From the rhythms and rituals she’s practicing while sheltering at home to how she’s navigating this new normal, Indigenous artist, activist, storyteller and Goose Person Sarain Fox shares her tips.
When Sarain Fox looks out on the land that surrounds her farm—the trees and fields still wearing their drab winter greys and browns, despite the late April sunshine—she sees resilience writ large across the landscape.
“We have to remember,” she says over the phone from rural Ontario, where she’s in self-isolation with her partner, “to just last through Winter is so difficult. When Spring arrives, you know you’ve made it. Spring is the reminder of new life all around us.”
And in the first signs of that new life, like the tentative sprouts in her garden, she also sees unexpected strength in seemingly fragile places. “It’s barely warm enough for us to be outside, but flowers are coming up. They’re going to survive a couple rounds of frost, and they will still bloom.”
This powerful perspective—which she draws from her Anishinaabe heritage—is just one of the many rituals and rhythms Sarain is practicing as she, along with the rest of us, finds ways to navigate life in quarantine. Here are the practices this activist, storyteller and dancer is calling upon as she seeks to find serenity—and even joy—in the ups and downs of life in self-isolation.
#1 Greet the Day with Intention
“The morning is my personal check in time. I make a point of rising with the sun every day and taking in the real beauty of the morning. It’s when I journal and do my yoga. It’s quiet, slow time to be with myself.”
#2 Cultivate Gratitude as a Spiritual Practice
“I’m choosing to be grateful for all the things that I have. To be able to shelter in place. To be somewhere comfortable, to have my health—these are all huge privileges. As an indigenous person, gratitude isn’t just about acknowledging the things I have, but also caring for the people who’ve made it possible for me to be here. For me, a spiritual practice is making sure those around me have what they need. I’m doing the rounds of the elders in my life, dropping off things they love and I know will make them smile.”
#3 Connect with the Land
“Winter leaves a big mess, so Spring is about prepping and cleaning up the land. I’m getting my hands in the soil and preparing the ground for planting. I’m gathering cedar to boil down to create cedar water for cleaning or having a bath in—it’s traditionally lung medicine and has antimicrobial properties. I believe that we’re inherently part of the land, and that, if we allow ourselves to see it, we’re always being held and nurtured by it. My connection to the land helps me see that I’m not isolated or disconnected. Instead, I’m part of a universe that is intricate and constantly evolving to keep us alive.”
#4 Find Your Own Rhythm
“Quarantine has been about facing your own rhythm. A lot of us have spent our entire lives on someone else’s rhythm, and we haven’t had a chance to get to know ourselves. One of the greatest gifts I was given as a young person was a lot of alone time. My mom taught me to be alone with myself, to do things like fasting, and that’s something a lot of people don’t get to do.”
#5 Stay Connected from Afar
“When I’m not working, I usually actively try to put my device away. Now, I’m so grateful for technology! I’m staying grounded by creating a rhythm with my friends where we treat our virtual check-ins like they’re real life. If I’m hopping on a Zoom with my sisters, it’s an unmovable date, just like if I were showing up at their house.”
#6 Let Nature Entertain You
“I’ve been taking my meditation practice into the evenings. When I see the light changing, I stop everything I’m doing and go watch the sun go down. The sky puts on this giant show for us in the evenings, and it feels like a personal drive-in movie theatre experience every time.”