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Struggling for Control

By Shirley Riga

I find myself sitting at a table

Arm wrestling for control

knuckles white hands shaking

with my opponent called time

I harness my breath

In my struggle to win

A routine of sorts

Is emerging

zoom appointments are menacing

what happened to my space?

My days are filling up

With more expectations

I am frustrated with

How easily I have slipped

Into the demands and

Inner pressure creeping in

Yesterday my GYN office called

to confirm my appointment

For my annual visit

By tele-med

What? I laughed

Did I hear you correctly?

By tele-med I will meet

With my doctor for that?

The voice on the other end of the phone

Didn’t laugh along with me

But responded curtly

with impatience and tact

So there it is …

another appointment

On my schedule of life

Another expectation

So I come back full circle

Asking myself why so upset

My life is adapting to change

Moving forward without regret

I don’t know that I want

Easily to forget

How life used to be

Before the change in our history

My answer is in my breath

Remembering to let go

I’m hanging on to the past

Not moving with the flow

So I take my impatience

And my frustration so loud

And hold them closely to my heart

With gentleness and acceptance

I won’t deny it

Won’t hide it

But honor and


This is part of me

And my process to accept

My frustrations and regret

In my breath

So as I sit in silence

I ease the grip of my struggle

and remember ME time

is a priority on my schedule


  • Gratitude to all of you. I heard the words “controlling time”. I took a walk yesterday and saw a tree with invasive plants around it. I realized that the tree being killed. The truth is control kills life. This is my mantra—“let me be happy, let me be healthy, let me be at peace.”

  • I was way too busy before the pandemic, and I have enjoyed the peace that occurred when everything shut down. Now I am again way too busy with zoom after zoom. Yesterday, I couldn’t get in to one of the zoom meetings, it was an obligation thing, not one I wanted to be at. It was freeing, to be free to do what I want. I let go of the ‘should thing’. I let it go.

  • Thank you all. I enjoy the debrief after the meditation. I can see how this space has daily differences. Today, I was impatient from the gong of the crystal bowl. I started thinking ‘when will this be over?’ My mind wouldn’t stop. I started thinking ‘what will I share?’ And I know, that even if I’m not connecting deeply, this is not a failure. It’s all good.

  • I was also way too busy before the pandemic. I am enjoying the time. I know there is negativity to the pandemic. But it’s also a blessing. I’m seeing my daughter who is home now; she’s relaxed and studying. My teen son didn't have time for me before. Now I’m spending time with him and getting to know him. It’s a blessing.

  • I had tried for years to find the time to write another novel. Now I have the time and it is a blessing. I’m feeling guilty knowing there are people dying and putting their lives on the line. I accept my joy.

  • It is a joy for me too. I see how different people’s boundaries are around this disease. I’ve been required to set my boundaries so I feel safe. This is a great opportunity for me to practice taking care of myself.

  • It’s a journey.

  • There is another side. I wanted to write a book on COVID-19. I have it all outlined, but I’m not able to do it. My son has had PTSD for 15 years after being wounded in Iraq. He is coping with it using meditation. I'm having a hard time focusing. Before the pandemic, my wife cut back her hours on her way towards retirement. Now she is working around the clock and putting her life on the line. She can’t complain about it. There are so many variations on this experience. I am also becoming bitter, reading things regarding the years of preparations, all of which was ignored by the current administration.

  • I suggest you don’t hold onto that bitterness. It hurts you.

  • My daughter is a farmer. She told me that lots of her plants died over weekend with frost, even those in the greenhouse. She said, “In farming, the unexpected always happens. You can’t dwell on it.” Her words stayed with me. I had significant challenges yesterday. I told myself to deal with it and move on.

  • And honoring self. We are doing the best we can. Move on.

  • Yesterday, I was in my painting zoom class with my sister in Colorado. She knows I'm splitting with husband. The teacher made a comment about feeling sorry for couples who decided to divorce and are still living together in the pandemic. She didn’t know that is my exact situation. I am choosing to focus on what coping skills do I have. Every moment is so intense. Coping means new adaptation. We have to live as cyborgs, half online. I am even finding compassion for conspiracy theorists. They too are coping and adapting. We have to learn new skills. It’s a necessity to learn how to adapt.

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