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Sunday , 12 December 2021

Pivoting back from a global pandemic

How a virus is saving us from ourselves

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Asther Bascuña Creo
Asther Creo is a writer based in Melbourne, Australia, where she’s lived for the last 15 years. Before that, she lived in Manila, Philippines, where she completed her Journalism degree from the University of the Philippines – Diliman. Asther works as communications professional in the daytime and is a mother to three and wife of a Catholic deacon. In November 2016, The Philippine Times published Asther’s first book Telling Stories. You can learn more about Asther on https://au.linkedin.com/in/asthercreo. Asther has been published in Kairos, Melbourne Catholic, Abbey of the Arts, and The Good Oil. She writes a column for The Philippine Times and has co-edited Climb the Mountain.

As I am writing this, I am sitting here in the quiet space of the kitchen. The birds have not yet begun to make noise. The garbage truck has not yet arrived for its usual 7am Tuesday collection schedule on my street. The soft tiptoe of my son has not yet landed on the hallway from his room. All I have is the noise I make with the keyboard of my laptop and the low hum of the heater in this cold winter morning. 

There is almost a complete silence that envelops this space and time.

But the kitchen where I am situated provides me with a busy visual – pots and pans drying on the counter, dirty glasses on the sink, and the cereal container still at the benchtop beside me, a remnant of the midnight snack I indulged in the previous night. 

It is messy, crazy, yet familiar – and intimately mine.

This is my pleasure source this Tuesday morning, surrounded by sights and sounds of my domestic bliss.

It was not this way before. Pre COVID-19, life was so much more fastpaced and hectic. There is no sitting around the kitchen bench scenario in the first hour of the morning. Surveying a messy kitchen was deemed too indulgent and counter-productive. Time was a limited resource and so meant going on full productivity mode upon the moment of waking.

But a virus, while affecting our lives in catastrophic proportions, has also given us permission to step back and consider life. 

I have sat in this kitchen bench a few times since, till light starts streaming in the gaps of the window blinds. I have woken from the reverie of writing to be surprised at the loudness of the birds out on the streets. I have let the mess in the kitchen accumulate to a manageable volume because there was time for it later. I have waved, smiled, chatted with neighbours because there was no hurry to be anywhere.

I have done work in the garden with my own hands and found beauty and life in nature. I have done my weekly shop with greater consideration, and have stopped to chat with my local vendors beyond the screen that protected them and me.

I have busied myself with family and home life and found great pleasure in doing so.

I have given space for myself in my day and found great peace in the process.

I have watched the news, read the literature, perused social media feeds and have found that others, like me, are discovering a gentler, kinder way to live.

Is this your experience also? How do we pivot back from a virus that has woken us up from the damaging way we have been living our lives? 

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