Be still, lean in… and express…

“…I’m taking the day off.

Quiet as a feather.

I hardly move though really I’m travelling

A terrific distance.

Stillness. One of the doors

Into the temple.

  • Mary Oliver (a verse from the poem: Today)

By now, after week two of the lock-down, learning that we are all set up for another three weeks, we all got to know ourselves a little bit better. And this, in a time of uncertainty, loneliness and stillness. Maybe we were surprised about our resilience and strength, and maybe we are caught off guard about the fact that we are human after all. That we also experience grief and ungroundedness when we are not in control at all. One thing we learned from life, is that “what is not expressed, is depressed”.

After leaning in with some form of mindfulness, prayer, or a creativity exercise, we need to make sure that we express in some way what we were experiencing. Becoming aware of difficult feelings like impatience, insecurity or hopelessness, pleasant feelings like thankfulness or peace, we need to share that in some way. Maybe not spill those sacred experiences on social media for everyone that is ready or not ready to listen, but to our closest loved ones. The ones we experience as a safe space. There are many chapters in our lives where such a safe space is not available to us. Luckily research has shown that journaling can be even better than seeing our psychologist! Now will be a good time to start. We can always share these experiences later, when we have somebody listening to us again. When we struggle for words, like most of us do, make it simple. We can make sure to have the next few pages in our notebook:

1. What I would love to do when lockdown is over.

2. My need-to-do list when lockdown is over.

3. My most meaningful moments and insights during lockdown.

4. What I learn about myself and others during lockdown (the light and shadow sides).

5. Long term changes I want to make after lockdown.

6. How I want to find meaning by making a small change in others’ lives during and after lockdown.

7. Sharing thoughts when I face my losses and worries during lockdown. (“This is hard. I really worry about the finances. I feel it in my stomach, and I am really overthinking everything today”.)

8. Affirmations or mantras I want to remember during lockdown. “I am not stuck at home, I am safe at home.”

9. Wow things I did during lockdown. (New hobbies, finished the puzzle, did a breathing course on-line).

10. Kind words for myself when I forget to practice self-compassion. (“I am there for me today. I am doing my best and this is good enough).

As a wise mentor taught me long ago, throughout all this, “have a lot of grace for yourself.”

Mariki Smith

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