Right now, throughout the world, we are in a unique time. We are being forced to look at life from a different perspective. In communities across the globe, things that once were are no longer. Things that we took for granted - being with friends, visiting sick relatives, walking in nature etc. - are now a luxury. We are being shaken up. The snow-globe sky is full, and hasn't started to re-settle yet. For us all, a new normal hasn't yet been established.
For some this looks like seismic shifts, or even excruciatingly painful stomach punches, and for others more subtle prods. Livelihoods are being affected, illnesses changing lives and freedoms disrupted. All this and more can have a huge impact both to our immediate experience, and to our lives over time. If you are one of the many who are facing financial difficulties, health challenges or the loss of a loved one as a result of this time, our thoughts and love are with you and your family.
In our work at AlwaysChoose, we are not interested in spiritual bypassing. It is important to deal with what is here in front of you right now. As I am writing this I am reminded of Ram Dass talking about all of this stuff of life life being 'grist for the mill'. Quite annoyingly, it is often in times of the most difficulty that we experience the most growth. It is from the dark winter earth that the new life appears. It's a paradox that we feel like we have a choice in this. We don't. We just have what is right here, right now.
And if we choose it, this 'now' can be the most freeing. We do have the choice to use our experience as opportunity or threat, and often the more extreme the circumstances the more inclined we are to do this. I learnt so much about this from my mother who just over five years ago went into hospital for a small routine operation and who, after a bad call by a good intentioned but overworked NHS surgeon, 12 operations and many ambulance journey's later, emerges from hospital requiring daily care, permanently without her right leg and unable to walk again. This is the woman, who when she was in her hospital bed and close to death, was telling me what an incredible time this was for her. How she got so much joy from looking out of her room at the tree outside, how the love and care of the nurses made her feel and that she was able to connect with so many different kinds of people that normally she wouldn't meet. In a situation that was making me cry each day at the unfairness of it all, she was seeing life anew. Thankfully, my mother made it through this time alive, but her health has never fully recovered and life is very much restricted for her. She now lives a life very different to the one before, but paints and writes daily, still tends to her plants, and is incredibly joyful at how her orchids are flowering more prolifically than ever before. She listens to music and has zoom calls with her friends each day, even the ones who are just across the hall, "because we prefer it that way"! All of this means she has to rest for hours at a time to recover from each activity, she is in a lot of pain and has a lot to deal with to keep going every day. But I believe she is happy. Maybe in a way she never was before.
So what does this mean? These are the times of Covid-19. What do we do? Wish it were different, or allow this time to open us to a new way of doing things? It can be difficult to be attuned to the subtle in amongst a busy life. It can be far easier to be carried along with the larger flow, until that flow carries us far away from what we actually want to have happen. But here we are with more space and potentially more time. How could this change our perspective? Here we are with restrictions on our movement and changes to how we like to do life. What does that mean for how we relate to ourselves and each other and to what we want from life overall?
I love to travel and part of that can be to literally get away from it all. It can be a state changer that stops me dealing with what is needed. And now that I can't it can be a bit uncomfortable. I believe in going into the heart of what is needed to be felt, but of course, not all of me wants to do that all of the time. Sometimes I want to run away. And now I can't. So I have a chance to look at what that's all about. What happens when I am truly 'in'? And why would I not want to be? Juicy stuff!
How about you? What's your thing that is getting a light shone on to it right now? What is it about this time that can awaken you to the next level of your development and bring more personal freedom to your life?
Do you want to know or will you do your best to keep it in the dark? Sometimes I do, sometimes I don't - depending on the day. We all need to be gentle with ourselves and each other. Trust that where you're at is the right place to be. The important thing is to be present to yourself and this moment.
It's an active choice we have each day.
It's easy to say, but not necessarily so easy to do. We can bring our attention to what is happening here. To how to live this next day, week, month or year. To shine the light into those dark places. Does it feel right to do this? Many haven't. Some never will. Wherever you are, that's ok. Do what feels right for you today and trust that as you take the next breath, your next moment begins.
But what if perhaps some of those blocks that are in the way of you connecting to your most free and inspired life can be lifted over this time? Perhaps more can be known that points the way?
Many people, (you may be one of them, I certainly was for a long time), find that for years they have been living in reaction to what is happening around them, rather than in creation. In that I mean dealing only with the incoming rather than having the time to plan, or ask for what is actually wanted. What this means is that we live in service to the undefined or indescribable and get caught up in things that we may not be in agreement with. But unless we are able to know something, on some level of abstraction, how can we fully serve it?
It may be reassuring to know that it can be easier than you think to align your life to a way of living that feels more free and expanded; that something inside of you may already be stirring just by the nature of living through this time. Something inside of you may already know that now is the time to let go of some of the ways you hold yourself back from living your fullest life.
Because what better time than right now?
But what would those things be?
Old stories that may once have been useful, but that now create limits.
More constricted habitual ways of moving and relating.
Lack of trust in yourself.
Or something else.
What is your 'thing'?
Most of us struggle to see what it is we do that holds us back for ourselves, which is why we suggest working with someone who can support you on your journey. But it's not impossible to begin that process for yourself right now and to open to a shift that can be truly transformational over time. A truthful and honest self-audit can reveal a lot.
These questions can be a wonderful place to start:
What am I really passionate about?
If there was something that I am afraid of that is holding me back in my life right now, what would it be?
If there was something that I believe to be true that no longer needs to be, what would that be?
What could I begin to believe differently from today that would make the difference?
And what else?
These can unearth some things for yourself that can be a starting point to a greater personal freedom and ultimately a more fulfilling life.
Do share your experience of this time and what it has meant for you so far this year. We have no idea what 2021 will bring on a personal and collective level. Let's live this moment fully and completely and see where it takes us.