My to don’t list, and meditation

Exactly one year ago Boris Johnson told me I’d have to “shield” for twelve weeks, and at the time we wondered how on earth we’d cope with being locked down for such a long time.

Of course none of us knew what was in store and now twelve weeks has evolved into twelve months and I’m still shielding, despite having had my first jab. It looks, for the umpteenth time, as if the light actually is at the end of the tunnel thanks to the vaccines, but that infernal tunnel keeps getting longer.

When this all began a year ago I could see I’d be stuck at home for a while so I came up with a typical Life Coach response – I made a “to-do list”, i.e. a list of goals I wanted to achieve during lockdown. But now I’ve written and published the novel (and even sold a few copies), I’ve lost the two and a half stone I wanted to lose and I’ve made serious inroads into learning to play the piano, I’ve cleared the spare room, I’ve done loads of reading and watched many movies, and done lots of other things, and now I’m ready to re-emerge into the world. But is the world ready for me?

So now, faced with waiting two or three more months of splendid isolation, I’ve come up with a new idea – a “to-don’t list”.

This means I give myself total permission to do absolutely nothing whenever I feel like it, without self-recrimination, so I can get a great sense of achievement for having achieved nothing whatsoever. It sounds ridiculously easy, but when you’ve been brought up with a strong work ethic it does take some getting used to. After a lifetime of working by backside off, I am taking this last opportunity to rest and recuperate before life starts up again.

Of course I still practise the piano because that’s very much work in progress, but it has now become more of a leisure activity than a goal, and I’m still watching my weight because I don’t want to return to being overweight, but no longer so obsessively.

But now I also enjoy taking our dog for an aimless wander around the meadow and then falling asleep in front of the telly.

Of course this is just another coping mechanism to keep myself sane when what I really want is to socialise again with friends and family, and this lifestyle can only be sustained for a while. But if you want something more tangible, I’ve also started an online meditation group via Zoom, which anyone can join from anywhere in the world.

We get together for a bit of a chinwag first, then meditate in silence for 25 minutes. Then those of us who wish to stay have another chat for as long as we like. We call it Zoomeditation and we meet on Wednesday mornings at 10.00 am.

If you’d like to join in just e-mail me at and I’ll add you to the list so every week you’ll receive an invitation/ reminder with the Zoom link, so you can click and join whenever you fancy it.

It’s free and no experience is necessary. It’s a great opportunity to look inside and reconnect with yourself, and with other likeminded people too. I do hope you’ll give it a try.