Okay, time to confess. I binged watched all five seasons of Outlander (which takes place in the mid 1700s in Scotland, France and America) over these last three months.
From 10pm-midnight I was rapt, on my computer while tucked in my bed (exciting life I lead, I know). And when I wasn’t watching Outlander before I fell asleep, I was reading about Eleanor of Aquitaine from 800 years ago or reading the book Sapiens.
Clearly, there was a lot of walking or horseback riding across moors, plains and fields in my dreams.
Think of it – for thousands of years of human cultural history, save for the last 120 years or so, we walked or rode horses to get places on land. And we still traveled places far across the continents. It just took time.
I thought about Jackson Hole homesteaders who spent three days to get here over a high mountain pass from Victor, ID – a trip that now takes about 40 minutes by car, even in snow.
And in addition to how much longer things took, in many cultures, people still put a day a week aside for reflection and quiet connection. Now, I know I’m being a bit Pollyannaish, as daily life was physically hard and a day of rest wasn’t always as serene as I’d like to imagine – but there was the commitment and the space to slow down and connect into something within, something beyond the busyness of the external show. And, there was a pulse and a connection to nature that we don’t have today as we often spend more time in our cars than outside in nature.
This Covid virus has shifted and awakened us to so many things. As we carefully (hopefully) begin to return to our daily routines, how can we remember the ancestral pace of life that still runs in our veins? What would it look like to walk more places or build in a day of quiet and reflection? What would it feel like to just “be” more, not because of social distancing, but because there might be a part of each of us that longs for some creative space to dream and just allow without immediate action. Who knows what ideas might emerge, what curiosity might say – let alone allowing the health benefits of some spaciousness to calm and strengthen our nervous systems.
History is a powerful teacher. As humans we’ve gone through meteoric shifts of speed and movement in the last century. Covid is giving us pause. Let us not lose the lessons of this pause. We have the ability to choose how fast we want the merry-go-round of life to spin. As we allow ourselves space, we awaken curiosity. We see nuance in a way we can’t if we’re just speeding by. We remember what’s important.