How do we face uncertainty during these testing times, both as individuals as well as together? I started writing this a few weeks ago at the start of lockdown. I recently spoke with my friend and the overwhelming message that had already come out of their experience…presence….during a time of great uncertainty they adapted to living in the present. On reflection, a child’s natural state is to be present. Yet somehow in adulthood, we get detached from the importance of it, it can feel alien and strange. In the case of my friend, he loved seeing how his daughter responded to her day-to-day activities with joy and pleasure. Yes, she missed her friends. Yes, she missed scootering about in the park, but with no worry about what might come next, she was pottering about and living freely.
Have we been trying to control things for too long? A Buddhist saying I heard recently said: “Relax, everything is out of control”. Well, that certainly turns western thought on its head and I have to say I like it. Maybe trying to control things too much has given us a false sense of safety and security in a world that is already full of uncertainty. Is it now time to forge a new relationship with uncertainty? To even embrace it, to acknowledge the darkness and uneasiness and then choose something else instead; compassion, calm, connection?
I love the ‘what if’ concept! What if we weren’t actually being forced into lockdown, but were actually choosing it ourselves, how might we then look at it differently? Is there an opportunity now to shift our perspective and move into a different space?
So even in the course of writing this, with plenty of distractions, I decided to move from uncertainty to connection and actually try to unpick this and explore how I would do just that. I was able to go deeper into this by creating an online workshop – How can we stay connected during turbulent times?
My five main points of connection:
- Connecting with now.
- Connecting with others.
- Connecting with self.
- Connecting with the breath.
- Connecting with the body.
Connecting with now, just the day, the hour, or the minute. I was wondering whether if this list was in order, does it come at the beginning or actually does everything else on the list need to happen before it can be achieved. Human beings have this thinking process which allows us to ruminate over the past or worry about the future. What activity or place allows us to be present? Connecting with others be it via zoom, talking to our neighbors over a wall, with family; this is everything and I love technology right now for enabling us to attend online classes, conversations, quizzes, and parties. After all, we are social creatures, and isolation and loneliness, they now say, is more dangerous than smoking. Who is that person we can check in on? ‘Self’ is our starting point, our foundation, if we are distracted by other things we are not being with ourselves. Maybe it’s time to keep ourselves company and be kinder too. With the array of emotions and feelings that might come up during this time, acknowledging all of them seems important. Actually those uncomfortable feelings seem especially important when we sit with them, what can we learn? When was the last chance we had the time and space to do just that?
Connecting with the breath actually enables us to connect with our body in new ways and that is why it is being talked about and practiced more and more. Breath is our most powerful free tool to change our physiology in order to feel really good (See Wim Hof and Breathpod for their amazing methodologies and online courses). When we connect with the breath we are then connected with our body. Is this perhaps then, where presence exists? I’m trying to get familiar with this connected feeling myself and also find out what it feels like for my clients and the different ways they may or may not be experiencing it. We are the ones who can make that shift, first inside us and then hopefully that can pave the way for others to make that shift as well.
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