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The Storming Bohemian Punks The Muse: Covid Edition #37 – “We Are Making Our Way Through the Crises”

Written on 9-03-20.

I got up this morning at 5:15, when my alarm rang. It was a good start to the day. I made my way to the bathroom without any problem. I took care of my morning hygiene and medicine routine. Then I made the bed, arranged the lighting in my bedroom and office, lit some candles, and incense, and at 6 o’clock sharp (relying on an alarm) settled down for fifteen minutes of meditation.

I am making my way through the crises. Not for me the sleeping in, the bouts of depression, the overeating, all the COVID co-morbidities that spring from this shitstorm of American chickens coming home to roost.  Let others go under. I take care of myself. I brush my teeth. I burn the damn incense. I start the day with meditation.

I sit quietly and begin watching my breath. A few breaths in I notice my roommate has turned on his computer to watch the morning news. It feels like someone has snuck up behind me and shoved a syringe of adrenalin into my buttocks. My heart rate pumps higher. My breath turns choppy. I notice my jaw is clenched. But still I sit unmoving at the oak desk remembering to smell the incense. Leaning into it, as they say.

Breathe in. I hate that fucking computer. Breathe out. Why can’t he wait until I’m done meditating? Breathe in. What does the noise mean? It means nothing. Breathe out. What am I doing? I’m meditating. Breathe in. My jaw begins to unclench. The heartbeat slows. I am aware of my breath. The tension floats out of my body like clouds being blown out of a sky, leaving only the blue.

Ahhhhhh. I am making my way through the crises. I am okay. Hell, I’m a fucking saint, goddamnit.

Oops! Breathe in. Breathe out.

The gong rings. Fifteen minutes.

But I’m not done yet. No half measures for me. If I’m gonna meditate, I might as well hedge my bets and pray. It’s only 6:15. Lots of time left in the day.

Oh, God, that’s true. Time. Lots of it. I am making my way through the crises.

“Oh, God, come to my assistance. O Lord, make haste to help me.”

You see, along with my meditation practice, I just happen to be an oblate of a Benedictine monastery which means, among other things, I pray Lauds every morning. Most mornings. Well, some mornings. Well, today.

So: Off I swim into a sea of Psalms.

I love this,actually. Singing to myself in the morning. Knowing that monks all over the world are singing the same words, the same melodies, at the same time. One or two, perhaps, have a passing thought of me as I of them. The rhythm is slow, the melodies enchant. I am in a world of stories, where God is just, and evildoers fall, where a mighty Father/Mother hastens to help me, to draw me from the deadly pit, forgive my guilt, show me compassion and love. “I will make music,” I sing. “I will make music to my God while I live.”

No, I’m not a conventional believer, but, heck, these days it beats the hell out of the New York Times, I can tell ya that.

At 7:15 I’m done. Meditated and prayed up good, I feel well oiled and prepared to face the day. All pumped up, but nowhere to go.

I will write a bit. I’ll spend a bunch of time on FB. I’ll get mad at my bank and yell at the customer service staff over the telephone: “FUCK THIS! You can’t keep me from my GODDAMN MONEY. I don’t CARE what the rule is; this is some fucking BULLSHIT.”

I won’t feel good about it, but hell, you can’t make music to your God every fucking moment of every fucking day, can you?

On FB, I read about the lawyer for Kyle Rittenhouse (young hydrated Kyle, a friend calls him, remembering how the police officers at the riot thanked him for being there and gave him a water bottle before he killed two people — one of them bravely trying to disarm Kyle of his rifle with no weapon other than a skateboard). The lawyer compared Rittenhouse to patriot soldiers of the American Revolution.

I am strangled by rage, flummoxed by empathy and compassion, sickened by the times, breathing smoke from the fires. I pace through my rooms. Drink coffee from bookstore mug (“Books you don’t need in a place you can’t find”) and sticky kitchen floor choose a banana over the Hostess Snowballs in the cabinet. Into the studio trip on the threshold charcoal dust the first lines of a new painting look lonely. Look out the window smoky sky ash on the stairway I might never go down today. Probably stay inside.

I take actions that seem useless. Later, this afternoon, perhaps, I’ll make a video for “Writers Against Trump.” This organization, which I learned of on You Tube from poet activist Carolyn Forche, encourages writers to post videos in which they explain why they are opposing Trump. It doesn’t seem like much. But we all must do what we can.

We all MUST do what we can, making our way through the crises.