DAY 14 LOCKDOWN
For the first 10 days of lockdown, I was in busy mode!
I have had to cancel many events, from retreats to masterclasses and teacher trainings. I’ve sent email after email, I witten to many gracious and understanding yogis and also some that were a little fearful and ungracious. It’s been exasperating to say the least.
This sadly, is a reflection of life and the sorry state of the whole world right now; everything has abruptly had to be put on pause, it seems as though life is conspiring against us. However, we have no choice but to accept……
A few days ago, I had a bleak heavy day! I had completed most of my emails and decided to give myself permission to have a free day. I went for a walk-in nature and I did some yoga and meditation. However, instead of experiencing feelings of peace, calm and contentment, I began to feel negative emotions coming up to the surface. Feelings of real anxiety and emptiness, I felt on edge, sad, lethargic and disconnected, as though I had lost my sense of identity which is not like me at all. These feelings had been bubbling up inside of me all along, but I had not given myself the time or space to genuinely feel them and listen to them.
Feelings of overwhelm both physical and emotional are often caused by underlying anxiety. It was only when I gave myself time to ’just be’ that these emotions presented themselves to me.
This situation we all find ourselves in right now is unprecedented, meaning it has never happened before. Suddenly, we are on a roller coaster that doesn’t seem to be stopping any time soon, with life continuing to change for us all at a rapid speed. The coronavirus pandemic is challenging to say the least and it’s also disturbing to our peace of mind, perhaps forcing us to question our own existence. Why is this happening? Why can’t I go on with my usual life? How did this problem escalate and why? What do I miss most about my life before lockdown? What do I not miss? What am I learning about myself? Perhaps also questioning our careers and busy lifestyles before all of this began.
“Nothing ever goes away before it teaches us what we need to know” – Pema Chodron
Impermanence is life! Life circumstances never stay the same and when we’re least expecting change, it can be very unsettling. However, if there’s one thing I know for sure, when something is out of our control, we literally have no choice but to just flow/go with it. Impermanence does not necessarily lead to suffering, but what makes us suffer, is wanting things to be permanent or continue as ‘normal’ when that is not the case.
Many of us have also experienced other stressful and difficult times in our lives, countless emotions can arise such as anger, confusion, fear, loneliness, bitterness and sadness, just to name a few. During these times, it’s important to stay present and awake more than ever. Allowing these emotions to surface, as well as being curious in the process is very necessary to appreciate the true meaning of our lives, as well as to achieve healing and transformation.
When we feel powerless or find ourselves in the grips of uncertainty, staying present keeps us grounded and observing means to be with ‘what is’ as it is happening. This means neither denying, or rejecting our feelings, or ignoring the way things are. Instead, accepting our vulnerability and acknowledging whatever is awake within ourselves, whether agreeable, unpleasant or neutral. In bearing witness in this way, we gain the emotional buoyancy to cope with our own fate and the fate of the world right now.
We must believe that growth and potential will follow in the wake of this hardship and tragedy.
Something positive that Coronavirus is teaching us is how to be human again. This epidemic has been challenging for us all collectively, we have been thrown out of our routines and forced to change. Yet we are supporting each other more, we may not ‘be’ actually together, but we are together now more than ever before.
We are taking care of our families, our neighbours, we are recognising and appreciating our wonderful NHS workers and many others on the front line. We have come together as families, communities and as a nation.
And because many of us have more time on our hands, creativity is thriving. Beauty is everywhere; in the stories of complete strangers, in our daily exercise outside, in a knowing smile as you acknowledge each other standing on your line outside the grocery store, catching up with friends on a live zoom chat, communication in our neighbourhood and friends WhatsApp groups, cooking homemade food together as a family, the list is endless. We’ve have the time to reflect on our lives and learn what is truly important.
LOVE is keeping us together and as a race we can learn to live with this situation and even thrive because of it, by responding with love and unity.
Life is so fragile and fleeting, yet at the same time it is resilient. This new normal is heart-breaking and yet heart-warming at the same time, bringing with it an involuntary shift in our mindset and perspective.
I am learning so much about myself right now and my priorities in life, I encourage you all to contemplate and do the same. Don’t focus on tomorrow, take each day as it comes and stay present in the here and now. If negative emotions arise, then allow, accept, understand them, relate to them and then eventually you will process them.
As a yoga teacher I have been preaching this forever, but now we are being called to practice this meditative awareness with greater wisdom. The key to mindfully dealing with your difficult emotions is to let go of your need to control them, instead, be open to the outcome, consider what unfolds from your truest, deepest authentic self.
With so much love
“And the people stayed home. And read books, and listened, and rested, and exercised, and made art, and played games, and learned new ways of being, and were still. And listened more deeply. Some meditated, some prayed, some danced. Some met their shadows. And the people began to think differently.
And the people healed. And, in the absence of people living in ignorant, dangerous, mindless, and heartless ways, the earth began to heal.
And when the danger passed, and the people joined together again, they grieved their losses, and made new choices, and dreamed new images, and created new ways to live and heal the earth fully, as they had been healed.”