80+ Days Sheltering in Place


Tourists at Fort Casey in 2019 by Patricia Herlevi

There are moments when I fall into despair thinking I’ll never even have pieces of my old life back. Just when I think we’re turning in the right direction, more unrest in the world erupts. After all, millions of people awaken their conscience now. Mine has been awake for decades and I was wondering…I was wondering when the others would catch up. Yet, I never imagined this life I’m living through now.

So, I look back to the third week of March when the shelter-in-place order started in Washington State. Naively, I thought it would last two or three weeks, and then I’d be back on the ferry heading to Port Townsend to find a home–somewhere I could live by myself and rest my soul. While many people are just feeling the topsy-turvy of the world now, I’ve been seeing the world through the eyes of homelessness (although I have a roof over my head).

When the shelter-in-place began, I watched free movies on YouTube to pass the time. I rediscovered Reiki channels and spent hours allowing those energies to build my immunity and to improve my finances. I ran out of supplements and I didn’t know where I would purchase them. I was and still am unable to get a ride to Port Townsend to check on my belongings in storage (this keeps me awake at night). And I felt destitute with no friends in the physical sense and so far away from my normal lifestyle which revolved around hanging out at cafes, walking on beaches, and riding the Washington State Ferry.

light umbrella


Then three weeks into the quarantine (or whatever term you wish to use), I began ordering my supplements from a discount company based out of Florida (there was no way I was joining Amazon). I received a stimulus check and used it to invest in my future by purchasing writing software and enrolling in certification classes on Udemy (the classes are always on sale). I had been dreaming about becoming an animal Reiki practitioner so I signed up for the classes, which also included animal communication and a color therapy class.

While the first movies I watched on YouTube uplifted me, I started watching some real duds too. I grew wistful when I watched characters not wearing masks, dating, and living life the way we did a few months ago. I felt too nostalgic for the old days so I stopped watching movies. I turned my attention to blogging and producing videos for my YouTube channels. I also gave myself Reiki treatments twice each day for several weeks now.

Even though it has only been 2.5 months, all the events along the way have made this quarantine period seem like years. In the beginning, we experienced the frenzy and hoarding of toilet paper, rubbing alcohol, and hand sanitizers. The grocery stores didn’t know when their deliveries would occur or what those deliveries contained. Most people weren’t wearing masks yet so it wasn’t much fun shopping in a crowded grocery store. Eventually, the stores taped the floors so that customers stayed 7 feet from each other, but even so, between the media and word on the street, no one really knew what was going on or the right protocol. Do we wear a mask or not? And riding buses felt terrifying with people hacking and telling me it was just a cold (how would I know?).

I also made the mistake of applying for unemployment for self-employed people. Had I known that the economy would tank and millions of people filed claims at the same time and that there was a Nigerian prince stealing from Employment Security and tons of online scams (as in frauds), I would not have bothered. I’m still trapped in that fiasco–like flies whose feet are glued to flypaper. How am I supposed to prove who I am via an online site or a call center that is continually busy (meaning talking to a live person who can sort out the problems isn’t going to happen)?

Back in March, there was a shortage of everything and a buffoon in the White House more out for himself and not concerned at all about the American people (which was disheartening). Meanwhile, we learned that Bernie Sanders was eliminated by the DNC and neither Trump nor Biden gave me hope for a brighter future. During times like these, we need a forthright and honest champion of the people so Bernie dropping out of the race sent me into deeper despair or if not that, I’ve returned to my old cynical attitude towards politics.

In April, the grocery stores restocked their shelves and I guess the hoaders had already stockpiled enough toilet paper to last them a decade. I still continued to purchase my supplements, shampoo, etc from online stores because I was saving money. And I don’t enjoy shopping in brick and mortar stores like I did during our pre-face mask era. I also noticed that my enthusiasm for taking immune-building supplements and eating salads twice a day had waned. What happened to my exercise program? What happened to refrain from watching crap on YouTube? Yet, the holier side of myself committed to a Reiki practice in the hopes that I truly will transform my life through the palms.



I noticed that the highlight of my day was the arrival of a box of vitamins (pathetic, I know). On another day, I received face masks in the mail, and then, there was the organic cotton underwear. I did buy myself some crystals and oracle cards too. Meanwhile, I have done my best to practice the 5 Reiki Principles even if I have felt scathingly mad towards my father (I live with my parents). I have joined worldwide meditation online and I dream of a future that may or may not happen. Oh, yes, and I was able to get my haircut at a salon but that seemed like it popped out of a dystopian novel and that I forgot to dress in a steampunk costume.

But…The numbers for COVID 19 sufferers have not dropped despite the sacrifices we have made of staying at home. What’s the freaking point? Is this thing even real? And how is it that people are protesting in Seattle and they’re not dying from a virus? How is it that some political figures walk around without masks and travel but have not become ill with a deadly virus? Is anyone else questioning recent events? Does anyone else feel like throwing a tantrum because they don’t want to stay in their rooms? Come on, be honest instead of reading off the politically correct script.

When I began this post, I was going to write a funny essay. But the more I delve into the past two months, the more confused I feel. However, I have experienced growth and transformation. When I emerge from this storm, I have a Reiki and other certificates so that I can begin a new life (if the virus finally fades away). I realized that watching movies or spending too much time on social media wasn’t going to propel me forward. So, in a way, I am living a dream that isn’t a nightmare–at least not the dream at the center of my life.

While the US falls like Ancient Rome did and Atlantis did even prior to that, I hope that people will come together and create a new nation that is fair and just. I hope that a new economy that promotes sustainability and the sanctity of all life rises from the ashes. It’s a challenge to look at the world now and not give up hope. However, deep down when I dig past the muck of my programmed mind, I am an optimist. I do believe that lotuses rise out of the mud and reach for the Sun.