A few weeks in…
We’ve all spent the last handful of days, or last couple of weeks, assimilating this ‘new’ situation – and on a practical level, from sorting out the children who are off school, changing travel plans, getting enough food in the house, adjusting to working from home, to trying to find out what the new norm is, and reading up the current local situation, contacting family and friends and just checking that everyone you care about is ok…especially when there are financial matters to consider, let alone potential illness.
It’s been a little frantic. Clearly that’s been inside the house, rather than the usual busyness of the outside world (what with its usual, and predictable, routines…).
And that’s another aspect of it – it’s pretty clear that we – humans – thrive off our routines! And we’re having re-establish new, make-shift ones…and arguably in quick-time and in relatively confined spaces.
There’s a lot that’s been going on, right?
But also, no doubt we’ve been experiencing some pretty common feelings as well. And certainly there’s been a undercurrent of fear. It’s the unknown – of course – and we don’t really like it do we?
And this feeling of uncertainly, and frenetic activity, really does have a way of de-stabilising us in some ways. And especially when there are a million things on facebook and the latest round of videos which everyone’s sharing and in many many ways this is fuelling the ‘unstableness’ that the situation has had the potential to induce…
It has settled a little bit – you can sense it? – people seem to have settled into a semblance of their home routine, the facebook sharing frenzy has abated and it feels like, ok, this is what we’re going do for a little while. Hanker down, stop checking the phone every 5 minutes, do some phys and eat some good food (and try to not eat our way through the entire fridgeful of food by the weekend!)…
Over the last few days, it’s struck me that there are two main threads that the situation is asking from us to address.
Thread One – Us
The first one’s on the personal level – and even there are two aspects to this too. One is that we need to be resourceful. And that’s not just with how do we keep the kids occupied all day?! (And quite possibly you don’t need to!? A great chance to let them use their imagination a little bit more…?) But more it seems to be about, oh, this is how it’s got to be – for now – how can we make the most of this situation? What resources can I draw on and find creative solutions for in order to work with these new parameters…and within our limited physical freedom.
(Arguably, our mental freedom has just gone off the scale what with all of the time on our hands…!)
I mean, this question (how can I find a different solution to this right now…?) we could ask ourselves this everyday. But generally speaking we don’t…
We settle into the comfort of relying on what’s familiar. It’s like we don’t usually demand – of ourselves – the level of creativity that we’re really able to draw on. That’s how it feels to me anyway.
The ‘Rona’ is asking us to find solutions, essentially. And I don’t mean ‘cures’ or vaccines to the pathogen ‘out there’. I mean, to how we’re living our lives…
And great – long may it continue! Just think about how many new initiatives can, and no doubt will, spring forth as a result of the challenges right now (And not least, how many socially-driven – community-driven – initiatives have unfolded already…).
Fear and stress
And then the other personally-focussed aspect that we’re being powerfully asked to look at is how can I reduce my own level of fear and stress about this perceived threat…?
And I see that this is a really big question. And I’ve gone down the rabbit-hole myself of…allowing myself to play the ‘what if’ game. Of, being bombarded by social media clips which are inducing fear. And consequently, getting really ‘heady’ with the influx of ‘what if worst case scenario’ statistics and projections and…and as a result becoming totally disconnected to an internal sense of peace.
All of the social media is stirring up an external world of chaos, and so I see that what we’re really being asked to navigate towards is creating our own internal sense of comfort and settle into peace.
It’s like this situation is a jolt for us to start seeking this and searching for practical, helpful ways to create it. (Because otherwise we’re going to end up like that mum of 4 screaming at the phone about what the hell is she supposed to do with a music script?!? Seen that one?! So quite funny. But it’s also a lived-experience – for her, clearly, but no doubt for others.)
Our immune system is not immune to stress!
And so how do we bypass the stress? Because that great big hit of stress on our system WILL take our immune system out. This is how the body functions – if there’s an external enemy to fight, it uses its resources to do just that…it’s survival! If the system is stressed, the body can’t direct its resources into dealing with internal foreign bodies – viruses, let say for arguments sake. It’s got ‘real and immediate’ danger to contend with in the outside world…or so this is how it’s programmed to operate.
Ok, so. How do we reduce our fear and settle our nervous system and, yes amid all of the craziness – find some inner peace?
