And then there was Zoom…
1 AM and the little device illuminating the skin on my thumb with a red glow, almost from within, vibrated against my face where my hand lay across the forehead in my slumber.
I haven’t checked the records, but I’m pretty sure this means that my blood oxygen levels were dropping below 88%. The vibrations had been coming for some time I think, but this time I actually stirred into wakefulness.
There it was, 1 AM and me, again not asleep. “I’m not waking up now.” I thought with determination. Oh if wishing made it so.
The hours began to trip slowly by. By good fortune and the previous days exhaustion I had turned in early so could now count at least three hours of sleep for the night, any additional hours would be bonus at this point.
I sat up and returned to a guided meditation that had worked well for me the day before (to meditate, not to sleep ;-). That went well and I lay back down to see if sleep was anywhere in the vicinity. It wasn’t.
I sat up again and did the next meditation in the series, more success. At least this was going well. I lay back down, doing my due diligence to make sure sleep hadn’t crept into the bed and was left wanting on my pillow. It hadn’t.
Next I turned to listening to an audio chapter in my friend’s book. A nice cross-section of human frailty and divine wisdom. 30 minutes later, the chapter came to an end.
“Sleep?” I asked…
Not just yet… 5 AM was approaching.
Some while later I noticed strange images in my awareness and realized that I was starting to tip into a dream – “this means sleep!” I thought, excitedly. I checked… Over here, awake, over here, dreaming… Repeat. Like a child hopping back and forth across a crack in the sidewalk I explored this threshold for a moment, almost not trusting that sleep was possible. It was.
And before 5 AM I thought, smiling to myself. 🙂
10 AM was the days first appointment so I would need to rouse myself by 8 AM to make the call. Caitlin texted, “a few minutes late,” she said – “I’ll be there in 10.” The chime of the text message coming in woke me.
“Perfect.” I thought, noticing I was a little groggy, but not entirely lost for rest.
Caitlin and I decided to make it a dance party morning and put the music library on shuffle, anything by the band Journey. We laughed, singing along behind our generic facemasks as she took my body through the motions of range and stretching, the eventual bowel cleansing, and skincare.
15 minutes to spare and I was at the desk ready to host the first meeting of our new Care Field Collective, Cassandra, myself, and Caitlin meeting with our new collaborators, Caroline, Courtney, and Britni. These meetings have of course traditionally been done in the living room, but today in honor of the tone of things, we opted for a meeting in cyberspace.
Prior to now, all of the interactions with our new friends have come in the context of one-on-one or three together in the training context. Today was the first opportunity we had to really start to taste the culture of the six of us together (seven of course as we honored the presence in spirit of David in our midst.)
Caitlin and Caroline were meeting for the first time today, the former having been raised on a farm, and the latter now a farmer herself, the synergy was sparklers. Each member of this new collective brings a unique, but distinct, quality of earnestness, positivity, and wisdom. As mentioned, I’ve known each of them one-on-one, but sensing the emergent synergy left me in a state of tearful gratitude by the end of our 90 minutes together.
By the end of the call we had in the making a plan for collective food sharing, a small worm farm, and a process to share some small bits of the wisdom generated in our container with the wider world. Death had entered the conversation, as well as had new life. The spectrum from the mundane to the sacred reached, I could wish nothing more from our engagement and we look forward with great patience and love for future circles of this remarkable crew.
Finishing that I had just a few minutes before the next call with my comrades from the Project Apollo initiative – this one was scheduled to run for four more hours and I was confident that I would step out somewhere before the end. I didn’t.
As the conversation carried on, I found myself simply re-intrigued with each passing moment. At times I had to dim the volume and tear myself away for a few minutes at a time to attend to the various items of the day that would refuse procrastination, and each time I returned eagerly to find more exciting insights, developments, and raw human expression in our collective quest to nurture the future of medicine.
As the minutes rolled by and I found myself feeling closer to new friends and old alike, and resourced in my appreciation and commitment to the project, I kept having to make little adjustments to my planned schedule for the day, triaging various tasks into the weekend, and lumping others that would need to be addressed before sunset today.
Four hours later and it was still, “just one more thing…” By now I was completely surrendered and delighted with the process. In the last hour I had recognized the importance of bringing Courtney into the field of this call as the content of so much to do with the context and initiative of our MettaCare work and Courtney has been growing day by day closer to that.
Finishing with the cohort, Courtney and I turned to a discussion of the various aspects she had just witnessed, and how it intersected with the fundamental nature of our work within these four walls. Having never worked in the space of caregiving before, she had the lovely privilege of realizing, it’s not like this everywhere there is a need for care. Therein lies the motivation for our work.
A few more folks have been moved to contribute to the campaign to continue these efforts and I spent a little time this evening in the pleasure of thank you letters. I also began the relatively simple process of cutting a video for publication from yesterday’s morning conversation, Reflections in the time of Covid-19.
I am feeling the effects of my reduced hours of rest, at the same time I’m feeling as in the words of Lao Tzu…
“Being loved deeply gives you strength… Loving someone deeply gives you courage.”
Speaking of strength, it is Tyler’s love to encourage me that gives me the strength, and loving those with whom I work and those that we might serve, that gives me the courage to invite you now to consider joining the community of support at our fundraising page here!
God gets to know things, we just get to ask questions…