Heart and Soul: Reconnecting with an old love

The current mood of depression has become persistent and contagious in a raging ongoing pandemic. At the individual level, we need to find the strength to deal with the daily emotional challenges of existence. We must purposely seek happiness in order to weather the current storm in our hearts and minds.

Rummaging through my long-forgotten, dusty books piled in dark corners of closets gave me a revelation about reconnecting with an old love. I could feel butterflies in my stomach and my heart racing. Many of the books looked worn, with chipped corners and some dog-eared pages. This treasure trove of books has meant a lot to me for over two dozen years.

After reaching a stage where there was a lack of spiritual resources to support myself against the restrictive pandemic situation, I decided to revert to my old love of reading. The joy of reading has been replaced by a life commitment to raise a family – grandchildren included. But the unpunished “vice” of reading turned into a cheerful, lifelong intoxication. It’s not dulled with age. It was just waiting for the right time and place to explode.

Focusing on the experiences of others helped dampen personal selfish, self-centered negativism while connecting with other spirits. Slowly but surely, the calming effect of selective reading secreted my being. Only then did I realize that the therapeutic, transformative experience was a solo journey of books waiting to be dusted off and explored.

This revival of preoccupying myself with dwelling on other people’s deliberations became a belief as an emotional survival tactic. On the plus side, an unprecedented pandemic and imposed domestic detention led me on a path of self-discovery and healing. I reconnected with my old love.

Currently, many of us live in stressful circumstances most of the time. It corrodes our soul with focus on the self. People need a short dose of escapism to overcome our negative thinking. Reading has proven to be a safe and productive substitute for strengthening not only the mind but the body as well.

The current need for social distancing is a great opportunity to seek solace in a good book in order to build our emotional connections with some characters. Reading provides a stable society during our solitary time. When we are overwhelmed by anxiety, loneliness, etc., and our access to people and activities is restricted, we need to resort to mindfulness to calm ourselves down. Delving into a good book (like any other activity of choice) is a great way to keep your feet on the ground.

For many of us, especially seniors, our love for books will continue unabated. This is an exaggeration. Like training the body, reading may have given our brains some training. However, the natural aging process will continue to lead to a decline in our capabilities. Whether or not it delayed the onset of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, reading has kept many of us relatively healthy and happy.

Until I can see with my new plastic lens and still have a printed book in my hand with a slight tremor, I refuse to part with my old love.

However, when my eyesight or hearing deteriorates, I will accept audiobooks and say hello to hearing aids.

Until breath becomes air, I will forever be grateful to the numerous authors who have woven words and enchanted my heart and soul.

Thank you, my dear “old love”. My journey has paid off because you have been my constant companion for over half a century.

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