It’s a funny thing, being forced into taking rest. At least that’s how I viewed my experience of two weeks of isolation and the following weeks of our nationwide lockdown. During the first few days I was supercharged, full of energy and excitement about all the things I was going to do to take advantage of the time spent at home. I even had a checklist:
- Mulch the garden and tidy up the overgrown vege patch
- Finally get the paint touch ups done on the house
- Read books just for the fun of it
- Learn sign language
- Take up jogging again (post-baby, regular exercise had seemed like a long lost memory)
- Call and connect with 1-3 friends, everyday
The mulching got done and my body was aching from all the shovelling, but I was proud of how tidy the garden finally looked; almost like a blank slate ready for new shrubs, trees, bushes and flowers. It was a shame no shops were open for me to purchase those plants, but no matter, I still felt as though it were worth the effort to prepare the way.
I also learnt a few greetings and the alphabet in sign language and had had long and beautiful conversations with friends far and wide, so I had really started to get stuck into my list.
Hubby and I were taking turns running with one of our two dogs, without the toddler attached (if you’ve ever tried walking two dogs with a toddler in tow, you’ll know that it takes 10 times as long to get anywhere, and then there’s the trying to get home….not an easy task!).
My husband, our son and I, we relished our time together. We dreamed new dreams, we worked on old projects and cleared spaces in the house that needed clearing. We played and laughed and watched old movies. Then, about three weeks in, I suddenly lost the energy for learning online. I hadn’t the motivation for talking at length on the phone everyday. I had ankle pain and swelling of my achilles tendon from running too hard, too fast, because of my expectations of what I should be able to do, which were based upon my capabilities prior our son being born.
I began to grow increasingly exhausted and felt more and more unproductive as the days went on. I started to nap at length during the day. I was knackered when I woke up in the morning, even though I’d slept a full night and done nothing much during the day prior, other than hang out with my family, and I didn’t know why.
Then I heard a talk on instagram that reminded me of what was actually happening in the world.
This pandemic had caused all of us to feel more or less the same way, to experience more or less the same feelings and all at the same time. Collectively, as a species, we were all going though intense uncertainty and hardship at the same time. I couldn’t recall another period in my life when this had happened on such a grand scale. From this conversation online I understood two very important points:
When we begin to rest, truly rest on a deep level, it is exhausting. Our adrenal glands, which are often overworked, stressed and overwhelmed, were finally beginning to recover and that takes time, a lot of energy and is indeed tiring. However, it is also essential to our wellbeing to give our adrenals this time. So, take rest, relax, and don’t beat yourself up if you feel more sleepy and less motivated than usual. Be grateful for the opportunity to give your body time to recover and rejuvenate.
Feelings of sadness, fear, grief, loss, apathy, discontent, frustration and so on, are not unusual when the whole world is going through something like this. If everything is energy and we are all one, collectively we are all tapping into the various energies of each another and therefore, are feeling the same emotions on the level of collective consciousness, not just as individuals. Be patient, allow feelings to rise to the surface, surrender to the process and let them go. This will allow you to heal.
When I heard these concepts and understood them, all of a sudden I felt as though I’d been given permission to be as I was being, to feel as I was feeling and to do as I had been doing. Incidentally, this self-permission also gave me a newfound energy and level of inspired creativity that I hadn’t felt in a really long time. I was supercharged again, but in a less contrived way. I was motivated, but with a level of gentleness and ease that allowed me to go with the flow of how each day unfolded. What a lovely feeling!
And so, as we begin to see a loosening of restrictions around social engagement and the doors of our homes begin to open again, my biggest lessons learnt during lockdown will remain:
To take time to rest, to let go of the compulsion to rush, to let go of the guilt for not having been productive by old standards and to allow myself to just be in the present moment and enjoy whatever is being presented there and then.
To feel grateful for what I have, to know that it is enough, to relish the simple pleasures in life and to know that each time I do this, I am healing ancient wounds.
To carve new paths built out of self-reflection and to remember that I am not in the world, I am of the world.
What a blessing.