Or whatever #StayAtHome day it is now…
I happily admit that I am writing this with just as much tongue in cheek as serious tone, but I cannot ignore what I’ve been noticing in the last week; both within myself and with those four delightful beings I’m sharing my quarantine-castle with.
The week before last – the first #StayAtHome week – was new and weird and completely different and on some level – for me anyway – also kind of exciting. Getting my head around the home schooling of three kids. Having the novelty of a husband working from home after five years of him being abroad. And the pleasure of my suddenly-almost-empty March diary, due to cancelled training programmes. I felt that I had been gifted breathing space and time to dedicate to the home front, and to reading, writing, and focussing on new ideas!
That was the week before last… and then dawned (working)day number 7 of #StayAtHome…
I got up with a sinking feeling, suddenly it felt like Ground Hog day. Same old thing. Again. And scarily, the walls of my house seemed to be closing in on me. No busy distraction of an over-full work diary, of always having too much to do, of chasing the kids off to school and rushing off to my first appointment of the day. When I wasn’t looking, the elation I felt at having quieter days and all the big ideas I had about what I wanted to do with all the extra time, seemed to have been hijacked by a kind of grey and lacklustre feeling.
My husband, who started the week with a spring in his step and a big smile; pressing fresh orange juice for us all at breakfast, tidying up around the place between video calls and cooking dinner with me just to hang out, started shutting himself away in his home office (man cave) before the rest of us even got up. And then when he did emerge, he would prowl around the place muttering to himself and swearing, with a big grey stress-cloud hanging over his head. Apparently, video calling with colleagues abroad and a dodgy Wi-Fi connection is a little tough when you want to give someone a (figurative) smack in the face for making a decision which feels like it f*cks up your business plans.
And then the kids… oh yes, joy-of-joys the kids!... A 10-year-old who in week 1 couldn’t wait to start her online lessons and was at her laptop by 7:30 in the morning, was now needing a big (again figurative) kick up the backside to get her started by 09:30. Not to mention her already having interrupting me about 10 times while I’ve been writing this blog because she’s got a headache, her eyes aren’t working properly and she doesn’t get all this stuff about adding up fractions – which nor do I, by the way! As a quick aside; my junior-school-level-maths-brain has apparently been eaten away at some point in the last 40 years.
And my two teenagers who still want to chill with all their many friends, and who both think 30cm is 1 ½ meters, and look at me like I’m from another planet when I suggest for the third time in a row that they go outside in the garden and get some fresh air.
Right. Thank you. It felt good to get that off my chest! 😊
And now that I’ve got that all written out and moving around, I guess I can take a good look at all the invitations that are here for me in this 7-day – or whatever day it is today – b*tch. Because that’s always, always the case… Where there’s discomfort, tension, or frustration there is always the opportunity for something new to emerge. For growth. In fact, the discomfort is the wake-up call telling us that there’s something new wanting to happen that’s knocking at the door. So, I take a breath, take a mental step back, and reflect. What invitations does this 7-day b*tch have for me right now?...
1) ACKNOWLEDGE THE SH*TTY STUFF
First and foremost, I need to honestly recognise and acknowledge how I am feeling. It’s OK to feel like this today. And any day. If I push the feelings away and try to pretend that they don’t exist, they will only increase their hold on me. I can acknowledge how I feel without allowing myself to get sucked in. I can choose to accept these feelings, and to focus on something else. I have the capacity to hold conflicting feelings, all together alongside each other.
2) PRACTICE GRATITUDE
Despite feeling rather grey and lacklustre, I remind myself that I am healthy. My family is healthy. The sun is shining! I have a garden where I can go to feel the sun on my face and hear the birds sing. I still have work. My husband still has work. There are a multitude of things to be appreciative for. Choosing to focus on these things, especially at the start of my day, lifts my spirits.
3) RECONNECT WITH THE POSSIBILITIES
Here lies an invitation for me to reconnect with the feelings I had back in the first days of #StayAtHome. The sensation of more space in my diary and freedom to do all those things that I wanted to do. The joy of knowing that I could slow down to read, write, nourish myself and create. The enthusiasm I felt at knowing that I could spend more time exercising and being outside in the garden; that I could focus more on selfcare and caring for my family. Feeling the joy in the big little things.
4) CHOOSE FOR WHAT REALLY MATTERS
Without a full diary, busyness and the structure of a multitude of appointments, I am unable to escape into the fast-paced ‘doing’. Sprinting from one thing to the next during the day, without pausing to think. Now there are limited external distractions. All of a sudden, I have time to fill, with what I want to do, and with this comes a kind of self-imposed pressure to make the right choices. I feel the urge to flee into external distractions by making all sorts of online appointments. The invitation here is to relax into the ‘emptiness’ and feel into what really matters to me right now. What is important. Essential even. And then take the responsibility and action to choose for this, and only this. And to discard all the rest.
5) STICK TO THE PLAN
For me, this is easier said than done! I’m quite good at making plans; choosing what to focus on and planning it in. What I’m less good at is sticking to it. I’m not going to say much more than: I hereby commit to sticking to what I plan to do in a day and in a week. And you reader, are my witness. Oh, and I’m going to plan in quite a lot of ‘down time’ by the way. Meditating, exercising, being outside, and doing nothing. Because it’s in the ‘nothing’ that my best ideas arise.
6) FOCUS ON FORWARD
I’m clearing out a backlog of actions and stuff that I’ve wanted to work away for a while. And next to that, I feel the pull to focus my energy on moving forward and on new things. On joyful creation. So that’s the plan!
It’s amazing what the discomfort of feeling the 7-day b*tch can call forth if I just surrender to it and listen to the underlying messages and invitations. Just writing all this down has caused a shift in my energy and has released the tension I felt inside. If you have read my words this far, then thank you for your time and I sincerely hope that I have added something valuable to your day, whatever that may be!
Take good care of yourself and of your loved ones. And stay strong and well. x