The Support of the Ordinary, Reprise

I did a blog post on the support of the ordinary back in November of 2018. I had been at Kendal for about a year.  Here’s a paragraph:

Erica has been telling me that I will begin to get a sense of how ordinary things are part of the support, and something I can enjoy.  When she said it I reacted with “Ordinary?  That’s boring.”  For a long time I’ve had a lot of trouble enjoying anything.  I know that the ability to enjoy depends on brain chemistry, but it also seems to depend on whether I’m feeling safe.  If I’m not feeling safe, then ordinary, everyday things can’t get through, only very big, intense things register on my consciousness.  I’m missing the blazing colors of fall north of the Notch, of having the mountains be part of everyday things, of having magical Neskaya and soul nourishing circle dance regularly available.  But when I had those things, I wasn’t supported enough to keep going on the practical level.  I was too much alone.  Shopping, cooking, cleaning house, scraping snow off the car, etc. were too difficult.

Something that Erica pointed out to me when I first moved to Kendal was how I would begin to feel the support of ordinary life in a community.  I was really beginning to discover the truth of that just before the pandemic hit.  I even remember being able to feel a sense of energetic connection.

Then, because of the social distancing, especially when in quarantine or when the whole community was in lockdown, I started finding it harder and harder to be alone.  Because I was traumatized by being left alone as an infant, being too much alone can trigger feelings of being very isolated and helpless.  This has gotten worse and worse as the months went on, and finally I have started having episodes when I feel totally disconnected from everything and life is totally meaningless.  I also feel helpless to do things I need to do, like making appointments for medical checkups.  Even brushing Mocha has become difficult.  I don’t feel “terror through the roof” which I have felt in the past, somehow this helplessness and meaninglessness feel worse.  I realize I simply can’t explain it adequately in words.

Then they started allowing us to have dinner together at small tables set far apart. Only a third of the community could do this at one time, everyone else had to get meals to take out.  After my first meal with four friends, eating together in the body, with masks off, I felt “three-dimensional.”  But I didn’t attempt to make it happen.  Having to ask someone and make a reservation felt too difficult, and I didn’t think it was that important.  But when I started feeling so disconnected and meaningless, I thought I’d better make some attempt.  I asked one friend, and we just met outside the dining room and started a four-person table, just like the old “open table” where you could sit whenever you got there and leave when you were ready.  Two people we knew joined us, and we even managed to have some interesting conversation.  The next time, feeling scared, I sat with someone I barely new, and it was fine.

Now I wonder if this “support of the ordinary” is what people mean by their “comfort zone.”  Something I don’t remember ever having except when I was in a community that felt safe.

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