, noticing more quickly and becoming more aware of subtle guidance. Practice makes perfect.
Silence is an underrated super power. In the past four months, I’ve spent much more time in silence, sitting in the space of “no thought,” watching mental activity come up and move on. The busyness of my mind astonishes me and it’s quite refreshing to take frequent breaks from it all.
Come to think of it, while my physical body has felt restricted during this pandemic, my inner life has been anything but. In fact, I guess I’d say restriction has increased my freedom!
Copyright 2020: Linda Sandel Pettit, Ed.D.
Dr. Linda Sandel Pettit, a priestess-at-heart and retired counseling psychologist, can be found at www.thedrspettit.com. Linda loves putting her intuitive nature, spiritual understanding and clinical experience in service to others. She is available for on-line consultations. For information about fees and packages, visit BOOK NOW. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.