Somewhere around the start of lockdown 2.0, the pain that had been circling since March began to gnaw at the base of my spine. Not a new sensation but more insistent and at times fierce. Unable to swim or visit my osteopath or rely on my usual defences or distractions, I was forced to turn inwards.
I dug out an old mindfulness meditation. I lay on my back and breathed. It was harder than it sounds. My breath kept getting tangled in thoughts. The more I tried to herd the thoughts, the shallower my breathing. Sometimes it felt like inhaling bricks or old carpet. Often it was just boring.
But in the weeks then months that followed I learned to follow the breath into my body, not in theory but as part of a shifting interior map; some days a tributary, others a swooping, eddying surge.
I discovered a world different from the one I had been holding at bay. Lying there one winter’s afternoon, legs hooked onto the bed, I became aware of a new feeling in my body, something infinitely tender and complete. In my mind I heard the word ‘home’. I realised that here, tucked beneath my diaphragm, was what I’d been looking for in all those decades of moving from house to house.