Due to a mixture of different mental health problems, I am prone to panic chest pain and chronic shoulder tension – and that on a good day. To comfort myself, I have developed a wellness toolkit over the past 7 years. Now my kit consists of both physical and metaphorical things like candles, puzzles, crayons, a box of breathing techniques, mindfulness exercises, and yoga asanas.
But even the most careful kit could not have prepared me for the coronavirus outbreak. Weeks after physical distance, nothing in my collection worked against my increased and almost constant fear. Then, on a day when my house felt particularly small and my breath stopped in my throat, I remembered that practicing mindfulness outdoors was an option I hadn't used before.
My dog Genghis and I went into the yard. I had no other goal than to write down five things, five things I heard, five things I felt. Then breathe and repeat. I listed my fourth visual observation, a little dandelion in the grass, when I noticed something else in the green.
A four-leaf clover.
I hadn't hunted after four. Leaf clover since I was little, but here was one who was just waiting for me to pick it for myself.
The miracle that inspired this little weed distracted me from the stress of lost jobs, home orders, and constant fear of getting sick for a while. It gave me the same thrill of riding a bicycle with my father and the warmth of pulling a tiny chair in front of our oven while my mother was baking cookies.
The next day I went out with Genghis again and ran my fingers over a piece of clover. To my surprise, I made up another one. And another one the next day.
I am careful with my shamrocks. I wrap them in wax paper and put them between the pages of my favorite books. If I have a large enough group, I put them in my bullet and show them like art. So I can look back on that time and find memories that don't all turn my head.
When my mother was young My father told me that she could just pick four-leaf clover from the ground. He had never been able to find her. But the joy was so contagious that it still inspired him to look for his own. I still remember the day he and I went out together, and not two minutes later he shoved his own four-leaf clover in my face and looked positively pleased.
Maybe it didn't feel possible to find Klee before because I never really looked for them. But I'm not looking for luck right now. I am looking for a short break from the constant flood of anxious news and unrealistic expectations of my productivity during this time.
As a person who spends a lot of time in my head worrying, thinking and dreaming, thinking about how cool the wet grass feels on my fingers in the morning or the beautiful bright yellow of the new little flowers that popped up next to the shamrock is exactly what I need to catch my breath and keep my overactive mind busy for a minute or two.
And it not only gave me something to look forward to every day, it also created physical memories of what I did when I had to catch my breath and how I myself in the time of COVID- 1
Ravynn is a Virginia-based scholar, writer, and hazelnut latte enthusiast. You can learn more about her work on her website or follow her on Twitter .