I’m not. Neither am I going to tell you to look for the silver lining, have a positive mindset or meditate and it will all go away. Nope. Not telling you any of that. I know what you’re thinking. What the actually hell Kerry! But hear me out. Me telling you to keep positive will not change how you feel. In fact, it could make negative feeling’s intensify because you don’t feel that way. You could still be adjusting, be feeling too much stress and worry. You may not have reached that mindset yet. So what I am going to do instead, is show you instead of tell you. You are going to do the work on this one okkkaaayyyy? You are hopefully going to come to your own conclusion….
Why I’m Not Telling you to Keep Positive
There is no mistaking, we are living in extreme times at the moment. None of us have done this before. Lived like this before. We are all slowly feeling our way. It is ok to feel overwhelmed. Totally ok. I am not here to downplay any of your fears. Many of the things that we took for granted, have been taken from us. For some of us, our income. For all of us, freedom to travel (Ohhhhh how I miss travel). We are suddenly facing the lack of food in supermarkets. We are being prevented from seeing our loved ones that do not live in our house hold. We are down to our last loo roll……….But, as weird as it may sound, there are some truly beautiful sides to what we are all currently dealing with too. I know at this point, you are all expecting this little eco warrior to start talking about the benefits we are seeing in the planet….Well you guessed wrong, I’m not…….not yet anyway…ahem.
I want to talk about you. I want to talk about why YOU, are the beautiful and positive thing happening here. Every single one of you, of us, are the silver lining. The reason for this? Well we have the absolute luxury of being given choices. We have the choice, and the chance, to, (in the words of the late and great Micheal Jackson), make the world a better place. We are being presented with so many lessons if we choose to notice them, so many chances to be better. How can that ever be anything but positive right? Mother Nature has put us all on the naughty step to think about our actions. Like any loving parent, she is doing it for our own good. What a gift!
I have a deep down to my soul belief, that life had to change. The way we were carrying on and living, had to change. We, especially in the Western world, have lost sight of so much that is important. Our privilege has made us expectant. We live very unconsciously. We move through life only seeing half of what is there. Usually the unimportant half!
Well, this is our chance to pause. To take a breath. To see and truly learn the lessons that we are being presented with. Any negative, uncomfortable feelings that we are feeling are for a reason. They are to act as a reminder of this time. These feeling will put a little imprint on our memory, to hopefully, wave at us if we slip back into old ways. It will remind us of these uncomfortable times when they have passed. I appreciate it may not feel it right now, but it truly is a gift, and I say that with experience.
I have had this harsh lesson. In the months following sitting in the stark, white Doctor’s office to be told Nik had grade 4 cancer. This lesson was given loud and clear. The best way to express it is with an analogy. When we emerged from the horrors of Nik’s first cancer battle, scarred and bruised, it was like that scene in the Wizard of Oz. You know the one where Dorothy opens the door after landing in Munchkin Land? The black and white life that we were watching Dorothy live was suddenly colour. Bright, vivid colour. Well that is what our life was suddenly like. Everything was more colourful and more vivid. It was like we had been given new eyes to see with. Life was so much more beautiful. Well, I feel the same about this situation we are all in. I think if we are lucky, and open to it, we will all be given a new set of eyes to see with after this scary time passes. I can tell you with certainty, that too will be a gift!
Let us be clear on something here though. I am not in any way, trivialising anyones fears. I have fears too. I lost my income overnight with this. My youngest son lost his job. I worry about Nik and our eldest son. Both on the high risk list. I worry about my parents, Nik’s Dad. But, my worry will not change what is. This is way bigger than me. Bigger than all of us. Worry will just steal my energy, my sleep and my ability to think rationally. Fear will not serve me right now and I promise you, letting go of what we cannot change is liberating.
For many, fear will be an emotion bubbling away. It may disguise itself as another emotion, like frustration, panic or restlessness. But these feelings have their roots in fear. Fear is a powerful emotion, that can cloud all other thought processes. It can make us irrational and short tempered. But I will let you into a secret here. If you sit beside that fear, acknowledge and feel it fully, you instantly dilute it. You halt it in its destructive tracks. I urge you to accept that you feel the fear, and let it flow over you. By not fighting it, accepting that your fear is there, takes the sting out of it and helps you think clearer.
The little gem of knowledge to remember, is that a lot of that anxiety is because you are fearful of what could happen. Your mind is taking you away from the present, to a possible version of reality to come. As humans, we are predisposed to think of worse case scenarios. But, the minute you switch your brain to what you CAN do now, in this moment, rather than thinking of all that you can’t do, you disperse some of fears power. Anchor yourself to the here and now, this moment. Seeing what you have gained rather than lost could help you. Oh and fyi, Hope is the kryptonite to fear, the arch enemy. Bring out those big guns in abundance.
