Hemmed In

Giant young woman trapped in small room
Meg Hirshberg Profile Picture Meg Cadoux

“Hemmed in” best describes how I—and am sure many of you—feel right now. Between Covid restrictions and the onset of winter here in New England, my world has shrunk considerably. I got to thinking about hems in general, which led me to remember the frequent tussles I used to have with my mother, as a young teen, about my hemlines. The shorter the hem, the more that was, ahem, revealed. 

As our worlds shrink, and our usual sources of stimuli (other people, new places, time in the outdoors) are reduced, our newly hemmed-in lives can prove very revealing indeed. Personally, without my normal distractions, I have been forced to confront some basic habits that need changing. 

One is my lack of discipline around maintaining a fitness regimen. I’ve decided to work on fixing that, though it’s a little tougher to do while we’re stuck indoors. Since it can take weeks to form a new habit, I’ve committed to a 30-day online yoga class (the yoga class is free–link below). To raise my heart rate, I’m getting on the exercise bike for 20 minutes a day.  (If you don’t have any machines to help raise your heart rate, try jumping rope or repeated squats, if you are physically able. Of course getting outside for a walk that includes hills is ideal, if you live in a climate that makes that appealing.)

My newly-confined world has also led to an increased sensitivity to those few folks I do interact with.  I’ve found myself turning to our Mindset module for practices that help reduce reactivity to others—to their stray comments or even facial expressions. I’m trying to literally take a breath before responding in challenging situations, while repeating a mantra to myself: “Go easy. Everyone is having a hard time right now.”

What is being revealed to YOU right now, as our collective world shrinks? What rough areas need smoothing out, which habits need changing?  Our lives may have contracted, but they don’t need to feel diminished. These challenging times can allow us to bring some focus, curiosity and determination to ways we’d like our lives to change. In the process, we just might wind up feeling some small measure of gratitude for what this hemmed-in life has revealed—in a way that even a mother could love.

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