Despite the negative effects of covid19, social media is overflowing with posts from people using this quiet time in an enriching way. There are posts about people now being able to spend more time with family, in the garden, building furniture and reconnecting to things they enjoy doing most. These activities seem more possible now that the typical day-to-day obligations of modern living have been slowed.
Musician Jeanine Ruiz said while the lockdown has dramatically slowed the rhythm of her life, she is happy for an opportunity to fine-tune a few features of it.
Ruiz is the band manager, musical director and keyboardist for Nailah Blackman’s backing band. She previously played on backing bands for soca artistes including Nadia Batson, with her all-female band Sass, and also played chutney soca with Rikki Jai.
Newsday: How are you feeling about the spread of the covid19 pandemic? Is it scary for you?
Ruiz: It’s a whole new mix of feelings. As a full-time professional in the creative industry, uncertainty regarding work is very familiar to me. But this affects every person globally, so it’s interesting how we’re handling it as the human race.
The good such as improvements in nature and the bad, such as the number of cases increasing each day, leaves everything so up in the air.
I’m hoping we go forward with new perspectives that will benefit us as a collective and the environment, combining how we did things before with new approaches learned during this time.
I’m not scared regarding my health but I’ve realised that it bothers me more than I think, because now, I only dream about the pandemic at night.
Newsday: Have you experienced a major change in your daily routine?
Ruiz: The lockdown has ceased all performances. Being a musician, this experience went from hard to even harder. But other than that, I haven’t experienced any major change. I usually work from home so I’m still comfortable. I still have my workstation and instruments so I can create and express my creativity.
Newsday: Is there anything you have been able to do now that you didn’t have the time to do before?
Ruiz: I’ve been creating a lot more content without the obligation of hustling. There are no deadlines, seasons or any responsibilities to tend to. Time is completely free.
And so I feel very unrestricted in expressing myself through creating content. Thankfully a space for sharing is created by online platforms that act as stages to showcase my work.
Newsday: Do you think you will be able to maintain some of these practices if things go back to an increased pace?
Ruiz: I have realised just how much I can do when I’m not pressured.
So I’ll keep that in mind going forward: release that pressure and get even more done with a more relaxed disposition.
Newsday: What do you hope others will take from this time of silence?
Ruiz: This time has the power to help reinforce what is most deeply important to us as humans.
Working hard at a job daily is not the only way to be productive. There’s physical health, mental health, exploring yourself, your passions and hobbies – especially because for most, our job isn’t necessarily our passion. What else is more important than truly living your best life, your way?
We’re not machines. We can pause and everything will be okay. We’ll be okay.
We thought it was so challenging to help the health of the planet.
But just a few weeks of change from business as usual, and nature is quickly rejuvenating the planet. I believe the same goes for us.
It shows me what rhythms seem natural, and what is unnatural. What can heal and restore us – and the ways of operating that could find us in this place again.
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