A Lockdown Retreat

It is day 45 of Melbourne’s second lockdown. The skies are grey and heavy rain is forecast for later. I’m sitting on a red meditation cushion which my friend Rosie made for me, and which I filled with specially ordered Australian Buckwheat husks from New South Wales. I made another cushion from blue curtain material, but since I needed to hand sew it the stitching didn’t turn out as well. That doesn’t matter though right? The purpose of a cushion is to be sat upon, not to be admired for fine embroidery.

Meditation Cushion
Handmade cushion

Soon I’ll start my daily lockdown routine. This consists of 27 minutes of yoga, following a youtube teacher in Texas. Then it’s on to a 20 minute meditation session, using the Headspace App. For this I sit the red pillow – the one with machined stitching. The App has goals in it, like showing total minutes meditated and what my run streak of days is. Strictly speaking I don’t need these sorts of incentives as I’ve been practicing for a few years now. I have enough discipline to just get on with it. But still, it’s nice to be guided through a practice, so I’m happy to pay for a subscription. After this I’ll write something up in my daily journal and listen to the next episode of the Philosophize This! podcast.
This Podcast goes through the teachings of some of the greatest thinkers who ever lived, from the ancient world, through the Enlightenment and upon to modern times. It covers ethics, epistemology (the theory of knowledge), political philosophy, consciousness and just about every subject in between. All presented in a wholesome and humorous way. Each 30 minute episode is like a high dosage shot of intellectual stimulation, injected directly into the brain. Coupled with the yoga, the meditation and a morning coffee it’s more than enough to stave of any feelings of boredom or mild depression that lockdown might normally induce.
For the rest of the day I’m either painting the interior of our house or exercising or programming. The programming is a self interest project and involves learning Swift, a language that Apple is now using for all its software. More that that in another blog post, when the project has progressed a little further. For exercise I head to a local velodrome and cycle 50 laps. This takes about 30 minutes and keeps me within the 60 minute of light exercise lockdown restriction imposed by the authorities here in Melbourne.
The point of all this routine is that it’s a way to cope with being stuck in one of the world’s longest running lockdowns. For the past six months us Melburnians have been in under form of restriction and many families, particularly those with kids and without an income, have been doing it really tough. I’ve been lucky to be able to ride this out and try to turn it into a positive experience. A lockdown retreat, of sorts.
That said, I can’t wait till it’s all over and I can get back on the bike again.


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