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Day at a time, Resting in the moment, 28.4.20.

29 Apr 2020

A Day at a Time – A Daily Blog of Life in Lockdown

Wakening to the soft sound of the rain today and allowing it to permeate my being as I go through the day. This gentle, enduring rain is reminiscent of the Lake District. I grew up going on family holidays to the Lake District and there is something comforting about the sound. And interestingly, when I think about it now, I did not notice that moment of resistance to how the weather is and normal tendency to remark on it – lamenting the change from the glorious sunshine. Maybe it was to do with appreciation of the softness of the rain or simply accepting how things are?

Everything is constantly changing – the weather, the sky, the sounds around us, the sensations within us, our relationships, individuals (friends and family), our looks – and yet so often we resist change, we want more of this or less of that and emotionally struggle against change. We want life to be a certain way…. the chocolate bar to go on forever.

A life of ease and calm involves opening to and welcoming each moment. We none of us know what it will bring, can we be open to its natural unfolding without the least trying to resist or control it? Right now, in this period of uncertainty can we rest in the not knowing……?

There is a story in books on Buddhism that goes something like this: –

A man lived with his son in a friendly neighbourhood. They were not well off. His son won a shiny red sports car in the lottery. When the neighbours heard the news, they came around to celebrate and said to the man “your son is so lucky”. The man said, “What makes you think this is a blessing?” A few weeks later the son crashed the car and was injured so badly that he had to remain in hospital. Again, the neighbours came around to console the man and remark on how unlucky the son was. Again, the man asked them what made them think this was a disaster. A month later, while the son was still in hospital an earthquake hit the area and the building the son would normally have been working in was destroyed.

Resting in the not knowing doesn’t mean being passive. Right now, living with the uncertainty we can start to watch and get to know what triggers our fears around Covid-19. For myself it is monitoring my news intake and the conversations I have. I am acutely aware of how fear and sadness feel in my body, the sensations that arise, the thoughts that may come along with them, but these too change and go if I allow them rather than get caught up in the story of what may happen. …In this way, I am living fully the life I have right now rather than being over-whelmed by fear. I am doing what feels right for myself and my family in terms of staying safe and well. It is not just my vulnerability to serious illness from Covid-19 but the health and happiness of the family as a whole, our mental health.

Hint: Take a mindful pause when you need to

Practice: Notice     Allow     Breathe

When you notice yourself beginning to become over-whelmed take a mindful pause.

  1. Standing or sitting and closing the eyes if you feel comfortable doing so. Begin by noticing how your body feels; feeling your feet on the ground, the sensations in your legs, scanning up your body and noticing and releasing any tension. Noticing how your shoulders are and maybe allowing them to drop, to lower. Feeling into your face and allowing the jaw to relax, the face to soften. Noticing what is going on for you, the sensations in your throat, chest and stomach. Simply noticing what is there.
  2. As best you can, allowing the sensations to be as they are without fighting against them. They are here, they are part of your experience right now, is it possible to acknowledge them without resisting without the normal tendency to struggle against them with all the accompanying thoughts “this is unbearable, why is this happening to me?” A being with how things are for you. A kindness in itself.
  3. When we are stressed or distressed, we breath hold and we breath shallowly in the chest. Spend a few moments allowing the breath to lengthen. Take some intentionally deep breaths, as many as you need until you feel your body begin to calm, begin to get the message from your breathing that the threat has passed.