In America, we have a profound addiction to positivity and good times. Feeling good is acceptable, feeling anything else is not encouraged and often not tolerated. Over the last 50 years or so, we have embarked on a feel-good at all cost journey. Denying our negative emotions and never learning how to fully process our feelings of sadness, fear, pain, overwhelm, and grief.
We have filled our day-to-day lives with so many goals, obligations, and events that we never stop moving. Our minds are full of dates, tasks, and plans. We move all the time.
And all of that movement makes it hard to take in our lives. To reflect on how we are doing emotionally and spiritually. I have noticed over the years how anxious people get when they have a slow down imposed on them maybe by an illness or a snowstorm.
It has been 34 months since the original shelter in place orders went into effect. A lot has happened, and yet not much has changed. COVID-19 is ever present but feeling like less of a threat now. Many aspects of life have begun to feel normal again. Not the same as before the pandemic but we are acclimating to it.
We are still uncertain what the future will look like. And we are desperately trying to move forward and recreate the past in the future. In fairness, every part of society has been turned upside down–politics, the economy, the workplace/job market, and family/home life–and there is an uneasiness in all of us that comes from the proverbial rug being unceremoniously pulled out from under us.
We are, in fact, all in this together. Our personal losses and disappointments can and should be acknowledged, while also remembering that we are all struggling to find our footing. How can we soothe the discomfort? What is the way forward that will bring solid footing?
Finding Relief by Letting Go
We can start by acknowledging the struggle and the pain and make room for our own feelings of loss, pain, anxiety, and fear as well as those of our friends and family.
We can make room in the day for just sitting in our feelings and allowing them to pass through us. Knowing that acknowledging them won’t bring us down, we won’t drown. In fact, they will subside as they run their course leaving us renewed if a little drained.
Next, we have to accept that we are all doing the best we can under these untenable circumstances. Everyone, even people who are making choices that don’t make any sense to us, everyone is doing what they think is the right thing to do.
Finding compassion for each other is actually the only way we will all move forward. Our lives and this Earth depend on each other and our ability to work together.
- Surrender–Acknowledge out loud in front of a mirror that you have zero control in this situation. Allow your body to feel that, let it sink in. Express the emotions that come up, do not bypass them with your big logical brain. You have an inner child who is either pissed off or terrified or both. Feel it, acknowledge it so your body can let go of its grip and relax.
- Explore a new creative outlet–The body has built up all this energy to do something but its normal outlets are currently blocked. Seek out something new that tickles your fancy and allows you to express some of what is bottled up inside.
Draw, dance, write, or sing. Renew the mind body connection with a creative pursuit. And I encourage you to pick something you don’t know how to do. Find some YouTube videos that show you how to start and allow your mind to be a beginner with no expectations of output, just practice and be bad at it because eventually you will become good at it.
Sit for awhile in the void. Let the feeling of time standing still wash over you. You don’t have to know what to next. Your goal is be still and let your soul lead you forward when it is ready to bloom.
Need to Go Deeper?
And if you are or were in a dark place and feeling scared about the state of things or perhaps your deeper traumas and wounding are coming to the surface leaving you feeling hopeless, read (or reread) Surviving the Dark Night of the Soul.
It helps to know what is happening and that you are not alone right now. This is hard. Everything is really hard right now. And this too shall pass.
Remember to use your tools and strategies for relieving the pressure and finding some moments of peace. As always, reach out if you need some assistance or guidance through this particular wilderness, I know it well.