Well it’s Sunday at the start of what will be our third week of ‘lockdown’. When I first wrote about this a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling emotional and unsure what this new way living was going to be like. My world that I had carefully crafted and planned for the coming months was completely turned upside down as I became full time educator, entertainer and safe space for my 5 year old son whilst also trying to hold together a business and complete the project year of my qualification.
I felt totally overwhelmed at times and like many people I have spoken to whilst I was finding my feet in the change of role, I was also feeling like I was losing a part of who I was. Since then it has been quite a roller coaster.
Our family situation I currently as follows – I am in 'lockdown' with my young son and my 20-year-old daughter. We should have been in a time of planning celebrations and a party for her 21st and currently she should have been in New York – her trip of a lifetime. Yes, 1st world problems but they mean a lot to her and it’s OK she feels disappointed. My eldest daughter lives with her Dad and this means we see each other via video call and have had a couple of chats at either end of the garden when she has had to pick something up. My step- children are with their mum and live away so again it’s been a few video calls. We also have parents who are in isolation and I am feeling the loss of connection with my mum the most. We saw each other on such a regular basis, and she plays a huge part in my son’s life along with my step dad. Whilst we stay in isolation we deal with the complexity of having a husband who is still required to travel around sites for construction and demolition – these workers have been asked to stay working, so like many other families we follow strict guidelines of him having to wash his clothes as soon as he gets in – no contact with us until he has showered and changed and there is the worry about how he can keep himself and therefore us safe.
There have been days when I have felt again completely lost , when the tears have come – tears for a little boy who still doesn’t really understand why he can’t see his siblings, friends and grandparents, tears of worry about my husband and all those still out there working, tears for those that are being so badly effected by this awful illness.
… and yet … I also seem to have worked through certain steps in my own mindfulness practise – some through continuing to hold faith in my practise and some steps perhaps because it is in my nature to adapt.
Transition Not Change
I have started to notice a change in my thoughts and feelings in the last few days. Before I titled my blog - choppy waters ahead .. now I feel I am starting to navigate my way - and to steer my ship rather than simply be thrown around on the ocean.
o I was reminded of the story of a prisoner of war who was able to move onward from his most awful experience because when he was in prison he held onto hope that it would end – but he never put an end date on it – he never said – I hope it’s tomorrow or next week – because when that didn’t happen he would feel disappointed so he just held onto hope it would end. Now my experience is far far from that which he went through but the concept of not looking to see when we get back to normal – just holding faith that we will has lessened the pressure on me – has stopped me counting days and this feels a better to be.
o I have stepped away from trying to fit my old normal into my new normal – we have a routine but it’s our routine – it’s not based on the old school routine and it’s not based on how I used to work and its not based on what anyone else is doing. It’s a slower pace.
o I have started accepting that some things are being put on hold – and that’s OK. The world is still turning, and they can be picked up again in later months.
o I have for sure stopped comparing myself to others who talk about how well they are adjusting, how quickly they had online offerings out there and those that are having time to reflect and to read.
o My days whilst slower are very much full on – I am still juggling everything I said at the beginning -so there is no space for looking to be something different ... and that’s OK... but so strange how you can get caught up in the ' I should be' thoughts so quickly. ( emails from individuals advising on how I can make great opportunity from this for my business are now simply deleted and my social media is very much filtered ).
What I have done is found ways to be useful to my community both on line and off line - taking one thing at a time and ensuring I can keep to it - a consistent voice in uncertain days.
o My son is finding joy in his toys – there is no expectation of anything new – and I love that simplicity he has – he is starting to be accepting of his world and making the most of everything he has... he is finding his own routine and I am going with that.
o Most importantly I have been reminded to approach this not as a total change but as a transition – I am reflector I need time to process before I act – and this is no different – it is a state of flux and it is not a change to a new normal as it’s always shifting at the moment.
o It’s OK to step back and take time to see where your ship is heading – to take time to regain your balance before you jump ahead... to live by your values and not feel rushed into making decisions in the now.
I believe that we will come through this – I don’t know when and I am OK with letting that sit – we are in it for the long haul – so don’t rush ... 'Stop Breathe Be Present – Be Mindful. '
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