2020 VISION: 3 LESSONS FROM LOCKDOWN
2020 began, much like any other year, with new diaries, new year's resolutions, and enough hopes and dreams to see us through 365 brand-new days.
It soon became, though, a year where dreams gave way to nightmares, with months of plans crossed out in our still-new diaries as covid-19 caused the whole world to go into lockdown.
But in the midst of all the chaos, fear and uncertainty, 2020 has been a year that has sharpened our focus.
We have been granted 20/20 Vision, and gifted with the opportunity to see things with more laser-like clarity than ever before.
Pre-covid life was, in so many ways, stale and crying out for a breath of fresh air to be breathed into it.
Sometimes it takes a shock to shift our state so that we can create positive change, and while we would all wave a magic wand and be rid of coronavirus in a heartbeat, there are so many things 2020 has taught us, and it would be a shame not to look for the lessons.
Because if life has taught me anything, it is that when bad things happen, I need to look harder for the gift amongst the grit.
LOCKDOWN LESSON #1:
I recognise who and what
is truly important in my life.
So much of modern-life has been caught up in materialism and endless consumer culture, of feeling that our life is lacking something, of believing that we are lacking in some way, of thinking "I'll be happy when...".
But lockdown has taught me who and what is truly important in my life.
Things and Stuff are not important.
But people are.
Lockdown has brought into sharp focus the people who I love, the people who are always there for me, through thick and thin, who check in with me daily or weekly, who provide nourishment for me that is soul-deep. My husband, my father, my best friends.
Our relationships with others and the community spirit that shone out during lockdown showed what truly matters.
Ironically, too, staying home has highlighted my love of the natural world, of the wild outdoors.
The 30-minute permitted daily walk was the part of my day I loved the most, and watching as mother earth cleaned up our mess, seeing her rivers begin to run clear again and breathing in lungfuls of noticeably purer air, was one thing I was thankful for.
Lockdown has shown me that what is unimportant is status, social currency, how 'popular' you are, or how many 'likes' your social media posts get.
What is important is that we and our loved ones are healthy and well and happy, that we look after each other and our planet, that we follow what brings us joy, and do more of what we love and what we came here to do.
That is all.
LOCKDOWN LESSON #2:
I accept the present moment.
I go slow and go with the flow.
The realisation for many of us has been that, actually, the idea that we were ever in control at all was just an illusion that made us feel safe.
The truth is that life throws us curve-balls all the time, things we could never have predicted or planned for.
All that is up to us is how we choose to respond.
And safety comes not from trying to control our outside circumstances.
We are only responsible for ourselves and what we do.
There is no safe place to get to. We are our own safe place.
At the start of lockdown, many people rushed out to panic-buy toilet roll, pasta and canned food, in a bid to exert some control over a situation that was, in so many ways, out-of-our-control.
If we have 50 cans of baked beans, 20 packets of pasta and cupboards overflowing with toilet rolls, then surely we are prepared?!
Though the panic-buying was simply a distraction from a scary reality.
Pre-lockdown, there was so much distraction available to us that it anaesthetised us to the more mundane or even painful aspects of our lives.
Our constant buying of things that we don't need, but that adverts have told us we 'must have' or we'll be left behind, has been nothing but a distraction.
Being at home more, and not seeing our loved ones or visiting the beloved places we usually visit as often as we like, offered us even less distraction.
And when we sit quietly with ourselves, with no buffer of any kind, this can sometimes feel horribly uncomfortable, because we can be faced with all the things we might prefer not to look at - fears, anxieties, insecurities, the things we wish were different in our lives.
But sometimes we need to see these things so that we can change them.
With no distraction, we have the time to go slow and to go deep within, to come face-to-face with the shadows we have barely dared to look at before.
Our 'shadows', as Carl Jung so often wrote about, are the aspects of our lives and our selves, that we bury deep within us and try not to look at.
So often these are 'wounds' from our childhood - from times where we felt unloved or unaccepted by our peers or even our family.
Our shadows include the things that we fear, such as illness, losing loved ones, being judged or even feeling that we are not seen, heard or respected.
In this very triggering time, where fears and 'shadows' have come up for so many of us , the time and space we have had to sit with them and face them has, in many cases, been a blessing in disguise.
Maybe you cried more during lockdown, or felt more 'down' than usual, but this is catharsis if we let the tears come.
Tears, I believe, are a physical expression of 'flow', a portal to enter into a 'Flow State', where we are invited to create something from a feeling that we allow to move through us like a wave.
I take my sadness and turn it into creations and, in the process, I begin to 'go with the flow' and hours go by in the blink of an eye. Time becomes meaningless.
If we see our 'shadows' and fears for what they are, if we name them and accept them, if we see the root cause of them and give our inner child a hug and let them hear the words they needed to hear at the time, we move from repression, fear and lack to acceptance, strength and abundance.
We may never be able to get rid of Fear, and nor should we want to - it is a friend who comes along with us on life's highway, there to keep us safe - but we can choose not to let it rule our life.
Without shadows, there would be no light, and without fear, there would be only recklessness and un-calculated risk.
In the midst of all the chaos and anxiety, too, many of us have felt the calmness that comes from realising that within us lies all that we need to cope with any curve-ball life may throw at us.
LOCKDOWN LESSON #3
No matter the circumstances,
I live with purpose and I follow my dreams.
Covid has made many of us question our life and what we are doing with it.
Lockdown has given many of us time and space to reconnect with ourselves, to ask, What is it that I truly want?
It doesn't have to be a tangible thing, it doesn't have to be big and grand, and it certainly doesn't have to be what you think you should do.
How do you want to feel? What is the quickest, easiest way for you to feel this way Today?
Who do you love?
What do you want to do?
Do it. Don't wait, make a start, take that first step. If it comes from a place of love and kindness, your actions will be activated by stardust!
What are your values?
Write them out, put them some place you'll always see them, and every important decision you make, check that it aligns with them.
What is your life's purpose? What is your mission? What were you born to do, and more importantly, Who were you born to be?
You already are that person. You already are living that mission. And you already have everything you need within you Now.
There is nothing to do but Be. To live the life that lights you up. And to be grateful for every life-giving breath that sustains you as you shine.