On February 19, 2020, I wrote an article on the need to slow down with these main questions:
“Why are we in a hurry?”
“Where are we running so fast?”
A month later we were confined and today we spent a month at home.
By force of circumstance, we’ve been slowed down. Daily life has been turned upside down. In the coming weeks our habits will change, we’ll have to go out with masks, take precautions and so on. For the moment, we have no visibility yet on what this will mean for our future.
Over the past month, our physical movements have been reduced. On the other hand, our “inner world” has accelerated. Many fears, emotions and thoughts are coming up in our heads and bodies.
Confinement cuts us off from our “physical” social bonds and especially from our habits. Our habits give us a certain sense of security. By habit, we know what we are doing and we know where we are going. By our habits, we know who we are. So being confined, destabilizes and challenges us.
It also affects our health, our bodies and our survival. Fears and anxieties from old memories come to the surface. It is now scientifically proven that in our genes are recorded the memories of the experiences of our ancestors. If our ancestors lived through war or famine, fears and emotions related to the lack of food, for example, lead us to build up reserves. The rise of these transgenerational memories can be difficult to manage because we are not aware of them and we do not immediately recognize the survival mechanisms behind them. We are suddenly overwhelmed by emotions, like a wave hitting us. We are struggling to get some air and get back to the surface.
Finally, all of this is exacerbated by the fact that we no longer have any visibility of the future, whether it is our personal future, the future of our children or the future of the entire earth. The situation is completely beyond our control. As the weeks go by, we receive new informations, everything is said and contradicted, we are completely lost.
Our mind’s role is to keep us alive. As soon as an event occurs, unconscious behaviours and patterns come up based on our past experiences and background. For most of us, this situation is unprecedented. Our mind cannot connect to anything to make sense of it all. Our mind and our thoughts are spinning at a thousand miles an hour, we no longer know what to believe or whom to believe. We are completely overwhelmed by events.
For a few days now, I’ve been thinking over and over again about Socrates’ maxim: “I know only one thing, and that is that I know nothing”.
I repeat it to myself, to calm myself down when I read something that moves me emotionally or leaves me perplexed. Today, it is impossible to know the why of it and it is useless to try to understand it. We’re in the middle of it, we don’t have the information we need to draw conclusions.
In the meantime, what can we do to bring some normality, relief and healing into our lives?
I am convinced that we can use the situation to increase our resilience. The more we increase our resilience, the more we can learn to ride the wave, rather than being swallowed up by it.
The concept of resilience is a concept that comes from the physical sciences. It is the ability of an element to maintain or regain its initial properties after an external shock.
The concept of resilience can also be used for ourselves. Our capacity for resilience helps us in the event of a tile and an adverse event. It is what helps us to get back on our feet after an event. Imagine an athlete who has trained almost all his or her life for the Olympics. Two weeks before the games, he/she gets injured and can’t participate. The doctors tell him/her that he/she may not be able to compete again. His/her world is falling apart, he/she doesn’t know what tomorrow will bring. He/she will need to have within him/her the resources to get up, go back to training and start over or rebuild a new life.
That’s what we all had to do, rebuild a daily life and for some of us a new future.
How do we cultivate our resilience?
An essential element to cultivate our resilience is to appropriate the concept of impermanence that comes from Buddhism. Routine, habits and daily life are only an illusion. Everything is changing, we cannot hold on to anything, everything is in perpetual evolution. Let us learn to detach ourselves from things and appearances.
We must also become aware of our capacity for resilience already within us. We have all overcome hardships in the past, we have all recovered from failure. We can be aware of this, let’s write it down. Let us become aware of our strengths and abilities, let us write down our qualities and knowledge.
Let’s get rid of the emotional blockage and baggage and fears that no longer serve us. Now is the time to let go of everything that gets in our way, to close the “unfinished business”, the old, still open experiences that come back to haunt us. All this baggage prevents us from being ourselves and from bouncing back. We bounce back more easily with a free back, than with a backpack full of rocks. We don’t have to do this alone, if it’s too hard. Many therapists and coaches continue to work online.
Let’s find ourselves again. Let’s spend time with ourselves. A rare thing is being offered to us right now: time. Time for ourself, to reconnect with our family, our children, our body and mind. Time to settle down and take stock, am I really where I want to be? Even if the children are there, even if we are tele-working, let’s find even 30 minutes, the 30 minutes of travel, morning or evening preparation that we have now gained.
Let’s catch and seize the moment by writing, drawing, painting, arts and crafts, reading, dancing, playing and laughing. Let us connect with your inner being through meditation. For once there are no more traffic jams or agendas. The only thing we can hold on to for now is the present moment and what we do with it.
Finally, let’s keep trust and hope. This time too will end and lighter days will return. We do not know when or how. Finding answers to these questions is impossible because they are beyond our control.
Let’s not wait for the end of confinement to start living again, let’s live now.
Human Design Guide
+352 621 826 680