What has Self-Isolation taught me?
My 3 biggest lessons…
We have been in Covid-19 isolation, at home, together, for a while now – our lives have changed so much in such a short amount of time – and yet, humanity is still the same as ever!
We walk, dream and be, in the duality of our lives – we are anxious and confident; we are distressed and courageous; we are alone and together; we are grieving and content; we are bored and busy…
It is the Yin/Yang of life – the opposites of humanity and nature balancing the light and shade in almost perfect harmony…. or is that fake news too?
I want to share what I am learning about life in tumultuous and changing times… What and how the Covid-19 pandemic has changed us forever, as we stay the same forever.
We are in the same storm, but we are not in the same boat.
The 3 big learnings about change and self-isolation…
1: We are not meant to be still, but it sure is nice for a while….
We are born to move and change, that is a fact. As we grow, we change, we experience movement and we learn what to believe or what meaning to put on any change or movement. Some learn that change is to be feared, to be run from and to be rejected. Some learn that change is fabulous, encouraged and to be accepted with open arms…. You may be either end of these, or somewhere in the middle.
In my life time I have seen the collective shift toward stress and business – that you cannot succeed, cannot be successful or cannot compete unless you are busy and stresses 24/7… and we are passing this onto our kids – the constant after school activity, the constant competition, the never-ending busy!
We have forgotten and lost the art of boredom and rest… It is in these two states that we imagine, dream and create…. I would say more important than the competition, the endless practice or the rushed dinner on the lounge.
We have lost the art of living – we have given our power to the stress and the busy.
For some, this time in isolation is a wonderful time to be bored, to dream, to re-invent, to re-prioritise and to de-stress. A time to connect again – to yourself, your dreams and your heart; to your family, to sit together and laugh and eat; to what you think is important; and even to your spirit, that might lead you to change, to compassion, to forgiveness to softness.
For some this time in isolation is stressful and terrible – the loss of work, the loss of income, the stress of what to do next, how to pay the rent…. There is no denying the pain and grief is real and life changing…. It is in these moments that we feel complete fear and dread – this is the time to give yourself time to rest and sit in quiet time, to breathe and listen to your fear, to befriend it and so not be afraid of the fear itself, but use it to spur you on, to feed your courage and boldness. Sometimes, easier said than done, but with compassion and care, the most amazing place to be!
Routine is your best friend during the home-time – the enforced isolation… routine keeps you active, busy, confident in what is going to happen next and feeling competent in tasks completed. So when you start needing to move again – routine is going to help you move, stay grounded and feel a sense of certainty, in the uncertainty of isolation…
The Covid-19 crisis has well and truly brought us into individual and collective trauma. To find relief or to break the trauma cycle before it sets in, we need to feel that we can move, that we can foresee what will happen next and be confident in our ability to survive. If you are in any of these – if you are feeling hopeless or helpless or uncertain, your nervous system will be taking a battering, your whole body will be out of balance, your hormones a little shattered and your digestion faltering….So, here movement is your best friend.. physical, emotional and spiritual movement – allow movement to clear, and calm, to re-align and re-balance…
So, no matter what ‘boat’ you are in during this storm, change in some form is inevitable, movement expected…. embrace it, don’t fear it…. dream, imagine and move.
2: Anxiety, fear and lack, then what…
It is the human condition to jump onto the negative of any situation… we naturally head toward fear, danger and warning… unless of course we are aware of these natural reactions – acknowledge them and then move into something slightly more positive (or not, if necessitated!).
The human condition also includes inter-generational stress passed down in our cell memory and nervous system memory… I would suggest that every person has had an ancestor who suffered severe loss, lived in poverty or was unable to rise from hopelessness… So, this means that each of us carries in our cells, in our sub-conscious memory the feeling, fear or innate reactions towards lack – having nothing, having everything taken from us and being out of our control.
Maslow’s Hierarchy of Basic Needs illustrates the levels of basic human need – the base level suggests that a persons safety and happiness rests on having basic survival needs met – food, drink, shelter, oxygen and sleep. The next level suggests the next level of safety found in physical safety – to feel safe in the world.
It is these levels that we first react from – the need for toilet paper, rice and flour… What is going to happen to me – my job, my rent, my business, my parents etc….
Then what? Once we feel safe, that the questions are answered, the Government, banks, workplaces are looking after us, we then move to needing connection… love, affection and belonging… Zoom has won out here!
You may then need to feel of value and respect – self-esteem – confidence, independence and freedom; recognition and appreciation. A difficult place if you have lost your job, or part of your income!
It is then that you may need self-fulfilment… awareness, completeness and joy among other things… you may learn mindfulness, meditation, explore spirituality, find purpose and more.
You may be in level one or five, or anywhere in between… we are all different, we all are fed by our own experiences and beliefs from the past… Wherever you are on the path, simply allow yourself to be there, to thrive and move toward the next.
3: We are forced to hold the best and worst of ourselves in equal parts without distraction…Connection is key!
As we are all in different situations within this Covid-19 pandemic, the stillness and quietness will play differently for each of us. We live each day simply distracting ourselves from what we fear the most, or what we dislike most about ourselves… we may use food, exercise, sex, talk, tv, music, business… but in this time when our usual distractions are no longer there, we are suddenly forced to feel, face or fear our shadows…
We all have shadows, we all have memories, feelings and thoughts that we would rather not, that embarrass us, or we feel shame, guilt, anxiety… These feelings can be incredibly scary if you have run from them your whole life – if you have never sat with them, far out, that’s scary!
But, they are only feelings, only emotions, they cannot kill you. There is a saying ‘I nearly died of embarrassment’ – I have been so covered in shame and embarrassment that I thought I couldn’t live through the day… however, I now know that when I face my shadows, look them straight in the eye, acknowledge them, befriend them, feel safe with them, and finally allow them to just be, and let them go… that I am not held by them, my life is not ruled by them… I am not eating to cover my discomfort of guilt or shame….
When we hold our ‘shadows’ in fear and distraction, we also hold them in our bodies, which can create stagnation, pain, or illness. The outside is the same as the inside – your outer body reflects your inner self – your body reflects your thoughts, fears, beliefs and perspectives – your body reflects how much you are fighting what is carried inside… your body reflects the struggle within your spirit.
For some this time in isolation can be the opportunity to face these fears or shadows, to end the power struggle, to finish the endless running, to finally connect your mind-body-spirit… to feel safe in your own skin and life each day with confidence and freedom!
If you have been touched by anything in these words, would like more information, or would like help and support with your ‘shadows’, or simply want to know how to connect your mind-body-spirit, please contact me on the link below now…
It will be such an honour to help you in what you need to live a beautiful, heart-filled, clear and energised life.