Today is the first day of lockdown 2.0. The sun is shining on this crisp Autumn day, just as it did on the unseasonably sunny days of Spring shutdown. I have a familiar headache. We've been here before...
I'm not going to provide any further commentary on these strange times we are living in: the year of 2020. But I would like to share a little poem on worry, woven together on a woodland walk during the first lockdown.
you faithful foe.
You always come,
and you always go:
I didn’t know,
I simply imagined ...
scattering seeds I shouldn’t sow
As I started typing this up, I checked my phone for notes and found a forgotten but very similar poem written weeks prior.
Worries come and worries go
As quickly as you allow them to flow.
Let them in, but let them go
Look look, away they blow,
Accept they have something to show.
I've never really been in to poetry – it's something I've only just started dabbling with. Some say my writing is poetic, but stringing stanzas stupefies me! My first attempts are simple, but there is beauty in that I think. Especially in a world that can be so complex and confusing.
So much of this year has been about managing these wild winds of worry, taming them before they gained too much momentum. Before being swept up-and-away to the yellow brick road or spiralling too far down the rabbit hole.
What is your relationship with worry? Does it suck all the air out of the room? Strip joy down to a shamed self? Haunt you like lyrics on a loop?
I've had to make friends with worry this year. It's been a tricky friendship. I have had to draw of a diverse toolkit to cope.
I have tried to look at the root cause of the worry: is this thought true and threatening right now? Usually it's a no; an imagining of the worst case scenario, if X, Y and Z should, could or would happen.
Okay, so if it's not a threat in this very moment, why am I letting it steal this moment? That's just a waste. What area of my life is it shining a spotlight on; what do I need to work on or through?
What can I be grateful for in this moment? How can I anchor myself in the present ... and leave the future to play out in its own time, not in my mind?
My toolkit trinity is simple. Perhaps one will hit home with you when you read it, or need it.
Nature. Breath. Movement.
Nature's resonant rhythms are life in harmony, so tap into that. Anything and everything from lying on the earth or floating in the sea ... to simply stroking a house plant. Even looking at her intricacy is often inspiration enough to ground into the present. And to paraphrase Patanjali from the Yoga Sutras: the present is the only place where life exists.
Breath is life force, so harness it for good. Go slow and steady. Go deep. Make your exhale longer than your inhale to activate your parasympathetic nervous system, your rest and digest (to counter any stress hormones). Feel it. Follow it. Beyond your diaphragm to your belly. I like it fresh too. If you can't inhale the forest, then open the window. Let the outside in and the inside out.
Movement. The only constant is change. Stagnancy tries to control change through inaction. It doesn't work. The body was made to move. Movement shifts stagnancy. Everything is energy. So find your flow. Go for a walk, jump up and down, or shake yourself silly. Do yoga, rake the autumn leaves, or climb a tree. Put on your favourite song and dance. Let your imagination and body run wild!
And in a time when you can't hug everyone you love. Start by hugging yourself.