Just a handful of the things I have gained;
There WILL be things you have gained. You may have to look a little harder if they do not jump out to you. But there will be something. Here are just a handful of mine…
Time with my sons – My boys both work full time. They leave the house early, often returning late. Although one is still at work (he is on the key worker list), he returns straight home after work, rather than going to the gym or to friends. We are finding that we are all able to eat dinner together, something rare in our home and busy lives. We are all playing board games, having long conversations, watching films together. We are reconnecting as a family, and as individuals. What a positive that is!
Losing my income – I know, weird thing to put as a positive right? But, I have been dissatisfied in my day job for a long time. I earn an ok wage, but my passion for it has gone. This has made me look into, and apply for, other jobs. It has made me broaden my horizons on the sort of work I could do. I feel excited about changing the industry I work in. My eyes are wide open to opportunity and new business ideas. Yes, I have the worry of not earning a wage at the moment, but I will apply for the mortgage holiday, look at my monthly outgoing to see what I can reduce. I can do practical things to help my situation. Worry is not one of them.
Not seeing my Family and Friends – Facetime, HouseParty, all are great right? Thank goodness for them. But, they do not replace those hugs and face to face contact from our loved ones. How much are we going to cherish and appreciate them after this passes. Perhaps, we will not ever take them for granted again??? Big ole positive right there!
Having limited food – I am no cook. My ability is limited and I have no real interest in it. However, not being able to get some of the things I usually buy has made me inventive! It has made me explore recipes using the ingredients that I have at my disposal. I am not saying I am now a good cook, but I am definitely learning! If you need to know any ideas for what to do with a potato, I am your girl!
Being Stuck indoors – I am finding that I am reconnecting with myself, totally and fully. The weird thing is, I had known that I had to do this since the start of the year! I mentioned it in my post I just Feel Differently, that I was trying to quiet the noise. During this enforced pause, I have made decisions about my future and my life that I would perhaps have kept chasing to find in my head. I feel lighter for it!
Excited to Travel Again – You know travel is my thing. It has been part of mine and Nik’s life forever. But, the excitement I feel to get travelling again is ridiculous! I have never taken my privilege to travel for granted, but I do know I will travel differently now. I have been busy researching and building my “travel some day” list, and it is different from my original one. I have a different vision now of how I want to travel. I am so blooming excited!
I think overall, now I have calmed my fears, I have a feeling of gratitude and appreciation. I am grateful for what I have in my life, that makes me miss it so much! I am grateful for the lessons we are being given. I wish they were not as harsh, thats true, but let’s face it, we were not listening! Mother Nature was literally screaming into our ears to be more mindful of how we live. Coronavirus has become natures ally. The benefits that the planet has experienced just in the short lockdown period have been astounding. Rivers running cleaner. Pollution levels reducing by the week. Nature starting to flourish because of reduced footfall. Wildlife being able to have a little peace.
People are returning to the core values. Family. Cooking from scratch. Spending time together. Walking outside. Re-connecting with each other. Communities are being strengthened. Acts of kindness are all around us. We are caring about our neighbours, and the vulnerable in our areas. We are regaining our humanity and appreciation of each other. When I am on my daily walk outside, anyone I pass is saying hello and smiling. What a difference that makes! We are making eye contact with strangers without being viewed with suspicion. I am noticing the gorgeous gardens and areas of my neighbourhood. Drinking in the sights. It’s a beautiful thing!
I am not saying that this virus has been welcomed, not for a minute. It has been devastating and catastrophic for so many. But it has certainly come with some positives. It is why I truly feel that each and every one of us has the chance to be the silver lining in this. No one should be putting pressure on themselves to be learning Latin, doing a chemistry degree or practising for Masterchef. A Netflix/duvet/PJ day can soothe the soul too. But, I am saying that we have the opportunity to make change. In our own lives, and in how we treat planet Earth. We can emerge from this being better. Even if you are still not there yet with seeing anything positive in any of this, the change is happening, That will eventually filter through to you, even if its just in the cleaner air your breathe! You will be touched by the positive side, even if you resist it…(cue evil laugh and stroking of a cat, James Bond badee stylee)
So, to keep with the positive theme, I would love to know something positive that you have experienced during this. Especially those of you reading this that feel scared or a little shell shocked. Look around, there will be something good to share. I can not wait to hear what your positives are xx
I have 25 ideas for things to do while we self isolate if you need some distracting!