Living in highly anxious times & Expanding on your inner state
Hi peeps, and welcome to my blog post. I hope this blog finds you well (enough). I’m currently sitting here in my PJ’s, teeth unbrushed, hair unbrushed, face unwashed at 11:51 am on a Monday morning. With a headache. And a feeling of general malaise. Not wanting to actually do anything, yet wanting to. Feeling a little trapped inside myself if I’m honest.
I’ve been off sick for the past month or so with pneumonia and I’m still recovering physically, and according to the news this morning, it appears right now that I’m going to be officially at home for a few more months (or so it seems according to our PM). Adding to all of that I’m also homeschooling because, as of mid-last week, I pulled my child out of school (due to me being high risk), and, as a result of my illness and now current world events, it also appears that my Long Jetty practice/office will be (temporarily - I am an optimist at heart) going down the gurgler, just as it had started to take off.
I’ve had to do some “official reframing” of where to from here, and my mind is slowly coming back to life, but I’ll admit to some numbness as well, and a desire to go deeply inward. I have a lot of knowledge, wisdom and tools, and yet expressing anything at this time just feels a little bit pointless, as I watch the world go crazy on the television, from the safety of my home and my armchair.
I’ve also had quite a few moments of tears, disbelief, fear, anxiety, depression, inspiration and lethargy lately.
Overall I’ve actually been mainly outwardly calm. Rational. Measured. I’ve been leading the way for my children (I have two - one about to turn 25, the other just turned 15), and, in case you didn’t know - I’m a sole mumma/parent. And lately, I’ve really had to turn up for them - making decisions about their lives and putting my foot down, laying down the law about social distancing, new home routines, etc. Anyone who knows me personally knows that I’m not naturally the most rigid of people, so this has been a bit uncomfortable for me, but out of necessity, I’ve risen to the challenge.
Another thing I’ve been having to do is (without panic buying), trying to slowly stock our pantry to cope with 2-3 weeks worth of meals (some are not going to be very exciting), and ensuring that I keep up to date with the news and latest developments as they unfold. I’ve taken the helm as required at home, but, on the other hand, my business seems to have just gone kaput. I haven’t attended my office or seen a client since early February. It is what it is.
One thing I’ve really noticed is that I’ve been feeling a slight sense of disconnection. It’s totally normal, but it’s there, and it’s slightly weird. Sometimes my girls are talking to me, and I realise I’m not listening to them. I’m finding it hard to zone in on them as often as I normally do, and finding it hard to stay on topic for them. It’s like I want to interrupt them all the time and just say, ok, sorry, can we come back to this later? I’m too busy ensuring that we survive to actually listen to you right now. It’s primal, I’m wired for survival. I feel it in my whole being.
I’m tense. I’m noticing my jaw, neck and shoulders are really tight and sore. My body is stiff. My breathing isn’t as deep and full as I need (I have a tendency to hold my breath and/or breathe very shallowly when I’m stressed or in pain, etc), and pneumonia hasn’t helped. I’m regularly stretching and scanning my body and being aware of what’s going on for me.
When this happens, I use my practice - I notice, I accept, I gently breathe deeply, roll my shoulders, gently massage my jaw, physically practice softening the muscles, then send myself love and compassion. And I’m not even bothering to meditate a lot. My mind isn’t there for it. But I’m practising active mindfulness. Gentle forgiveness. Self-love and compassion. Non-judgemental acceptance. It is what it is. It’s natural and normal to respond in these ways. And I talk about it openly with my girls. “I’m sorry, I’m really having trouble listening these days, I’m noticing I’m finding it hard to concentrate, please tell me again.” Sometimes they respond with anger, and that's ok too. I accept this is also normal, I understand and I love them anyway. Staying calm and saying, yeah I know, things are really stressful and weird at the moment. Let's just try to be kind with each other and help each other out. Letting each other blow off steam, self-isolating to our own rooms (lol) when we need some time out. Being respectful of the weirdness of the moment, and letting it go.
Practising non-judgmental awareness, acceptance and compassion is a big enough challenge at the moment, so I’m trying to let go of needing to excel, to rise to a new challenge and create new and better things or even worrying about the need to constantly move upwards and forwards in some way (especially with my daughters' schooling right now). Allowing space. Knowing this isn’t forever. Breathing deeply into the unknown and reminding myself that life is, and has always been, unknown. Always unfolding in ways unexpected - nothing is ever promised. Never has been. Never will be. Focusing on that can only increase anxiety, and fantasizing about control is an illusion piece anyway.
So for now, I’m going to go with what we need for today. What do I need right now (a shower if I’m to be honest, and a good tooth brushing session), and then some lunch. And I’ll worry about what’s next after my sandwich.
Big love, Julie x