Well, there are numerous, super simple strategies:
Turn it off
One is to switch off the social media. Do whatever it takes – delete apps, put up browser blocks (both of which I’ve done in the last few months actually, in order to eliminate it from my life!). But stop watching news that’s fuelling an elevated heart-rate and stop getting sucked into every single clip on social media that fear-mongering.
And move! Physical activity (walking, and yoga in particular) are tremendously powerful. Firstly, the motion purges the stress from the tissues. That is literally what moving your body does! But in addition, both of these tools – and actually yoga has the edge over walking for this one – connect you to your body. When our senses are focussed in our body, we’re not in our heads. And it’s in our heads where we’re creating all of the horror stories.
I’ve seen a tonne of advice about calming down by meditating… But meditating really isn’t very easy! Especially if you’re prone to getting worked up about things.
It’s much much easier to breathe… (Ok, so we’re always breathing, but we’re not always doing it consciously…).
You can do this lying down – a bonus – place a hand on your belly, and starting breathing ‘into your belly’.
For one, this is literally a calming breathe, and for two, the act of ‘watching’ your breath in your mind’s eye will enable your mind to start to slow down and not flitting from one scary piece of news to the next…
It’s the most powerful way of becoming ‘present’.
Presence is really what we’re being pitch-forked into right now. (This is a good thing by the way!)
Being exquisitely aware of what is occurring right this very moment is our way out of (connecting to the externally-driven but internally-perceived) fear and into a peaceful internal world.
Fear cannot exist in the present moment. It simply can’t. This is because fear is derived from the ‘what if’ scenario of projecting in the future. And if you’re there…you’re not fully here.
Again the breath helps you to connect to the present moment. As does yoga. Other exercise is good too, but, for instance, you can go running and completely zone out, become totally ‘lost in our thoughts’ and actually disconnected from the present moment.
Being lost in your thoughts is not being present by the way. (And yes, I know that a lot of people use, say running, for this very reason! And ok, sometimes the solution-seeking thoughts are actually very very creative! So touche – this was my very first point of course! Of course, it all depends on how we actively use our mind and our thoughts…)
And of course, practice yoga and you are fundamentally connecting to the breath. So double positive whammy… : ) I’m putting on free live online yoga classes to offer a solution to this one…see the link at the bottom!
Inner peace exists in the present moment. It only exists in the present moment. And it’s available to all of us.
Re-connecting us to this may be a fundamental divine goal of the current situation. I say re-connect us, because we’re born only knowing how to be present…
And it’s valid to say it again, this episode is asking us to find solutions, essentially. It’s not about cures and vaccines to the pathogen ‘out there’. It’s asking us to find different ways of living our lives…in our heads.
We are responsible for our internal world.
Wow, and that’s all on the personal level!
The second main strand that seems to be evolving out of recent activities as, again, a deliberate, divinely-driven consequence of the present global scenario is on the collective level.
Thread Two – Everyone else; the ‘collective’
Collectively, we’re being asked to be socially responsible.
This situation is not about us. (Contrary to the numerous points I’ve made above! They’re actually about us growing out of our egoic selves actually…)
The situation is calling for us to think about others in reverence for other’s welfare. Yes, we need to put on our own oxygen mask first (but not a face mask! They’re only going to use up resources for those medical personal dealing with the front line of the disease…plus enhance The Fear, and fear-based living. Focusses resources where they’re needed is compassionate behaviour though, with the single purpose of considering the collective whole…)
See above for ideas how to administer our own oxygen mask…! (It involves breathing and yoga by the way! ; )
It’s not about us. This thing…
It’s not about whether we want to meet up with so and so, and chew the fat, so that we feel better.
It’s about, how can we act in a way that is generous and kind and that is really caring to the welfare of others. It’s about how can we reach out beyond ourselves, and arguably, use our own creatively to be of service to the wider community…
This up-level of thinking, this way of acting and being – differently, and in deep respect and reverence for others – is what seems to be coming to the fore…
And that feels pretty good scenario to reposition ourselves into and a pretty upgrade to being.
To help with the yoga and breathing bit, I’m putting on Free Live Online Yoga Classes on Tuesday 31st March at 6pm and Thursday 2nd April at 10.30am. Register below, and details for joining the class will follow by email later…
Photo by Javardh