I woke up yesterday filled with dread. Maybe it was a bad dream. I shouldn’t have watched Queen of the South before bed. Too violent. Or maybe it was just everything that’s going on. A virus. Protests. Innocent people dying and horrendous politics.

I got up, made some coffee and went to my desk to write. That’s my daily meditation. I put my hands on the keyboard and the worst stuff in the world came out. Really, it felt like I’d forgotten how to write so why bother. I dabbled for a while. I’ve been writing about my past relationships lately, not to get published but to learn about myself. Each day, I recall things that I’d forgotten so it’s an adventure in discovery – but not yesterday. I kept deleting. I couldn’t think of one good thing to say about the guy I’d dated so I stopped. I was filled with blame, judgments and it felt like I was having the Big Whine.

I don’t object to whining on the page. I’ve done it more times than I can count and it has a cleansing effect. But the tone of this particular whine was annoying and accusatory. There had to be something good about the guy or why would I have spent time with him? I pushed away from the computer and went to a countertop to work on a jigsaw puzzle I started last week. I tried a piece here and a piece there but I couldn’t fit even one of them into the puzzle. It just wasn’t happening. I opened the refrigerator and stared. Nothing appealed. I closed it and turned on the TV. The news couldn’t have been more depressing so I turned it off, sat on the couch, and watched my cat sleep.

“I can’t do this any more,” I thought to myself as I recalled a time when I was a member of a ballet company. We did a number of grueling one night stand tours that lasted for ten weeks. Interminable bus rides. Red neck cities. Bad food. Bad hotels. Twisted ankles. Raked stages that made it next to impossible to maintain balance. During each tour, about three weeks in, I’d wake up one day, drag myself to the bus and think, “I can’t do this any more.” I had a silent whine going, that said, “I don’t wanna.” It lasted for the entire day with bad food, strained muscles, and a lumpy mattress. Nothing felt good and I couldn’t get away since we were in the middle of Nowhere Town, USA. But inevitably, I’d get up the next morning and the whine was gone.

Eventually I got familiar with the pattern and when it hit me on tour during Week Three, I was ready for it. I reminded myself that the feeling was temporary, that nothing stays the same, not the good stuff or the bad stuff. I taught myself to stop languishing in my misery and to keep moving forward. I even managed to see it as funny and to laugh at myself.

I woke up in the Big Whine yesterday. We’re in Month Three of our “Stay at Home” order and there doesn’t seem to be a letup. We’re all doing the best we can, trying to occupy ourselves, watch some good TV, do some exercise and sometimes the highlight of the day is watching our pets sleep. I envy my cat. She isn’t tortured with being productive, having remorse for the past or projecting into the future. I’m trying to learn from her, to stay in the moment and stop lamenting the past or fearing what’s coming next. I’m trying to rest in the “I don’t know,” accept the lack of control and reach out to get support for myself or to help someone else when they’re caught in the Big Whine.

Is any of this familiar to you? When you find yourself whining, what do you do?