I can bet a lot of money that you have asked yourself this question in the last two months… Everyone I talked to is either feeling guilty for feeling good or guilty for feeling so bad. How ironic is that?
Lockdown for me has not been all rainbows and butterflies but as I stated in my previous blog about how to deal with the unknown of corona virus, this sort of life changing upheaval is not new for me. It has proven to me time and time again that dramatic life changes, whether we choose the changes or not, will always open our eyes to things we weren’t paying attention to before.
In my guided meditation today from the Calm app, she discussed creativity. One of the quotes she shared was “Stillness is where creativity and solutions to problems are found”- Eckhart Tolle
Lockdown for me has been that stillness but not in a physical sense. I have committed to one of the most challenging programs the company I partner with has to offer. My fiancé has taken up a new hobby of cycling and encouraged me to get involved which has been a blast. In the U.K. (where I currently live) under our lockdown laws, we are permitted one hour of outdoor exercise a day and because we live in a ground floor flat with no real outdoor space, and the weather has been uncharacteristically beautiful and sunny in England, we have taken advantage of those daily walks or cycles every single day. Movement has been my medicine and my sanity.
But that stillness has been present in my mind. I have felt more creative than ever with my online coaching business, my blog and my personal writing. During January and February of 2020, I had lost a bit of my sparkle (to put it nicely.) I know now that it was seasonal affective disorder permeating every area of my life but I spent so much time in my head and going through the motions, I just didn’t feel like me and I couldn’t shake it. It’s like lockdown woke me up again. It brought me so deeply and forcefully back into the present moment, that at this moment I feel nothing but gratitude for this experience.
Obviously, I am not on the front lines, my partner and I have remained healthy as have the majority of those I love. My friends who have contracted COVID-19 have had mild symptoms and healed quickly. I already work online so my business is able to continue. But when I talk about the pandemic experience as a whole and lockdown for me, they are different. I have different feelings about the collective energy and grief we ALL feel for those who are suffering, risking their life or have lost their life. But because of the nature of lockdown, all of our experiences are so PERSONAL. No two lockdown homes look or feel exactly the same. And it is with sincere gratitude and respect for those who have very troubling experiences, that I share my own truth.
My parents’ special trip visiting me in England and meeting my fiance’s family for the first time & wedding dress shopping was cancelled. My fiances 30th birthday plans were cancelled. My friends bachelorette party, Pussycat dolls concert, our quarterly live coaching event, trip & friends wedding in Greece, Three Peaks challenge, Glastonbury Festival, my annual coach conference in New Orleans… all cancelled.My 30th birthday trip and our family wedding celebrations abroad in Spain are still pending but most likely will have to be postponed or rescheduled. I have my fair share of disappointment but I have allowed myself to feel those feels and move on. I’m sure they will continue to hit me as those “supposed to be” dates arrive but if I spend all my mental energy wishing this time away, I will look back and wish that I handled it differently. And I refuse to do that.
“Being myself includes taking risks with myself, taking risks on new behavior, trying new ways of ‘being myself’, so that I can see how it is I want to be.”– Hugh Prather
This quote encompasses what lockdown has been for me. A reexamination of who I am and who I want to be. A recenter. A reminder of the important lesson I learned almost 14 years ago when I lost my best friend to suicide at the tender age of 16. At that impressionable age, I learned to Cherish every day, to live each day fully and completely and not get so wrapped up in the future. I was impressionable so it stuck. I lived that mantra wholeheartedly and carried that attitude with me to the club’s dance floor and the lecture hall. It stuck and it led me to follow my intuition to teach and live abroad. Traveling is when I started my blog and wrote a piece religiously every week. My words and my experiences helped me to feel so connected to my inner purpose, my creativity, and my life force.
Somewhere along the road of adulthood, starting a business, juggling a full time career and an online side hustle, moving across the world again and again, so much visa drama… and one more big move I started to live with one foot in the future. I am a big picture mindset kind of gal. I am a DREAMER. Due to circumstances far greater than me, I took a chance and went full with my business which adds a whole different layer to goal setting. I love talking about the future, about what I want to do, my five year and ten year plan, but somewhere along the road I lost that full embodiment of “the future is built one day at a time.”
It’s really hard for me to admit this. Because I’ve read all the books. I meditate daily. I coach people for a living and I am consistently recognized for how inspiring I am. That’s WHY I am sharing. Sometimes, we have to learn the same lesson at different stages of our lives. That doesn’t make us broken, a hypocrite, a phony or a sell out, it makes us human. Really at the root and the core of me, I was living for my future self. There was a state of flow that was missing.
But it’s back. I’m back. How can I stay goal oriented and be fully present? Creativity. My words. These are my present moments and future moments wrapped up into an odd shaped package with the most beautiful bow. I know it’s possible because lockdown has forced me into a screeching halt of presence. It has taken the dark cloud that was following me around and catapulted it into the ocean. It has shaken me, gently. As Gandhi said “In a gentle way, you can shake the world” You know how much I love to shake it.
I never stopped doing the work. I actually did MORE work than I ever had before on myself during those funky periods. I read more personal development, listened to podcasts, got myself set up with weekly counseling, exercised and meditated daily and those habits couldn’t “fix” or “free” the funk that was following me. Sometimes you can’t fix it, you just have to ride it out. But thanks to lockdown, the moment I turned down the noise and tuned into me, I found the freedom. The freedom that makes up one of my core values. The freedom that I so desperately seek. The freedom of presence, self expression, connection, adventure and peace. I found all of that inside of ME.
I acknowledge that if you’ve had a negative experience of lockdown, or are currently struggling with your own mental health funk, these words might be triggering. You probably haven’t even made it this far. I realize that scorn, jealousy, and anger can run rampant when you don’t feel your best self. I know this because I experienced it. And I can tell you from my experience, jealousy doesn’t exist when you are living up to your OWN full potential. It doesn’t exist when you’re fully present and committed to living each day where your feet are. It doesn’t exist when you allow creativity in. When you write the blog, sing the song, try a new hobby and suck at it until suddenly you’re good or at least you tried. Are you present and committed to living each day where your feet are?
Wherever you are, whatever your experience of lockdown may have been so far, it’s not wasted. Your feelings are valid and important.
Your experience is valid and important.
While there is so much you can’t control, you do have more power over your mind and your body than you could ever imagine.
None of us know how long this will last, that is often the most troubling part, but newsflash… we never knew how long this current life and earth suit would last. It’s just more obvious now.
Remember how important the company you keep is. Those in your inner circle of influence on the interwebs, your colleagues, your friends, your gym or wellness community, make them good ones. If you don’t have a group of people who clap for you but clap for themselves even louder(as we ALL should) you are always invited to be a part of mine.
Lockdown won’t last forever, but this lesson in presence just might. Keep going, start going, find your stillness inside and just keep swimming. You may be at home, but you’re never alone, stay home and save lives. There is no rule book for lockdown, you’re doing just fine ❤