We all feel the uncertainty; we are living within something that is unpredictable and indefinite in terms of the impact on our lives. It’s important that we take care of ourselves by acknowledging how we are affected by the culture that surrounds us.
As we approach the season of drawing into the home, we are already challenged with our world perhaps feeling smaller or limited. Of life feeling flat. We are living through a period of constriction and lack of connection and isolation which has altered the felt experience of everyday life. Not just in restricted freedom of movement and choices but how we perceive the future. We may be experiencing the contraction of the usual flow of life within our bodies; feeling tense through our thinking (which creates anxiety), and through heightened emotions. Maybe we are struggling with feeling alone or lonely (when aloneness is not a choice). Our nervous system senses what ‘is in the air’ as a threat which triggers tension or collapse patterns of fight/flight/freeze (activation or immobilisation) which govern our reactions to any situation. Our nervous system has a biological imperative to co-regulate itself in the presence of another (social engagement), which provides the feeling of safety. So if we are isolated we don’t have the normal cues of safety resonating from connection, and may experience the natural primal fear of abandonment, or being left alone (and so not surviving).
When we are feeling fear, we need to focus on safety and security to settle and soothe ourselves. And actually the winter months give us the opportunity to feel into small home based comforts, relaxing and dropping down into a slower space and looking inwards: to connect to ourselves. It is a time to nourish and nurture our battered and pinched spirits. We may be feeling tired or apathetic: worn out and drained. We can take time to repair and replenish the sense of lack and missing where our usual capacity to meet our needs ‘out in the world’ has been diminished. We are still able to connect to others, although perhaps without the intimacy of presence and resonance the body needs. We may have little sense of something definitive to look forward to, or of knowing when change will happen for us, yet the present moment can offer us respite from concerns about the future.
We aspire to feeling that we can direct our life, so we establish structure: routine, career, busyness and escape: travel, play and plans. These strategies ‘fill’ time and manage the sense of not knowing that underpins everyday life. The current discomfort and lack of feeling agency brings into sharp focus how many of our choices are designed to give us a sense of control over our lives, of finding a way to know what to do; when in reality we don’t know what the future will bring and we are not in control. When we are more accepting of this we can feel more open and soften. We have a natural tenacity to adjust and heal. We can trust that “this too shall pass” as the natural rhythm of life brings change without us efforting. We can register we are not alone in our experience.
We tend to relate to time as forwards momentum, creating a sense of possibility or change (often bought by the unplanned and unknown). This creates mental and emotional stimulation, engagement, openness and the sense of ‘aliveness’. Currently time may feel like it has a different quality as we ourselves feel less momentum and the horizon fuzzy, so we may feel more stuck and change less inevitable with less plans to hinge solution and agency on.
But it is this moment in time that connects us together in a shared experience of challenge. We are not alone in how we may be struggling but surviving. We have learnt to manage difficult circumstances, we have learnt to adjust to everything not being as we want it and not being in control, by finding different ways. We have learnt more about ourselves, our capacity, resiliency and resource. We still have abundance around us. We can trust ourselves. Now is the time to rest and digest.