Slowing down whole-heartedly

We have been thrown out of our daily lives, our daily routines and find us in extremes: On the one hand, corona is all over the news, the main topic in every conversation, and we see its impact on our daily lives as we might need to work from home, schools and stores are closed and some even experience extreme measures of not being able to leave their homes while others, such as care-givers, doctors and nurses and all the people making sure we don’t need to worry about food are working overtime to save lives and to ensure are basic needs are met. On the other hand, at least here in Europe, spring is awakening and every time I look out of the window and see the fresh green making its way to rise, listen to the songs of the birds in the morning and evening, feel the breeze on my skin I know: all is good. To consolidate these two worlds in my head, mind and body is not easy. I feel torn apart between updating the news on corona every 20 minutes on my phone and then again, taking a deep breath and being okay in this very moment; because actually in this very moment I am good. I am lucky: I am healthy, I have a home, I have a store around the corner where I can get food (even though some people still doubt that there will be enough next week and buy ways too much), I might be denied direct social contact to other people but have plenty of opportunities to get in touch with loved ones, I am not alone (I have another human being with me that I can hug and talk to any time), I have no problems breathing,…

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Practicing gratitude has been on my list for quite a while and I thought I had developed a solid routine. However, now I experience how difficult it is to stay in this mindset! I have been asking for a time of quiet and contemplation, a time when my days wouldn’t be dictated by the daily routine but by passions and creativity. And now I cannot even remember all the things I have always wanted to do when there was enough time! Now I am torn between being paralyzed in a daunting disbelief of all these changes coming around the corner in such a speed and standing firmly in the light of hope, knowing that actually for me, at this moment, everything is okay. Now that we have plenty of time to honor each moment, to slow down and breathe consciously; now that everything around us slows down my head, mind and body speed up.

But let’s pause for a moment here and observe in detail: Who and what is speeding up and who and what is slowing down? Yes, because of the measures of closed stores, schools, home office life is condensed; even freed from entertaining distractions (what we would call going to the movies, going shopping, going to the gym,…). And yet, at the same time, the fear of corona, and even more, of its impact on our lives speeds through our living-rooms, blasts its scare through the radio. New information comes thick and fast and its grip tightens. We feel scared, insecure and are drawn into a new addiction: deprived of our usual ways we found a new way of passing the time – corona news! I don’t mean to say it is not important to update on current measures and on information on how to help to enclose this pandemic. And we shouldn’t forget that every new case of infection and every new headline about the death toll so far is not just a statistic, but these are individual fates touching on multiple lives.

And yet, no wonder that, despite the time given to us, my head, mind and body are still speeding up. We deny ourselves the chance to look and feel inward and get back in touch with ourselves by feeding our need for sensational headlines and heated discussions which, in turn, feeds anger, desperation and fear. And these feelings and thoughts are not easily felt, thus, we turn them outward and look for something or someone to blame or for something to numb them (as stated before, our entertaining distractions as spending money while shopping or shaping our bodies in the gym or drinking one or two glasses of wine or the whole bottle). And we are back at the start of this circle. But this time we might have the chance to break through as our options of numbing are limited and even blaming the news on TV for everything gets boring with time. Hence, this time we might have the chance to actually even resist the last temptation and slowly arrive in our bodies, in our minds. And we might find fear and insecurity, but this time we know it is alright to feel all of this and we start living whole-heartedly and invite the seemingly good and the seemingly bad emotions into our lives.

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