Impact of Corona lockdown on a personal level.

09/08/2020 0 By Matheus

Hector Malot


The worldwide spread of Corona virus sent a shock wave through the world. We are all aware of the impact on levels of health, organisation of institutes, governments, and cultural aspects. Many people wrote about it, there are a billion opinions, and nobody seems to be able to come up with a non-ambiguous truth. I already wrote a blog with my vision on a part of the cultural issues. Fighting for the Illusion of Freedom (part 1)

But today I like to write about the impact of the corona crisis on our personal lives in Casa Spa d’Alma.
When we came back from Indonesia on the 1st of March, Wuhan was already in lockdown. We passed through Singapore and we were surprised to see that passengers were digitally checked for fever; we had no idea what was coming our way. 
Portugal started a lockdown around 16th of March, everybody running for toilet paper, never understood this but it was a signal that the population started to take the lockdown serious. And so, did we. Tourists had no possibility of flying or driving in, therefore, we closed Casa Spa d’Alma. 

Once we understood that the virus was especially dangerous for those with other health issues, we decided to stay closed until June, still hoping this thing would blow over. I had a heart problem in last year September and had a stent placed in an coronary artery, next to that, in March I was with a light but boring and insisting bronchitis. We took it day by day but developed a routine that was pleasant and healthy. Every morning a hike for 2-4 hours with, impossible to avoid in Monchique, lots of ascents, great cardio training. Temperatures were wonderful for hiking on completely deserted trails, it really felt like we were alone on this earth. The silence was intense, it seemed everybody was in hiding, the spring had so many flowers and strong scents of herbs. Most of the time we only met sheep and goats.

Being at home was strange at first, no guests, no work, no rules, no obligations. The work in the psychology field was also on hold, just like everything else. It was like the world was holding its breath but what was next? I realized that next was so hazy that I could not touch it and the only way was to let go, let the ideas for the future slip out of your hands. This leaves you the present moment and the past and that was remarkably interesting because walking one of the empty mountain trails I had a strong image of Hector Malot’s book, Alone in the world. I never read the book but as a young boy I was fascinated by the cover of the book. A boy, Remy, and a man, Vitalis, walking through an empty landscape, accompanied by some animals. I could connect this to me, in reality walking through a barren landscape. We were hiking in a part of the Monchique mountains that was severely hit by the 2018 fires and many trees died, leaving their burnt trunks and branches pointing to the blue sky.

This memory mixed with the synchronicity of the moment, triggered a whole chain of thoughts, emotions, and insights. First insight was that we need silence in our life, without silence we cannot see clearly in the mirror of being. It is like looking to the surface of a deep lake, you can only see deep when there are no waves, no disruptions in the water. The lockdown provided a silence that we do not easily create ourselves. This was a welcome present.

The second memory that came into the Now, was that my grandfather passed away when I was 12 years old, he was an important person in my life and also the first person that was placed on a bier in front of my eyes. When I saw the body, I realized with a big shock that life had disappeared from it, the Soul was gone. I panicked and ran out of the morgue. With 15 I started to look for books on spiritualism, trying to understand the nature of death and after-life. That’s where I started my spiritual journey in a, more or less, conscious way, and I found it to be a lonely process. As if my diseased grandfather was represented by Vitalis, he was there, but only in my imagination.
I am sure that the image of Hector Malot’s book was a symbolic representation of loneliness during this journey and it fascinated me. Almost as if I had an anchor that kept me in sync with hope on a quest that was merely intuitive and most of the time subconscious.

I used many walks to reflect on deeper issues that arise in the silence and discuss them with Manuela who is a passionate companion, one of the very few that I feel understands. Hiking is a wonderful way of getting back into the present
moment, body is working and requiring most of your energy while going uphill.
It helps to reduce mental traffic, all these little worries and reactions to
the outside world fade and slowly introspective memories start to bubble up
from the depth of our being. I find it a pleasure to observe them and feeling
surprised by how they synchronize with the stage I am going thru at that
moment. From there it is a creative challenge to build bridges between,
feelings, thoughts and emotions and make a clear understanding of the whole picture,
seeing how the have shape our path thru life. Embracing them while we had
different wishes for ourselves is part of the challenge. 



Of course I am aware that the virus brought hardship to lots of people and I feel sorry for those that had to spend the lockdown period in an apartment without a balcony or those in countries where they have no medical assistance but so far Corona brought us, peace, acceptation and insights on a personal level and we are grateful for that.

And where it goes from here is an adventure, nobody really knows.