The Opportunity of Retreat During Lockdown
Firstly, I want to express compassion for everyone who is overwhelmed and anxious as a consequence of the Covid-19. Please reach out if Marc or I can help in any way. I have been genuinely heartened by the acceptability of expressing mental health issues online and I am hopeful that the conversation around mental health will change permanently as a consequence of this crisis. My Process of Letting Go I want to share my own process of the reality of lockdown. I am deeply saddened not to see my clients as most of my work is ‘hands on’. I really enjoy my therapeutic work and it feeds me to see people heal and be part of their process. I’m so lucky to be with Marc who is an ever-willing practice client so the exploration of my work continues. However, I felt utterly exhausted once the decision to close the schools was made. I strongly hold the opinion that action should be taken as early as possible and I was really emotional as the decision making process unfolded nationally and internationally over the news channels. I wanted to keep up to date with the current guidelines (even if I disagreed with them) and reach out and connect with community both online and locally. I’m not alone in feeling fear, which is really draining and consequently I just slept as much as I needed, which was a lot! Allowing deep rest gave me space for recovery and healing from the stress of the past few weeks.
Connecting with Community
I know many people are facing financial stress and for me, I’ve chosen the path of acceptance and asking for help if I need it. I appreciate that’s easier said than done, but I’ve noticed an outbreak of mutual support and community spirit and for me, joining the local support group has eased my shock and I can help my neighbours rather than feed my negative spiral.
Following My Heart
Now that I have allowed myself deep rest and connected with my community, I confess I am loving this time of retreat. I’m not working from a list or a timetable in any shape or form. I’m allowing myself to sleep or nap as I want (no school run is amazing!) and seeing what I am drawn to in any moment. I haven’t written a list of things to do, there are always things to do, because this time is really unique and I’ve seen it as an opportunity to literally follow my nose moment by moment during the day.
Having given myself some time, creativity arises naturally. I have already made another 5kg of sauerkraut (I really love cabbage), revitalised my yoga practice, planted my sprouted broad beans and made a sourdough starter so I can make some bread with a magic ‘no knead’ recipe I have found, read books that I’ve had on my reading list, given myself treatments, practiced my cursive as well as the obvious Netflix option, which I indulge in without guilt. Things that I thought I didn’t have time for suddenly are options for a week open to do as I please. The good things in life take time and right now I have that in abundance.
I’ve carted my bread making equipment around 4 houses during my recent house moves and it makes me so happy pull it out to make a loaf of bread that will take about a week to create. Who knows, I might even be able to develop a skill so I can knock one out with ease when my work schedule returns. Or not, who cares? It’s about being in the moment and savouring the flavour of what I bake.
I have a shared garden and I’m truly blessed by the consideration shown by my neighbours ensuring only one family is using the space at a time. I’ve got a garden plan on my fridge that I created a few weeks back and instead of becoming driven and goal orientated to ‘make it happen’, I’m experimenting with just seeing which part of the garden calls me and watering the seedlings.
What I’m most looking forward to once the lockdown is lifted (as well as squeezing my family of course!), is continuing the friendships I’m forming locally as we support each other through this time. The connectedness, communication and care reminds me of growing up on a London street in the 1970s. This is something special we can take forward and grow for whatever life throws at us individually or collectively. Maybe I will also be able to bring some of the spaciousness I’ve found in this retreat into my daily life.