‘Whatever it is, coronavirus has made the mighty kneel and brought the world to a halt like nothing else could.” — Arundhati Roy
It’s time to stop.
We’ve been called to stop.
A virus is floating across the world, traveling like we were — insidiously and without care.
Before its arrival, we as a collective human race had abandoned our compassion for global health, planetary wellbeing and most importantly, for ourselves and each other. Because we were too busy consuming and distracting.
We were asleep.
We were so deeply asleep, we didn’t notice that last year alone five million children died worldwide of hunger, according to the FAO. That is 200 times more people than the number of deaths so far from Covid-19. Yet no alarm was raised, nor were we asked to radically alter our lives to save our hungry children.
We failed to mobilize to hold the broken spirits of our brothers and sisters; we looked away as they took their own lives because the despair and depression they’ve felt from living was so insufferable. Over a million people died last year, globally, from suicide and depression. If we want to talk about record numbers, let’s talk about that statistic.
This ‘war on germs’ — as horrible and horrific as it has been — has diverted our attention once again, dropped us onto a hamster wheel, and told us to ‘forget everything and run!’
So we are: living our lives in the future of ‘what ifs’ and running endless mental loops of worry and concern; stress and anxiety; anger and sadness, no doubt working towards boiling point, and fathomless numbers of post Covid-19 PTSD cases, because up until this point, we have spent most of our lives avoiding our feelings and suppressing our emotions.
It’s not our fault; we weren’t taught how to feel.
We learned from our neglected parents, who learned from their war-torn parents, to suck it up; rub some dirt on it; don’t cry; don’t feel — have a drink instead.
And now we’re seeing Generation X and the Millennials finally agree on one thing: It’s time to stop. It’s time to interrupt our ancestral behavior patterns of emotional escapism and let ourselves be for long enough for the dust of our busy lives to settle and clarity to ascend.
Our Emotions in Perspective
“Once we have mastery over our feelings, our fear of life diminishes.” — Hawkins
When we project towards the future — which is easy to do in times of uncertainty or pandemic crisis, when we naturally catastrophize — we’re spinning stories of worry and concern created out of a fear response.
We step out of our grounded, cognitive mind and we go for a warm dip in our emotional mind, where many of us drown because we’ve never learned to swim in the currents of our own emotions.
Our fear response has been acutely activated by this pandemic, and we think this is just what life is. And there are many real, hard, tragic situations happening around all of us right now. Everyone is experiencing their own trauma in some sort of way.
As Vean Ima wrote: “While some create, some will cry. While some take on a new project, some will die.”
There is a lot of real suffering happening.
But there is also a lot of suffering happening purely in our minds. And that projected pain and suffering we’re creating in our minds is the most dangerous water to swim in, full of rip tides and undertows.
So why haven’t we learned to ride the waves of our emotions, and walk as fully awake, radically compassionate beings, looking after ourselves, our planet, and future generations?
Because it’s too damn hard and no one has time!
Why are you distracting yourself from yourself? You’re really not that scary, you know
Our daily distractions of busy-ness make us think that we’re living, but actually, they stop us from living.
Our past traumas of neglect, abandonment, and shame are deeply buried into our subconscious and unconscious minds and they are constantly being activated, creating beliefs that we think are real. This stops us from living.
Fear stops us from living.
Without even knowing we’re doing it, we distract from our feelings because we don’t know what to do with them.
And because we don’t quite know how to feel, we create thoughts to distract ourselves from our emotions. We descend into the self-created narrative of our own minds, while our unfelt emotions play out on autopilot underneath.
We work ourselves up, overload our body with cortisol, a biochemical reaction that requires action, only to realize there is no real action we can take toward imaginary worries, so instead, we continue acting on distracting:
Netflix, gossipping, judging, wine, scrolling, online arguing, comfort eating, homeschooling and house cleaning.
And yes, during this pandemic, we’ve all been granted permission to have the extra bag of Haribo, larger glass of red, and our phones gripped in our hands for even longer than usual.
These are like temporary life jackets, keeping us afloat while we tread these red-flagged waters.
For me, it’s been the Snickers bar — chocolate and peanuts, perfect texture, perfect crunch, pure genius creation. But I unwrap that bar with conscious awareness, giving myself permission, rather than pacifying through unconscious distraction. This lesson of permission over distraction came in my sobriety, when after drowning for 20 years (using alcohol as a temporary floating device) I learned to swim through my own feelings like an Olympian.
So, what is a ‘distraction?’
It is any go-to ‘device’ that is no longer holding us up but pulling us down, ultimately, pulling us into the rip currents, avoiding our feelings and suppressing our emotions.
But now it’s time to swim like we were born in the water, it doesn’t matter how slow we go, as long as we start.
And to start, we need to be present, aware and not distracted.
It’s in conscious awareness when we learn how to navigate our powerful emotional waters: pain, fear, ache, anxiety — these feelings become waves we ride with ease and grace.
It’s not about washing the ache down with another swill of wine, but learning how to acknowledge it and to express it. The best way to step out of these emotions is to step into them and observe them. Then, you can start your journey to mastering them.
That is the truest form of self care and compassion, and as women especially, it’s our true form of power: understanding and knowing our true emotions.
We’re not asking you to do more, in fact, we’re calling you to do less; with greater reward.
Wake up, your mental alarm is going off!
We might feel like we’re being kept away right now, but how about looking at it as an opportunity to wake up?
Where do you choose to be during the uncomfortableness C19: the fear zone or the growth zone?
We are collectively out of our comfort zone; when a cell is taken out of homeostasis, it is forced to adapt, to grow.
And here you are with the time and space you always said you never had, to do just that.
This is our alarm clock: there’s no school run to get up for now, but it’s ringing in our ears to awaken us to decide on what kind of world we want to step back out into.
Will you jump out of bed and join in in creating a future you don’t want to distract yourself from?
Because your role as a creator being didn’t end the minute you birthed your children — it’s now your job to be a part of envisioning and creating a new world for them to live in. One which won’t have them watching the clock for an acceptable time to pop the cork on another day of just getting by.
Are you sure you want to go back to the life we were playing out before this happened? The hustle, the comparison, the victimhood, the dependencies, the resentment and frustration, the control, the injustice?
Creating a New World
This is your, our, springboard for a new reality.
What will you choose to stand for when all of this is over?
It means tuning into YOU.
YOU, the empowered, strong, creative woman you are. The you that has been nudging you to refind yourself and start living your personal truth.
It means reuniting with the parts of you that have been hidden and disconnected by the hustle of life and facing them full on so you know exactly who you are and what you believe in for when this first part of the year is over.
Really, it comes down to choosing between fear and hiding, or love and truth.
It takes us, as women, to help birth a new reality on this ground zero of the dismantling of the old way of living. And we have to know ourselves before we can step up.
This story is brought to you by Amanda and Rachel of Lokah Lab, a women run company bringing holistic empowerment to busy modern mums.
Find us at: www.lokahlab.com
Follow us at: @lokah_lab