Hello Friend. It has indeed been a long old while… I wonder how long we will be describing 2020 as a strange, bizarre and tough year? Perhaps Never. It has been an eye opener for sure and one that will be remembered for a long time yet, I’m sure.
What will you remember it for?
I have to be honest. I checked out for a while there...It began as a moment of pure hopelessness. I'm a firm believer in feeling it all, however life unfolds; all the joy, all the discomfort - acknowledge and be present with it. It was tough; and one of the greatest moments of surrender I have experienced. I had to completely recluse to be there; probably one of the most uncomfortable states of presence I have ever had. That’s OK. It taught me a lot. One of the most insightful experiences was that I had to channel my energy, all my efforts into my selfcare and picking myself up.
My husband has had his busiest year of trading, in his 20 odd years in the bike trade, he was stretched beyond what we thought possible. Our home life, my sanctuary, was in limbo, living with my in-laws for close to 8 months, after the build on our new property was delayed; in effect, there was nothing we could recognise as normal to clutch for stability.
I understand that this is not news, there have been so many experiencing similar sensations, and others who have suffered far greater loss. In writing this, I can feel myself slipping back into that place of guilt, that Dave and I have both been well, yet I find challenge in the experience. We have all suffered in our own way. We each have our stuff, and if something feels big to you. It is. I recognise guilt as commonplace, but I also acknowledge that pain is pain, to each individual and we have a right to observe it, name it and move on from it.
With a feeling of groundlessness, I had to succumb to it and focus on supporting myself. I could in turn, support my husband and begin to offer stability for us both, in such an emotionally turbulent time.
Since finally, joyfully, moving to our new home in Frome, Somerset, I have been, somewhat sharply, ejected from my cocoon. It has been an incredibly happy, but busy and tiring few weeks. The routine that I carefully created was entirely lost. Now that things are more settled for us, I am noticing those familiar sensations of anxiety, loss, fear in this new unknown. It’s a prospect that excites me and scares me in equal measure. I had that uneasy stomach feeling this week, the kind I recognise when I have strayed from the path of knowing and being in connection with myself. It was again time to take action. Something I recognised as timely to share.
One of my positive personal traits I recognise is resourcefulness. I know when to take action.
I thought I would share my selfcare routine that brought me back to myself; you may notice similar feelings to your own experience?
In the years I have been pursuing self enquiry, there are a number of tools I know have supported me along the way, and it is once again time to engage them all. These are the 5 things I have been doing every day during the pandemic, that I have immediately returned to now.
Journaling. When I’m feeling off, anxious, spiralling, I need to get it out of my head and onto paper. The issues lose all their magnitude and become entirely more manageable when you acknowledge them and work towards solutions. You can talk yourself down off a ledge with kindness and curiosity. The writing should only be for yourself. You might never re-read it, but making it tangible, on the paper, allows you to take control of it, or simply let it go. It loses all its power. You should write freely and from the heart. Don’t think about it too much, let the pen flow. You might be surprised with what it reveals.
Meditation. Just a few minutes a day, sitting in stillness and observing your breath, bringing you back to the present. We are often so lost in the busy thinking mind, the crazy day to day; the future that may frighten us, the past that guilts us. Stop. Find a comfortable space where you can be alone, sit comfortably and follow your inhales, your exhales, close the eyes to really take your attention inward. The breath is our mind-body connection; noticing the breath will bring your awareness into your body and out of your head. If you are developing a meditation practise, I highly recommend the Insight Timer App It’s a FREE mediation resource, there are many out there, but I have really come to enjoy this one and have found some of my, now, most favourite meditation teachers there.
Movement. Shifting energy around the body is vital when you are trying to lift yourself up. I chose a minimum of 30 minutes a day; manageable. It might be weight training, Yoga, cycling or a walk. It doesn’t need to be strenuous. There were some days I felt so depleted, that a short stroll just to be in the fresh air was all I could manage. It made the difference. Moving into stillness and practising the art of surrender, with yin yoga, provided a fantastic release. It’s why I took my yin yoga teacher training recently and will certainly be an area of my practise I intend to broaden.
Read/Listen. I, like you, I imagine, buy a lot of books and subscribe to a lot of podcasts. Setting aside time to read, or listen to something inspirational, intriguing or fun has been a valuable resource to me, to make me feel, to grow and to know I am moving forward. The book or podcast I chose will often, by divine intervention, strike something within me that either resonates or sparks interest and creativity. It doesn’t always need to be deep, soul searching material. Chose uplifting material, but make it something that makes you FEEL. When we check out, it’s easy, I know, to become numb to everything.
We are practising self care here, to bring us into a space of being, of feeling and accepting.
Spanish. I enjoy learning Spanish. Make this option something fun or creative. I am using the Duolingo App, it’s so easy and by doing it every day, I am really progressing!
I supplement these with regular time in the kitchen, cooking, baking. It’s true, I love to eat!
It’s about continuity. I do these 5 things every single day. Each activity might take between 10-60 minutes each. The times may vary, but I can not compromise on the activities. It’s not the time that matters, but the intention. I know committing to these things every day work to fill my cup, and keep it full. The results, I find, are illuminating in deepening my understanding of myself, of keeping my day to day experiences close and within my awareness. If we notice them, we can change them.
I maintain that awareness is the greatest agent for change. I enjoy feeling lighter, accomplished, more confident and capable.
Perhaps these commitments in selfcare might offer you some support? Maybe you have your own? I would love to hear.
As we embark on this adventure in Somerset, I take a leap of my own. I will be bringing my classes via Zoom very soon. I can do hard things, has become my mantra.
I will continue with my Ascot class, Friday mornings 09.30-11.00 and I will be establishing myself in a local Frome studio in the near future, where classes can also be live streamed via Zoom. If any of the above excite you, please get in touch.
For now, from the rolling green Somerset hills, I’m sending you Love.
Let’s bring this community close.
The biggest of hugs!
V x x