Unlockdown: “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”

Probably one of the finest book titles ever created. I always imagined I knew how this felt; when I read the book, when I saw the movie, when I thought about the meaning. But now I really know the surreal floating, this strange being, the lightness one feels when emerging from the heaviness of isolation.

And though the lightness of emerging from two months of lockdown is liberating, it’s also terrifying, because we don’t know what awaits us out there. To go from the heaviness of responsibility (something that Beethoven insisted was necessary for his music) to the lightness of responsibility is dizzying.

When I ventured out during the lockdown to shop (once a week at most), my footsteps were heavy on the empty sidewalks, a certain duty and obligation had overtaken me. I  felt literally grounded to the pavement with a sadness of the reality. But it was real, finite if you will.

And now, to go out without getting stopped by the police between principalities, to walk into a bar (albeit with only 2 other customers at a time and you have to take your coffee outside), to venture into a park (with the proper social distancing and still wearing masks and gloves all the time) feels foreign, almost unbearable, because we’re in a liminal space, between one moment and the next. And we don’t know what’s going to happen. It’s that moment on the high dive just before you launch yourself; it’s exhilarating and scary as hell.

I find I still want to stay inside, stay safe, keep the doors and gate locked (as if that will keep the virus away), stay hidden, stay heavy with the weight of what has been our reality for over two months. And yet. I long to feel the joy of the lightness as it pulls and taunts, because it’s sensual and beautiful and liberating and amazing. And unbearable. It’s still too dark for the light, but I know we’ll get there.

11 responses to “Unlockdown: “The Unbearable Lightness of Being”

  1. Margo Chapman

    This is so beautiful. Love you cousin, keep writing!!!

    Sent from my iPhone


  2. Janie Colbert

    So beautifully written! Love you, cousin!

  3. Totally get it. I feel the same https://helpincoronatimes.wordpress.com/2020/05/04/ease-comes-with-some-unease/
    both on the unlockdown and Kundera’s choice of title:)

  4. Love your writing and we can totally identify with you! I am so enjoying reading your recent book, Heed the Dark Light too:).

  5. phyllis leshin

    Oh oh oh. How poignant. How beautifully expressed!
    But as you write these poetic words my mind wanders to other times. Kinder and gentler times. After 84 years on this planet I must admit there is a different mentality all over the globe. And not necessarily a better one. T ‘is not just this Pandemic that has aroused the people. Maybe just maybe it may turn the world around to be a more loving and caring place.

  6. Yes, my dear, we need to focus on the good that can come out of this. It’s obviously up to us as so many of our leaders have their heads stuck in the sand or are out there roaring at windmills.

Thoughts? Reflections?

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