Christmas 2020 In No Uncertain Terms...

Hello, here again. Thought it was high time since I've now stopped seeing clients, to get back on here and pen my 'thinking' on here. I can't pretend that we aren't in some 'craziness' at the moment with the current pandemic situation. But even that 'thinking' needs some attention. It isn't craziness. It is merely the reality that we are facing. It's the reality of not experiencing life like anything before...Christmas, certainly for me doesn't look like anything before.

We're being tested perhaps like we've never really been before, on a personal level and as part of a wider collective, and something about that feels very disproportionate. We can either take great comfort from the fact that we aren't alone in our experience and actually because we're all in it together, 'it's not that bad'... or we can fuel a 'fear' that this is all on such a scale, it's 'frightening' to contemplate.

As I write- I'm inviting you to consider that you don't need to belong to any camp as it were, find your way with your prespecitive. Indeed Christmas may look very different to years gone, but it's a great opportunity to explore with a curiosity what you actually enjoy about this difference as you experience it, if there is indeed a difference at all? Do you actually enjoy not having to go to others' houses? Are you happier based at home? Are you enjoying not to having to entertain others? Are you enjoying entertaining just the few? Do you enjoy having a change to the menu and not having to cook for hours on end for countless numbers? Are you actually appreciating the moments of joy in this different kind of Christmas? Are there things you're doing that you like so much you want to do again next year? There are so many opportunities if we are prepared to seek them out.

We have to be clear that whilst we are certain now of how the next few days might look, we are in the midst of lots of uncertainty. I think it’s fair to say that many of us are experiencing loss on different levels; be it loss of loved ones or people we may know, our routines; work, school, college, university, perhaps the loss of our financial health and security, and the loss of connectivity with others in a very human and spontaneous way. This Christmas I guess was this 'breather' we could take from the 'reality' and actually we have come to this very big realisation that we can't take a break from what we must face. It's a human lesson on that deeper level. We can't take a break from our own discomfort. We have to face it head on. Our human desire is always to seek to take a break from the discomfort, we all practise that regularly- nothing brings us greater relief than to be away from pain. But perhaps it's time to ask: What if this is our opportunity to get comfortable with the uncomfortable?...the time where we really have to dig deeper within ourselves into depths we did even know existed...the time where individually and collectively we endure such human growth beyond immeasurable belief, where we stretch and grow in ways.

Believe me, it's a challenge even for me to adopt this view, but on a deeper level that's how I'm trying personally to reconcile those inner conflicts. I haven't seen my parents in what will be a year. That's the longest I have gone without seeing them in my life and it saddens me as they aren't getting any younger.

So why should we look to sitting with this discomfort? Ultimately, for many of us, it's perhaps about trying to create calm, reduce stress, tension and anxiety and accepting that there are things we just can't change, no matter how much we're simultaneously itching to 'flea' (do you see what I did there?!) from the situation as we are experiencing.

Some ideas:

1) Think of this as an enforced ‘press pause’ on those ‘unhelpful’ modes of usual busyness and frantic rushing around. We actually have no choice but to step back a little, however daunting that may seem at this time.

2) Create a sense of calm and stillness with some breathing exercises - commit to them regularly. “How can I possibly do that when I’m feeling this way?” you might protest! Like anything that we are not used to doing, we need to train our brain that there is a way to find stillness even in amongst chaos and unease. Don't underestimate how important your breath is in setting the tone for your body's mental and physical programming and wellness. Your body is constantly regulating between two modes - your activated sympathetic system (fight/flight mode) and your calm parasympathetic system (rest/digest mode). We need both in order to function healthily and experience wellness but sometimes we remain in the fight/flight/activated system for far too long -associated with a persistence in feelings of stress, tension and anxiety. Consistent training of your breath will allow you to self regulate between these systems when you find yourself 'wired' and 'switched on' excessively. Book an initial consultation with me here to discuss you needs and book in with 3 sessions of online breath training.

3) When you're in the 'calm mode' you will be best placed to recognise that there are some things you have control over and others things, you don’t. A good and relevant example of the latter: "What Tier is my place of residence assigned to?"

4) As a visual exercise, on a piece of paper, draw a circle. Jot down all the things that are within your control, inside of it and all the things that are outside of your control – yes, you guessed it: outside of it!

5) Things may not be as you want them ‘now’, but is there a way to look at this present situation with less judgement? Is there a positive spin that you can put on things that invites a curiosity?

e.g. Instead of saying: “Christmas is cancelled”

Replace it with something like, “It's still Christmas - it just isn’t how I had planned for, but I can still choose my own experience."

6 )Refer to the circle, and ask yourself:

From the things in my 'control':

- What am I able to influence and affect easily?

- How will I choose to influence and affect those things?

- Keep it simple.

7) Those things are your 'action points' for now. They're actions that you 'could take' whilst acknowledging the discomfort, and not action for the sake of reactivity from a space of stress, anxiety and tension resulting in futile frantic busyness or overriding overwhelm.

We are in uncertain times, but most certainly what is in your hands is how you handle certainty from the uncertainties offered up.

I'll leave you with good wishes from me to you of A Merry Christmas, A Happy Healthy New Year...and a great quote:

"The future is uncertain... but this uncertainty is at the very heart of human creativity."

Ilya Prigogine

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