ALCHEMY OF WORDS
ALCHEMY OF WORDS
There is always a lot of talk around these so-called super moons to "harness" their power. Line up your chakras, call in your spirit guides, and make sure you are manifesting your highest and best future.
I don't know about you, but that always seems like another thing I've got to make sure I not only make time for, but that I get just right. I nearly always end up feeling like I have fallen short somehow, missed a golden opportunity to finally fix all those broken knobs and blown out circuits in my life.
And in the middle of this global pandemic, that's the last thing we need. I mean, we already have to don mini hazmat suits and stand in line in the rain in the grocery store parking lot for a slim chance we'll be able to get some toilet paper for the week, with the threat of actual death looming all around us. And that's just one tiny bit of the daily upheaval. And on top of everything we are prohibited from turning to our tribe for the physical comfort of their company.
Liz Gilbert said something once that I have always found to be true. It is that when you are at your lowest, that is when you will also have to be your strongest. Because likely there will be no one there to pull you out of whatever existential vortex you find yourself. You will have to reach down and find some unknown, untapped vault of strength, pull it up and be your own hero.
So by the power vested in me, I hereby grant every one of you permission to let yourselves unravel. Or as I've said before, go ahead, fall the fuck apart. But when you're done with that, you are going to have to reach down and pull out some of the hidden joy you have unwittingly locked away in your hearts.
And after that, get out a piece of paper and a pen and make yourself a new list. (I know, by now you've got a mess of them scattered around the counters of your house.) But this one will be just for Things To Do While on Pandemic House Arrest.
Here are some ideas:
1. Get the fuck out of your house. (Safely.) I know what Samuel L. Jackson said. But for the moment, fuck that. I'm not saying go hang out with a bunch of people. I'm saying go to the woods, the river, the lake, the mountain, the park, or just around the block.
2. Make art. Any kind, really. It definitely does not have to be good. (Although, good art cannot be undervalued.) But really, you've got some time. You can get better at whatever you do. Still, good is not the point. Work on it. See what else is inside you.
3. Move your body. Somehow, someway, pretty much everyday. Do something. Walk, ride, run, swim, bike, yoga, dance. You can definitely do this.
4. Reach out. I'm going to say to at least 3 people a day who don't live with you. It'll make you feel better. It'll make them feel better. Old friends. New friends. Former lovers. Single people trapped at home alone. People trapped with their families. You know. Everyone.
5. Goof off. Really. I mean productivity is one thing, but I spent most of the last weekend cleaning and painting the baseboards and some kitchen cabinets. Start to finish. And when all was said and done, and everything was painted and sparkling fresh, I was way less fulfilled than you'd think.
6. Read. Gloriously, indulgently satisfying. I promise you won't want to stop once you dig in (especially if you hunker down with a blanket, something to drink, and a fire if you have the ability).
7. Take a bath. Pretty self-explanatory. And you're probably overdue.
8. Color your nails. (No matter your gender.)
9. Make a fire. I may have referenced this earlier. Book or not, this is a good use of time.
10. Try new recipes. Brush up on those kitchen skills. Get creative. Feed your cravings. (It doesn't have to be great the first time. Few things are.)
11. Write a poem. Go ahead. No one needs to know. Unless its good. Then share it. Otherwise, keep trying.
12. Make popcorn. On the stove.
13. Watch the sunrise. (You can do this everyday!)
14. Listen to birds sing. They're pretty happy right now.
15. Stare awhile outside at things you never stop to watch.
16. Go to bed early. (This makes number 13 easier to do.)
17. Watch feel-good movies, like The Restoration with Robert Downey Jr. (You have the popcorn.) Just do it. You'll thank me.
18. Apply for new jobs.
19. Learn guitar.
20. Goof off. (Again.)
21. Practice Meditation.
22. Read more.
23. Eat cereal. For dinner if you want.
24. Wear pajamas all day. (You're probably already doing this.)
25. Get dressed up.
26. Hand write letters to people.
27. Tear up all the lists you made 3 weeks ago.
28. Go for a neighborhood walk. Wave to your neighbors. Say Hi.
30. Learn something new.
31. Re-watch your favorite movies. (You have more popcorn.)
32. Look at the sky.
33. Plant flowers.
Be well. Take care of yourselves. Check in on each other.
* * * *
Thomas Lloyd Qualls is a writer, a condition that is apparently incurable.
Painted Oxen, his award-winning second novel, is available here:
You can sign up for these posts here: