Home has not typically been a sanctuary for me. As a musician and artist, I do much of my work at home, which means I am always juggling my creative work with the demands of the household - dishes, laundry, cleaning, unfinished projects, managing kids' schoolwork and activities - while also trying to practice, teach, listen to recordings and study scores, read, write, and maintain a rich contemplative practice. Despite installing blinds and a sign on my studio doors, I've had to respond to questions from teenagers on how to make a sandwhich in the middle of teaching a lesson or attempting to practice or meditate with the dog barking wildly at every perceivable threat, which is basically any delivery person, neighbor taking a walk, or curious squirrel. I've also struggled mightily with the notion of being a "stay-at-home mom" or "housewife." After I left my full-time job shortly after my husband and I got married, the number of people who asked, "What are you doing with all your free time now that you don't have to work anymore?" always dumbfounded me!
I suspect a number of people are reckoning with similar challenges now that they are working from home, perhaps for the first time in their life. I had a good laugh at the BBC commentator whose kids interrupted his interview and even more at the follow-up parody depicting how a woman might handle a similar situation. Learning to prioritize work along with navigating household responsibilities is not easy! Be patient and kind, and that means extending it to yourself too. (That reminder is as much for me as it is for you!)
Speaking of kindness and grace, I listened to a beautiful interview yesterday with singer-songwriter, Carrie Newcomer. Her wisdom about learning compassion from our vulnerability and accepting the invitation to embrace solitude and silence during this time of uncertainty was a balm to my weary spirit! When asked, “What do you do when you’re feeling personally or politically heartbroken?” Carrie responded (and I'm paraphrasing here), "Sometimes there’s a time for action and sometimes there’s a time for sinking back into the arms of a person or community for respite and restoration until you can carry on.... The things that have always saved us, are still here to save us. Kindness and good parenting, humor and courage. These wonderful things are right here, completely available to us."
And so, I hereby accept the call to embrace home and family as a sanctuary. A place where we can be serious, sad, or silly, where we work, rest, and play. We do chores and creative projects, exercise, make music and put away groceries. We carve out space for silence and listening to one another's worries. We laugh and lose our patience, share our frustrations, resolve our conflicts, make goofy videos, snuggle, and be completely human with those who are closest to us.