For years, I held a fantasy about pausing for a month of solitude. I read May Sarton’s “Journal of a Solitude,” Doris Grumbach’s “Fifty Days of Solitude,” and Dale Salwak’s “The Wonders of Solitude.” In my usual fashion, I sticky-noted the pages in anticipation of my own journey someday.
I never did find the time for my “Walden” until now. Here it is! I have been isolating myself for several weeks.
I knew I had to tone down my anxiety, which was based on fear of contracting the virus, fear of the changing economy, new fears emerging every day. I know that fear can affect your immune system, brain, circulation, and digestion. I decided to embrace the mounting unknowns in the world with a sunny-side-up attitude, and shift my fear into clear, focused thinking. The fantasy of solitude I had held close for so long gave way to creative thinking: How could I find a unique way to approach each day?
As Doris Grumbach revealed, “Order, sequence, is a secret of being alone.” Now, on weekdays, the minute I get out of bed, I tune into a new online yoga class from my gym. Then I settle into my office routine, which tends to begin with a Zoom meeting. I wear a business jacket on the top and casual yoga pants on the bottom. Don’t tell.
For work breaks, I practice Einstein’s method of sharpening his creative knack with a few rounds on the violin.
In place of my 2:30 p.m. Rustica coffee break ritual, I walk around one of the neighboring lakes. I often walk with my friend, Lila, the mandatory six feet apart. We brainstorm and laugh. I return to my home office refreshed and inspired. I’ve walked more than 60 miles in the past few weeks and I am feeling more fit than ever. My immune system is smiling.
Somewhere, May Sarton is smiling too, knowing that I have taken her words to heart: “Help us to be ever faithful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness nothing comes to birth, and without light nothing flowers.”
Due to COVID-19, quite a few of the events I was booked for either postponed or cancelled, so the demand for cakes and mini desserts has slowed down. But my love for brunch is at an all-time high! This slow time has given me a chance to play around with brunch pastries (sweet and savory), which helps keep my creativity at its peak.
My go-to resource for brunch pastries is Thomas Keller’s Bouchon Bakery book, or my old notebooks from my days in restaurants. I also follow cake decorators from Russia, Australia, and Malaysia. I now have more time to watch their tutorial videos, read their blogs, and check out their pictures.