With all that is going on right now, I am really heartened to see that so many people are coming together to help others. Where I live the community has set up several volunteering groups and people are looking out for and helping their neighbours more. When you pass people, they smile and say hello. Ironically, I live sort of in the country, so walking is a regular pastime, but there are many more people out and about than usual, all enjoying the countryside at springtime and of course, observing the social distancing rules. I have read that this is happening all over the country, pockets of people coming together at times of uncertainty – how hopeful is that?
But let’s not forget that many people are experiencing very real and uncomfortable feelings of anxiety, some people are understandably worried or scared about the future, their families, work or money.
The feelings we are experiencing are very real and unfortunately it is these feelings that create the perspective through which we view our lives. If we feel anxious our life will appear to give us more things to feel anxious about. But have you ever considered that you are not your feelings?
You experience your feelings, yes but the feelings come and go, they go up and down, but the you who is experiencing those feelings stays the same. Think of it this way, you wear clothes, you change your clothes, you may even like a particular style of fashion, but you are not your clothes. The you who wears the clothes is always the same underneath.
Everyday we may experience a whole range of feelings – as humans that is what we are designed to do. But the you who experiences those feelings stays the same, you are the observer of your feelings, not the feelings themselves.
Now here is a something you may not have considered before. Feelings have no lasting power, their power comes from the labels and judgements (or thinking) we choose to put on them! When we learn to just allow our feelings to be, with no labels or judgements, the feeling just “is” and it will move on. How often has a friend excitedly told you some news that they were thrilled about, and you have smiled back at them but quietly thought to yourself “Really? Why are they getting so excited over something like this?” and then immediately you have forgotten about it? That is a feeling that you have let be, you have let it go.
I am sure you have heard the phrase “What you resist, persists”? Adding labels and judgements (thinking, in other words) to feelings is a form of resistance. Worry, anxiety or stress come from thoughts of the past or the future. And while the feelings are real, the thinking is whatever we choose it to be, after all no amount of thinking will ever change the past and we have no idea at all about what might or might not happen in the future, it’s all made up, no matter how well intentioned or innocently done.
When we stay in the here and now, we cannot feel stressed or anxious. In the here and now we know what we are dealing with and we do, we deal with what we are immediately faced with. Allowing our feelings to just be – we stay more in the here and now, our minds quieten down, the chatter slows down and we feel more feelings of calm and peace, we more easily find the answers to the things we have to deal with, right now.
So right here and now what can you realistically do? Can you use this time to help others, even in if that is staying in touch with someone by phone, staying connected is so important, can you help yourself a bit more by using this time to have a self-imposed health spa by eating healthy, getting outside and walking every day, maybe its time to de-clutter and do a few of those jobs you always wanted to do, or maybe its just chatting to the neighbour you have never spoken to albeit over the garden fence, or if you are social media wiz, start a family and friends online coffee morning and get people together so they can see and speak to each other.
What can you choose to do and think about today? No matter how challenging life may appear, there is always something we can do now.