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COVID-19 has its own syndromes not the least of which is survival with the same person 24/7.

COVID-19 has its own syndromes not the least of which is survival with the same person 24/7.

So what do the experts think and who are the experts.

The Times suggests Nuns.

I normally link only or quote but given the pervasive result of lockdown I trust The Times will permit an exception with full attribution.

The Times Apr 20th, 2020

How to survive lockdown, by the nuns who do it 24/7

You may be climbing the walls after a few weeks inside, but for enclosed nuns this is a way of life — so what can we learn from them?
April 19 2020, The Times
If the past few weeks have had you praying for divine intervention . . . well, that would be rather fitting. Because while life in lockdown may be a whole new experience for most of us, there is one section of the population who have lived this way for years — nuns.
“We don’t leave the convent unless we absolutely have to,” says Sister Pat, 67, a member of the enclosed order of the Poor Clares in Arundel, West Sussex. “When I entered here in 1982 we didn’t even go to the dentist or the doctor — they came to us. Now, though, we do go out if we need to for these reasons, which means a minimum of once every six months for a dental check. We’re also allowed to go for a walk on the South Downs once a month. But otherwise we stay within the confines of the house and garden.”
The question is, what can we learn from them?
Unholy rows will ensue
Or at least they will if you don’t quickly decide who does what in the chores department. Even nuns aren’t immune to a little bickering, says Sister Julian, who has been a member of the Stanbrook Abbey Benedictine community since 1978 (their convent was originally in Worcestershire, but they moved to Yorkshire just over a decade ago).
“It’s no good thinking everyone will chip in because they won’t — it will all fall on the shoulders of one kind-hearted soul, and then she’ll feel resentful. And since we believe that thou shalt not kill, we certainly can’t have that.”
The solution? A rota, of course. “When you’ve suddenly been forced into isolation, you’ll have lost many of the things you normally have. Everyone needs a job, everyone needs to be given a responsibility.”
She thinks rotas at home for families will also be “an enormous opportunity for adults to trust young people to do more than they normally would”. Something to tell teenage children the next time they kick up a fuss.
Say sorry first
Of course, some disagreements are inevitable. “What makes for a happy convent is reconciliation, forgiveness and listening to one another,” says Sister Aelred, 76, a member of the Arundel community. “You can’t sweep things under the carpet; it’s much better to have a row than to let things go underground.”
“Sort things out before sunset,” is the advice of Sister Julian. “If you’ve had words with someone, have a conversation or send them a note before the end of the day. Sometimes here you see a couple of sisters having a hug at the end of the cloister and you know they’re making up after an argument.”
Sister Pat agrees. “I’d had a big row with another sister, and I knew we couldn’t go to Mass without making up. I said to her, ‘I’m sorry I’ve upset you.’ And to my surprise she said, ‘It wasn’t you, it was me.’ When you say sorry, often the other person opens up. Even if you believe you didn’t do anything wrong, you can say you’re sorry about how the other person is feeling — it’s about breaking the ice.”
The less said the better
Given the above, it may pay to know when to keep your counsel. Most enclosed communities speak only when necessary during the day, and they keep what they call the “great silence” from 8pm to about 10am the next morning. “People need a certain amount of space from one another, and silence,” says Sister Philippa, 73, of the Stanbrook Abbey community. Words to live by. Or, rather, the opposite.
Stop lazing about — and start microscheduling
Too much sleeping in late and wafting around without purpose has limits. What we need, Sister Philippa says, is a timetable. At Stanbrook Abbey the day starts at 5am and finishes after the office of evening prayer or Compline at 8pm. Between those times it is split into one or two-hour windows for meals, prayer, household work, income-generating work (book-binding, calligraphy, weaving, painting, photography and handicrafts), reading and shared time or recreation. “It means we don’t have acres of unstructured time we can just fritter away,”Sister Philippa says.
It appears nuns cottoned on to the Silicon Valley trend for “microscheduling” — that is, dividing your day into ever tinier increments — centuries ago. Sister Aelred agrees: “We don’t do anything for too long, and we alternate between work and prayer and reading and enjoying one another’s company. We stick to a timetable, and that gives our lives variety.”
Dust off your fitness DVDs — or sing in the shower
At the Poor Clare convent in Arundel the sisters do yoga to a DVD, and they have an exercise bike. “We also have walks round the garden because being outside is always good,” Sister Pat says.
Dancing is popular too. “We did a Brazilian water dance just the other morning,” Sister Aelred says.
Make your own fun
“We look for opportunities for fun,” Sister Julian says. “We do a lot of homegrown entertainment — we’ll have an evening where sisters recite poetry or tell stories. I’m rather keen on doing magic tricks myself.”
She also recommends trying your hand at crafts. “Recently we had a decorate-your-coat-hanger competition,” she says. “Everyone has a coat hanger, and everyone can be creative. It was loads of fun.”
After all, Sister Aelred says, you have to take your kicks where you can get them. “One evening a week we’re allowed to cook for ourselves, and you get sisters who make food they really miss and love,” she says. “And we only get toast and marmalade on a Sunday, and I look forward to it so much and really enjoy it. Because treats are relative, aren’t they?”
Read poetry at breakfast (really) 
Can some Wordsworth with your eggs cure the lockdown blues? Maybe. “Often I’ll read a poem first thing in the morning — it doesn’t have to be religious. It’s like having your breakfast at a deeper level than the breakfast you eat, because it’s nourishing you in a different way.”
In lieu of rhyming couplets, the nuns recommend finding time to practise thankfulness for the good things we do still have in our lives. “You’re going to be banged up with people for weeks on end, and I’d say be open to conversations about spirituality and what life means — and also build in time to be thankful,” Sister Julian says.
“People think of isolation and confinement as negative,” Sister Philippa says. “But our way of life has demonstrated that the concentration you get from this existence allows a true focus on the positive — sometimes in ways you’ve never experienced before.”

Written by Colin Henderson

April 20, 2020 at 09:10

Posted in Uncategorized

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