When the world goes topsy-turvy, it’s tempting to try and forge a sense of normalcy by sticking to old habits and trusty routines.
But if this pandemic has taught me anything it’s that now is most certainly not the time for a business-as-usual approach.
As just one example of many, if I ignore social distancing and traipse about like all is fine and dandy, I could kill someone, quite literally.
So how are we to take advantage of these challenging times?
For me, with much more time on my hands (and a great deal of that time being spent alone), I’m finding that life is a bit like an extended meditation.
And just like seated meditation, there are periods when I find myself calmly blissed out on the interconnectedness of all life…and other times when I feel like I’m crawling out of my skin with impatience, anxiety, anger, fear, [fill in the blank].
Shining light in dark places
This never-ending meditation has made some of my usually hidden patterns a wee bit more obvious.
For example, when I’m confronted with the reality that I can’t control what other people do (for instance, whether or not they socially distance) I often get angry and judgmental.
In fact, for the first week or two of quarantine, I was feeling angry and judgmental a lot.
But then I began to notice that underneath the anger was fear and vulnerability.
When those feelings arose, it felt safer to focus on how angry I was, getting all wrapped up in the self-righteous narrative, but in doing so, I essentially abandoned that part within myself that was feeling scared.
And that–the self-abandonment–is what really felt cruddy, more so than what anyone else was or wasn’t doing.
Staying hyper present with myself when these emotions arise feels a bit like cracking open a tough shell, leaving me feeling exposed, but also tenderly compassionate, aware of how connected I am to every single living being on this earth.
I’ve also found that this presence leaves me more clear-headed to focus on the choices that are actually under my control.
Curiouser and curiouser
Now is a powerful time to explore (and reinvent, should you choose) any patterns or routines in your day.
What do you typically do when you first wake up?
When you get hungry?
When you feel bored?
When you feel highly energized?
When you feel lonely?
When you feel creative?
Before you go to bed?
You certainly don’t need to examine each and every one of these elements in a single day; perhaps choose just one to go Sherlock on.
For example, if your morning routine involves getting on your phone while you brew coffee, get curious as to how these activities affect your energy, your mood, your mental clarity, your connection to your body.
Is there a practice you’ve always been wanting to do instead, like:
- meditating for five minutes?
- watching the sunrise while you drink your coffee?
- weaning yourself off of coffee?
- doing a short yoga routine?
If your situation is anything like mine, you’ve been given the gift of more time and space to be introspective and purposeful.
When we get to the other side of this, I, for one, want to know that I’ve used this opportunity, not to stalwartly stick to what I know, but to change, expand, and grow.
Care to join me?