"No matter how dark the night, the sun always rises." - Oprah Winfrey
As I am writing this, I am sitting at home, with typical London weather outside my window, and freezing in my flat. As "Game of Thrones" would say, winter has come - and this year, not any winter, but a unique winter, and hopefully the last one in lockdown. I am also currently living by myself, as my flatmate is with her boyfriend, and I would like to share or demystify living on our own.
Most people believe living on our own, esp. during this time and esp. during lockdown, is very lonely and people say things like "I am so glad I am with my partner / I don`t live alone / I would go mad". So here is the thing - yes, for some this solitude can challenge our minds and mental health, no doubt (I had this phase, too, esp. when lockdown was announced). In this case, it is absolutely essential to ask for help, connect with therapists / coaches, friends and family, and also do what serves you well. However, what I would like to share is that, in fact, I have increasingly enjoyed this time by myself, when the world holds still and does not overload you with its usual noise - this time can be a unique opportunity to breathe again, hear your inner voice, and connect with what truly matters to you.
1. Accept what is and what you cannot control.
“Acceptance doesn’t mean that life gets better; it just means that my way of living life on life’s terms improves.” – Sharon E. Rainey
I know that we all have had many dreams and plans for big 2020 (and still have). I know that my girlfriends and I were in a brief mourning state when we were wondering how we now should be able to date and meet our future husbands (;)) if everyone is locked up, with increasingly stricter measures on meeting and living. At first, it felt good to let out your emotions and blame others - the governments (on the measures), humanity (on somehow calling this virus spiritually), even myself (why didn`t I put more efforts into dating before Corona?) - but here comes the surprise: it didn`t change the situation. In fact, it only made me feel worse than before, depleted my energy, and blurred my sense of seeing the world. So - yes, buzzword, but true: mindfulness - I decided to accept the reality, esp. if these factors are just out of our control (except of course our ability to condemn the spread of the virus), and choose those thoughts and views that serve me. And another value has been to actually take the time and figure out what you want in a relationship, and meanwhile invest in your most important one - the relationship with yourself.
2. Nurture your soul and shift your focus from outside to within.
"When you can`t go outside, go within."
With less things to do in the outside world, what remains is our focus on our inside world. Yes, this may sound boring (compared to going to musicals, restaurants, traveling), it may also be frightening, uncomfortable, and confusing to face our so-called shadow with our fears, bad habits, and "darker sides". Yet, we are human, and we are only whole if we also integrate our darker self, too. We are like yin and yang, two sides of a medal, male and female - we are always both sides of one thing (yes, this means (as we already know)), women have male energy, as men have female energy). So let`s be human, complete, and our whole selves again - by doing our inner work. And inner work can look different to each of us - it may mean to allow the emotions that are there instead of watching a movie for distraction. It may mean to look closely and honestly at our beliefs that we unconsciously brought with us from childhood. Or it may mean to visualize your dreams and assess how your current life is honouring your values. However it may look like, be kind and gentle with yourself during this intimate process (and you don`t have to do it alone, you can ask a coach, therapist, mentor, loved one).
3. Trust in your power to make conscious decisions and create the life that serves your truest self.
“In any moment of decision, the best thing you can do is the right thing, the next best thing is the wrong thing, and the worst thing you can do is nothing.” — Theodore Roosevelt
After accepting and connecting to more of who we truly are with what really matters to us, it is now on us to consciously take decisions and actions that help create the life we want. If you are dating, you may know now what values (and red flags) you really need to look for (even during lockdown). If you are unhapp with your job situation, you may take the next action by talking to your manager, polishing your LinkedIn profile, or practice gratitude (or all of them following the known motto "love it, change it, or leave it"). If you feel lonely, you may actively nourish your relationships even more by sending a surprise gift, sharing your appreciation, or revitalize past connections (and you can still make new ones virtually!). Or you can also decide to just make the best of this exceptional time, by doing what you have always wanted to do - painting, taking a dancing class, completing this training, having meaningful conversations with your parents, meditating longer than 5min, cooking new recipes, crafting a photo album, ... There are plenty of options that life offers, we only have to see and grasp them! As we know, what you do today, will shape your tomorrow. What you do every day, will shape your entire life. How severe our circumstances are, I trust in our strength and ability to rise from it - and if needed, you can always reach out to me. Stay safe everyone and be kind to yourself.
This week`s ...
Inspiration: Marjane Satrapi - Persepolis
Reflection: What does lockdown mean to me?
Intention: Be kind to myself - however I feel, look like, whatever is currently going on in my life.