"I'd like to be under the sea." Ringo Starr

Day 11 (of quarantine in Canada) 

“I’d like to be under the sea in an octopus’ garden in the shade”. 

I’m sitting here in my boathouse in Barrie on Day Eleven of my quarantine. My gracious sister has decked the place out with cozy candles, new bedding, a sweet little kitchen area and best of all, a record player and some of Dad’s old records. I've been listening to Abbey Road a few times...still SUCH a classic. Apparently Ringo Starr wrote that song as a response to what was happening in his band (The Beatles were the band by the way, and if you didn’t know this, I’m not entirely sure why and how we are friends, but that’s okay): complete and utter chaos. He simply wanted to escape the drama of what was happening with the band: communication issues, egos, jealousy, anger, miscommunication. I get it. 

I feel like for the past year and eight months, I had the good fortune of escaping chaos and crazy of the recent/present times, living under the sea in my own octopus’ garden in the shade. Well okay, it wasn’t actually under the sea, but it was often right beside the sea, and the garden was actually a jungle, and yes, but true to the song, there were times in the shade. Having been based in Costa Rica for the whole “pandemic” which I deem to be a “plandemic” of sorts, (potentially more on that in subsequent posts) was a blessing of which I’m fully aware. I’m not going to get into all the different theories, assessments and my personal views as to my take on what’s happening right now, rather, I want to connect with you all, and not create more division. We’ve got enough of that as it is. 

Now I want to stress that although I was in the tropics, it was not paradise all the time. I dealt with a lot of jungle-related skin issues such as flesh eating parasites, staph infections and other sorts of funguses that my delicate Canadian skin and constitution simply could not withstand. I had an ear infection that refused to vamoose for about four months due to the humidity and my resistance to antibiotics. That being said, I did retain a great tan and when my hair started to grow back after shaving it all off, it seemed to lose all of its previous gray. It was actually a really beautiful time. While my loved ones were in lockdown I was esctatic dancing and playing music, and I don’t think I really grasped the collective trauma of what was happening here in Canada until I returned. I can actually feel it. Why did I leave many people are asking me, and I can only answer that I was called to come back. Ernest Holmes wrote, “Nature will not let us stay in any one place too long. She will let us stay just long enough to gather the experience necessary for the unfolding and advancement of the soul.” And so, I feel like I’ve gathered a lot and it’s time to be back in Canada right now, despite the challenges. 

If one were to look at my quarantine situation now at the boathouse one might think that once again, I find myself in paradise. And yes, on the outset, it would seem that way. However, looking more closely one would find that the roof is leaking, and that on Day One of arriving, along came the rains. Apparently it hadn’t rained here in six weeks. Literally, every conversation I’d have with Dad over the past couple of months would contain a detailed weather report. He actually is really interested in the weather...it’s not just small talk. Every chat would go something like this: “Hey Dad, how are you?” to which he’d reply, “I’m okay, but Christ, do we ever need rain.” I’d try and steer the topic to something I find more interesting like food and offer, “What are you having for dinner tonight?” and he’d respond with, “Oh I don’t know, I wanted to go to No Frills today to pick up some stuff for salad but it was so hot. You know we haven’t had any rain here in about a month. A MONTH! Christ, we need rain badly.” It seems like I’m his good luck charm because as soon as I touched down in Canada, the next day it started down-pouring. And the heat wave was put on hold too. There are some days down here recently that I’m wearing a touque (that’s a warm winter hat for all you non-Canucks) 2 pairs of leggings, 2 sweaters and my sister’s light purple large linen bath robe. And on my feet I’ve got Totes socks that are sticking to the large green Crocs that my Dad loaned me. I kind of look a strange female variation of Jeff Bridge’s character The Dude, except I’m carrying around a mug of green tea or cacao as opposed to Kahlua. My hair is just as unkept and greasy as his though, because I can’t go in the lake right now. Me...the dolphin who LIVES to swim has to stay out of the water while an erupted cyst on my shoulder heals. I thought that my skin things would be over once I left the tropics. Guess again. I’m breathing deeply. A lot. 

I’ve had the government call and leave messages that they are going to possibly arrest me for non-compliance and then when they put me through with a real person to talk with, the call has dropped. Twice. There was a miscommunication whereby I hit the number 2 instead of 1 on my phone during a questionnaire call because my new Samsung phone’s fonts are too tiny for me to read, and I couldn’t find my glasses in time during the call. To try to call back and reach anyone is futile, unless you want to spend hours on hold listening to shitty music interspersed with threats in both English and French. I prefer Abbey Road, thank you very much. I have indeed “complied” in terms of quarantining alone, doing two tests and sending them in and reporting every day on my symptoms or lack thereof. This is not the Canada that I left in November of 2019. And yet, within this chaos and despite the fear-provoking measures that are taking place around me, I am still finding moments of gratitude to be here. A few days ago (during a storm and experiencing PMS) I questioned why I left my octopus’ garden in the shade in Costa Rica, but the sentiment was dispelled quickly when I think about actually hugging my sister for the first time in almost two years on Sunday, and seeing all of my family members on Mum’s side at a reunion up north. I plan to visit and reconnect with dear friends and loved ones while I’m here, and enjoying the beauty of Canadian summer, with all of its extremes and uncertainties. I simply miss my peeps and am happy that I’ll be seeing them in the flesh. 

The past eleven days has been a true testament to my spiritual practices I’ve developed over the past 20 years. Namely, my relationship with equanimity and the ability to respond to situations and events with a neutral mind. I awoke this morning after a deluge of rain all night to various pools of water on the floor (after the roofer was here yesterday and “fixed” it), wind whipping in the screens and the temperature deemed that I put back on The Dude outfit after yesterday’s sauna. Instead of going into “What-the-Fuck-am-I-Doing-Here?! mode, I bundled up, made a smoothie and found gratitude in the efficacy of the kick-ass blender I have here. My blender in Costa Rica sucked. I looked in my fridge at all the organic eats I have, and am grateful for the nourishing lunch and dinner I’ll make. Dad has been dropping off food for me, and even though it pains him to buy organic which he thinks, “is a bunch of bullshit and it’s just overpriced”, he’s doing it. He’s helping to take care of me. With this gratitude in mind, I woke up, got outta bed, put the touque back on my head (yes, I’ve been listening to a lot of the Beatles this week)....then made a cuppa. The warm mug in my hands made me smile, and I realize that I have indeed missed Canada. I kind of missed being a bit chilly when I was there for so long and missed all the changes of seasons. Today I look out at Lake Simcoe, and am grateful that I am here (even if I can’t swim in it right now), and not in an octopus’ garden.    

There may be chaos going on around me, but I am in control of what is going on inside me. I continue to lean into the love during these times. As I roll into the last few days of my psuedo-Vipassana retreat/quarantine I accept all that is and relish these days of contemplation, integration of the last year and a half and am invoking my imagination, dreaming up what I want to see next in my life. It’s exciting times. 

As always, I thank you for continuing along this journey and camino with me. 
Love and Light, 
Sarah xo 

Question for You: How have You dealt with fear and isolation this past year and a half?

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