I now meditate every morning in a little square, my green meditation cushions backed up against the wall under some forest photos my aunt took. I’m the first up in my house, save for the cat playing with my feet. The same friends I meditated with at work meditate, plus some new people. Now we are together in boxes that stretch across the miles.
This is a journey. When we stop talking and put down our coffee and our matcha to meditate, we cut the video. Sometimes we are black squares with our names across them. Are people and their homes stuffed inside? This part of video chat reminds me of the clairvoyant Eleven from Stranger Things, who sometimes sees people across a vast black emptiness. She catches the outlines of things and people moving within them.
When people turn the video on after an hour, people, bookshelves, chairs, and hardwood floors pop up. Here we are all connected in conversation, meditation, and talk of what was and will be. When we know each other well, we know something of the life behind the outlines. When we don’t, we are inside someone’s home, strangely staring at a live photo of one tiny area of the person’s life and setting.
Some of us have had a talk about what shared work looks like, whether in coaching, wellness, or in the organizations where we now work from home. It’s sometimes a strange talk with us separate but connected by cables. Perhaps it is not unlike the existential questions we have also considered, where all energy is connected and not. Or as U2 would put it, “we’re one, but we’re not the same.”
I don’t know what collaboration looks like for us in this black space, where outside masks cover faces with eyes, only eyes, peering out. On screens that type out our names like reminders, it’s hard to say. It’s hard to say.
Someone says they limit their e-communication, which is something I have said in the past. Now it’s hard to say how much non e-communication there is, outside a household.
Where are you? Where are you now? I have written and spoken in multiple places about how my grandmother used to say that whenever someone in the family traveled, whether down the street or across the world. Where are we now, in the outlined spaces for meditation, coaching, yoga, and calls to friends?
I open a black box so you can see me, and I might as well be anywhere. Earlier in a work meeting, someone desperately wanted to be seen. He put on a virtual space alien mask and put the galaxy behind him while someone else talked. He covered himself in fake layers to be seen. How often do we do that when we don’t need computers to light us up? How often do we learn our layers when we pick the perfect lighting in the only room that’s clean and take a video for a friend? It’s quite a while, weeks of meditating, maybe, before we let our hair stand up and let people see that our pants are pajamas.
Where are you? Where are you now? I’m not housed within a tiny square, and neither are the rest of you. I am here, right now, like a mantra on the meditation cushions or the writing I told you I would do. And you are right there, on the other side of a perfect circle, just outside the square.
Christina uses her Integral Coach training in higher education. Her writing has appeared in several journals and anthologies including Crab Fat, BioStories, Big Muddy, Sinister Wisdom, Hashtag Queer, Volume 3 and Is it Hot in Here, or Is It Just Me? .
Read Christina's previous post, "Sitting."
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