28 April 2020
As I write to you today we are at the start of Day 34 of our Lockdown! It is early in the morning – a lovely cold morning – the birds are very busy outside my window and I can see so many autumn leaves lying on the paying outside, with the branches above becoming bare and interesting! Change has happened and our world around us is transforming.
This has been a difficult and hard week. I think there was a sense that last Thursday when our President spoke to us there would be change – welcome change – and things would become very different. Instead we woke up to the realization on Friday morning that not much had changed! We may be dropping down a level in our Lockdown , some people will be starting to go back to work and some businesses opening up slightly, but generally for most of us this Lockdown will continue much the same as usual and there does not really seem to be an end in sight!
This is now the time that we need to take stock again on an emotional level. This is challenging and we are all feeling vulnerable. Vulnerability according to Brené Brown, “is the emotion that we all experience when we face uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure – it is not about winning or losing.” Vulnerability calls us to be courageous, to be present when we cannot predict or control the outcome. Courage is about being brave and afraid at the same time, but nevertheless facing the situation realistically.
I believe what we all need now is a HUGE dose of compassion and love. Most importantly of all at this stage we need to show that compassion and love to ourselves, and then once we are feeling more centred again and more able to cope we will be able to full heartedly show the love and compassion needed to others. If you like, once the cup of our life is being filled once more, we will have the energy needed to reach out to others.
How do we do this? I would like to suggest a few things which may be helpful.
Being self-aware is very important. As Christians I think we often believe we need to be stoic and not let our emotions out. However, God has created us with emotions and it is important to recognize them, to be aware and to acknowledge them and deal with them appropriately. Take time by yourself to do this – they will not overwhelm you. Sometimes there is a sense of irritability or tearfulness or dis-ease and that is our clue that something is going on for us and we need to deal with it. Remind yourself that God is in this space too! Be gentle with yourself and show that compassion – try to do some of the activities that bring you energy and life.
We need once again to remind ourselves of the boundaries (personal space) that we spoke about previously, the calm space, that we need and take it.
We may need at times to distance ourselves from the people we are staying with for a while as we deal with these emotions.
Connection is vitally important. We need to allow ourselves to connect with those who understand us, who assist us, who bring us life and have many “cups of chat” with them. Find your support systems as we show compassion for ourselves and ask of them what you need.
Ground yourself in the present and be grateful – grateful for the small things. Try to be aware of the beauty around you, the physical space that you live in, the food you eat, the joy of living. We choose to be positive or negative and it has a huge impact on us emotionally and neurologically. (and on those around us!!)
Reach out for God and reach out to yourself this week! Find a space of calm and serenity within as you allow the God of Peace to be with you and fill you.