Often if I am searching for a topic for my blog, the topic finds me. We have all been greatly impacted by the global pandemic in one way or another. I acknowledge the individual and collective pains people are feeling. Not able to find comfort in our regular routines, we reach for an escape, something to take us out of this world. If only we could disengage from our horrible entanglement with society in which we have lost our safety, our direction. The hubris and mismanagement of this pandemic by elected officials looms even larger under the microscope of our criticisms as many of us are home and have extended time to be drawn into social media and news outlets. The horrible news, the uncertain future is in our face constantly and may be the last thing we think about at night and the first thing we think about in the morning. One of my friends and I were discussing this last week and she said, " I wish I could just go live off the grid for a few months until this is over." I totally get it. I have often fantasized about those mountain retreats when the world becomes crazy.
After a few moments of reflection, I had an answer for both of us. IF THE FLORIDA UNEMPLOYMENT SYSTEM TAKES ANY LONGER TO PAY US OUR UNEMPLOYMENT BENEFITS, WE SHALL BE UNABLE TO AFFORD TO PAY OUR RENT AND UTILITIES AND THEREFORE, OSTENSIBLY, WILL BE LIVING OFF THE GRID! I offer you the following proposal.: Why go looking for a piece of ground on which to squat perhaps illegally, when you are already covered by the CARES act to not be evicted from your current dwelling if you can no longer afford to pay rent or mortgage? You want to feel the heat of the noon sun beating on you under the dubious shelter of a palm tree in some cow pasture? Why not just enjoy the 105 degree temperature in your apartment home when your electric gets shut off? It will be totally up to you, but you could run around naked. and not get mosquito bites. You can still hand wash your clothes in cold water and hang them festively outside in a tree or on your balcony. You can collect pails of rainwater to flush your toilet or use the conventionally available cold water with which you will be showering. I trust everyone reading this already has plenty of toilet paper. Load up on candles and read a book near a window until the sun goes down, enjoying the 5 degree difference in your squatter's habitat. Smart place to be when it rains, too. Your pantry will still be moderately protected from large predators like bears and raccoons, though you may still get to experience an increase in roaches and ants as a result of not being able to afford pest control services. Devising ways to get rid of them can be a new activity. Your phone won't ring, the TV and internet will not bring you any more disturbing images of the chaos outside. There you will be: No utilities, no connection to the world, all alone, deciding what you want to do with your wild self, living off the grid. What about food? Well, with no refrigeration or ways to cook indoors, I would suggest you explore the option of getting a small grill for your balcony or parking lot, you will not be able to store perishables, and will have to make daily trips to the grocery (walking, please). No credit cards, only cash, because you are living off the grid. If you are really invested in being a survivalist, try your hand at growing some vegetables either inside your home , balcony or yard. They only take 65 to 85 days from seed to harvest, about the same time it takes to receive an unemployment check from the State of Florida after you apply. IF and only IF you can survive like this for three to four months and it doesn't bother you, you may be a candidate for that mountain retreat!
So, my friends, sit tight, stay strong. ESCAPE INTO YOURSELF. Look inside your soul for internal resources like resiliency, a sense of humor, and creativity. Remember who you were when you were a child and think about your dreams. Are you living them? Is there something you wish was different about your life right now BESIDES the circumstances related to this pandemic? What hobbies have you neglected? Are there new job skills you could gain during this down time? Who do you need to forgive for something? Is it yourself? Have you allowed yourself to cry lately? You are in survival mode right now already.. There is no need to run and there really isn't anyplace to go away from this virus and disorder. Make the most of your resources and emerge on that mountaintop, finding that you have built a fortress inside, a retreat that will always protect you from the world.
I am placing a link for you here to a wonderful resource energized by my friend Karen Wright. Her mindfulness meditations and practices may help you during this difficult time. Peace be with you, Maryah Www.PauseBreatheProceed.com