Artwork by Annelinde Tempelman
I love this weather - I love how when I open my eyes, there is no sunlight. And I love how when I get out of my warm cozy bed, the air is so crisp, it bites me and I need to reach out for an extra layer; there is something really comforting in that.
Why are we talking about the weather in this time of crisis do you wonder? Simply to avoid talking about what everyone else on this planet seems to be talking about. I am finding the topic at hand really uninteresting really.
My inbox is suddenly filled with this link, that talk, this theory, that offer. I mean it is really kind of people to think of me and share what has touched them, but I am having my own experience of what people call ‘isolation’ and I need to cocoon for a while to see what needs to emerge. Paradoxically, in this very time of me cocooning, I have been invited by a number of people to join world wide meditations to ‘heal’ this situation. A valid and heartfelt gesture, I don’t disagree necessarily, I am just astounded as to how quickly people jump in together and take action.
Maybe I am just a little slow. I need to first consider what if what is happening is absolutely perfectly valid and needs no healing? What if it is part of a divine opportunity and a blessing for us to individually ‘course-correct’? It takes time re-examine our life and its direction, to re-evaluate our values and our needs? And to explore what is being triggered on the inside or called forth from the depths of us before we act in the collective? I mean I need to pause and sit, and ponder and listen and then decipher… all before I choose my response.
Which brings me to my favourite ‘C’ word: creativity. We all have it. A lot of people out there are exhibiting theirs ever so beautifully on the world wide web as I write this. In fact, I do admit the ’topic at hand’ is our chance to use our creativity for what it has always been intended for: problem solving. And right now, I have not just one or two problems, I have twenty of them. What an opportunity - really! - to not only fine tune my creativity, but also apply it copiously and watch what unfolds.
Let’s see; I have had people test my boundaries and my patience. I have had others be extremely generous and kind. I have lost money and work. My sense of responsibility to my dependants has been threatened. I have watched in awe my husband rise to the challenges with much integrity but humour too. I have felt fear. I have held my loved ones when they have had their difficulties. My program was cancelled, my source of pleasure and inspiration - travel - fell away. Instead I am chasing up administrative details with banks and insurance companies. I have had physical pain, for which I now need to rehabilitate with dull exercises. Worst of all, I feel stuck in the mundane, something that I find terribly boring. Yet I am so grateful to be in it, in the comfort of our lovely home, with my most cherished ones by my side. Together, we have argued and laughed, we have walked, talked, cooked and watched movies.
All of this - packed so tightly under the one roof - is my chance to re-create myself. I re-think my choices around work, my relationships and how I care for myself and my loved ones. Suddenly I feel the need to create security and peace whereas I took these for granted before. I understand more than ever now that a state of relaxation is an absolute priority. And rather than it being passive, it is a dynamic state that needs to be actively cultivated for us to feel alive and able to embrace each moment of what life brings to us (regardless of its challenges) with a clear mind and an open heart.
The greatest gift we can give our families is the gift of our own physical, mental, emotional and spiritual wellbeing. They need our calm. So here are a few considerations to help establish our inner harmony.
What do we need in order to feel safe? Health? Money? Boundaries in relationships? Change of work conditions? We can begin putting things into a workable plan already - even if they are small steps.
On that basis, re-aligning our priorities - reassessing what we give energy to on a daily basis. In order to create what we love in our lives, we will not only need to let go of things we no longer want (which is hard enough) but we will need to let go of things that we still do want but cannot maintain (this is the difficult bit).
Re-assessing our boundaries - some relationships will be released, some deepened. If isolation is painful, then reaching out and connecting with others can make a big difference. Acting out of kindness for others, outside of our own personal desires, agendas or interests - is one effective way to enhance our sense of connection and wellbeing. Doing something for someone else, no matter how small, has the added benefit of making us feel better too.
If we are overwhelmed, on the other hand, carving out more space for our own wellbeing is vital. In that space, we can choose nourishing activities that keep us in the present and out of overthinking; anything like knitting, singing, dancing, music, drawing, painting, sewing, reading, writing, gardening, soaking in a bath, is useful. If we had set ourselves a creative project for this year, we don’t necessarily need to give it up, we can stick to our goals whilst remaining flexible in our approach.
These activities will be conducive to the health of our nervous system too - which requires a particular eating plan (don’t think eating a salad is healthy enough and will do the job) and a balanced daily rhythm. If in doubt, reach out for a health consultation to establish good habits and a wholesome routine. A strong nervous system + robust digestive system = a vital immune system (to use my new home schooling mathematical formulas).
Lastly, we need to rely on our sense of self now more than ever when outward structures are collapsing. Self empowerment is about trusting our ability to stay true and open in our responses to outside circumstances. Any old blows to our self-esteem (including our inner critics) will be coming up to be healed so now is the time to reach out for help if it is needed.
If we worry, then we know we are projecting onto the future. The whole point of Yoga is to control the mind and pull it back when we realise it is doing something that is not useful. Instead, we can direct it to gratitude to anchor our attention onto something positive and that exists in present moment. Only here can we access the qualities that we need the most in critical times and these are: insight, intuition, wisdom, humour, spontaneity, creativity, compassion.
Another big emotion we may experience at some point and to some degree is frustration. The antidote to frustration about what we cannot control is acceptance. Accepting what is - no matter how difficult it may be for us. Acceptance will then lead us to possibilities and innovative ideas or solutions around the choices that we do have. Meditation helps with this.
I am so grateful that I have this ‘know-how’ to share and I do hope that these ramblings are useful to you in your re-calibrating. We have the shining of our human spirit to look forward to!