Since the pandemic came to town, nothing’s been the same. Most mornings, I wake up, get out of bed and stand on my head. Even if dawn has barely broken, and this island still teeters on the rim of darkness, it seems like the sanest way to greet the world each day – as topsy-turvy as all the ones that came before it, and as incomprehensible as those waiting in the wings.
Still in pajamas, or perhaps already in yoga gear, I kick my legs up for five minutes or more. I let the blood flood my head. It’s a visceral craving, this flipping upside down; grounding my corpus colossum and acclimating to the weird vibes of the coming hours. I’ve learned to expect the unexpected; as a result, I’m never disappointed.
Everything these past few months has seemed so vague, fuzzy, as possible as impossible, and far outside the box. How is it that I can parachute myself into people’s homes, for yoga and dance and art and theater; for a heart to heart chat with strangers? How do I suddenly find myself listening in on an intimate conversation between a global music icon and her therapist.. only to then be invited into that therapist’s realm, each week, to hear her recite pearls of wisdom? Or to be introduced to a brilliant woman with a doctorate whom I’ve never met before, but who now stares out into the world, and amplifies human truths from deep inside her heart, only inches away from my face?
Who ever imagined we’d be watching late night show hosts broadcasting from their basements, studies and garages, their hair off-kilter, and their kids or wives subbing for camerawomen and producers? Or that we’d see Oprah cook a meal in slippers? Or that Breonna and BLM would grab hold, front and center, of our collective consciousness?
We’ve been pulled towards diametrically opposing extremities of existence, to the furthest reaches of creation. All of them, always, inextricably linked. Births have continued unabated, unstoppable miracles that reaffirm nature’s insistence, and that no virus can tamper with. One high school friend, anxious about her daughter’s pregnancy, recently became a grandmother. Another, whose husband was tragically killed in a boating accident more than a week ago, appeared with her children clothed in black and white, when, from halfway around the world, I was able to ‘attend’ the live-streamed funeral. All of it: Impossibly dreamlike, impossible to fathom.
Every day, more now than ever before, I have no clue what awaits me. Basil and mint plants, on the verge of certain death, now replanted and recovering; will they, or won’t they? Monsoon downpours, smack-dab in the middle of dry season. Masks, no masks. My father, still roller-coasting through one episode of un-wellness after another, for all these months (pandemic-related, no doubt). And the Governor of Bali, who recently held an auspicious Pemahayu Jagat ceremony at the Mother Temple (Besakih), welcomed “Bali’s New Era of Tourism” by introducing ‘Protocols for Living in the New Era,’ – and noted that a plague of leprosy afflicted the island in 1599 AD.
What to do when every day feels more freakish than the one preceding it? My head spins. My soul quivers. My spirit sinks, then awakens. Only my body, upended, inverts to mercifully save me from the dizzying day ahead.