Back to "Normal"


My beautiful, magical carnations which give me joy a hundred times a day.

It is the end of April as I write this and in Lugano we have been on lockdown since 17 March. Various parts of the world are observing varying degrees of lockdown for varied time periods. Just a few days ago my American compatriots in some states were openly demonstrating to protect their rights to get haircuts and buy paint.

As I prefer to practice non-judgement, these demands did challenge me. Whatever one’s political views, religious beliefs, or even personal ideas about conspiracy theories – really paint and a haircut? Dare I say how lucky I am if these are my biggest worries.

One of my first videos was titled BE-ing in a global lockdown. While I academically get this idea, that who I am is the source of what I choose to do, it has been especially challenged during this time. As I observe the world around me there are a multitude of responses to having all this extra time on our hands. NOTE: IF we are among the lucky who have extra time on our hands. I imagine medical personnel and ‘essential’ workers may not be struggling with this existential issue.

Instagram is full of word porn about how “We got this, all those years of practice as a couch potato are about to pay off - now is our chance to stay in our pjs all day and watch Netflix”. Travel bloggers “ forced” to abandon their vans are retooling their videos to survival back in home country. Who is “taking this chance” to learn a new language, a new skill, write that book, etc. etc.?

As a recovering “doer”, there have been some serious bumps in my lockdown road. Mornings when I woke up feeing like nothing I could possibly “do” would make a difference. From my first morning breathe I was faced with the idea that life was/is empty and meaningless, and my first instinct was to fill it with meaning. Then I took a second breathe and remembered, yes life is empty and meaningless, and this is the freedom of it all. What I “do” is only as valuable as the point of its origin, the intention behind the doing – my being.

A few days into the local lockdown I came across this story:

You are holding a cup of coffee when someone comes along and bumps into you or shakes your arm, making you spill your coffee everywhere.

Why did you spill the coffee?

"Because someone bumped into me!!!"

Wrong answer.

You spilled the coffee because there was coffee in your cup.

Had there been tea in the cup, you would have spilled tea.

*Whatever is inside the cup is what will spill out.*

Therefore, when life comes along and shakes you (which WILL happen), whatever is inside you will come out. It's easy to fake it, until you get rattled.

So we have to ask ourselves... “what's in my cup?"*

When life gets tough, what spills over?

Joy, gratefulness, peace and humility?

Anger, bitterness, harsh words and reactions?

Life provides the cup, YOU choose how to fill it.

Today let's work towards filling our cups with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for others

For me, this story is the crux of what it means to live in conscious choice. Choosing my response to any given situation. In these days this story is a poignant and playful reminder for me to focus on who I am in the lockdown, and beyond. At the end of the day, what I radiate out into the world is what matters. That people feel good about themselves during, and after, having a visit with me, this is my wish. They need not be able to say why, or even really consciously notice, as long as I know I beam out gratitude and love. This is what I want to take with me back into “normal”.

Wishing all cups full with gratitude, forgiveness, joy, words of affirmation; and kindness, gentleness and love for yourself and others.

© 2023 by NICOLE CRABTREE