This virus has certainly turned our world as we know it, upside down and inside out.
We are all having our own experiences of it. It's a curious thing how we talk about togetherness, and yet in many ways, there is much separateness. I'm often left wondering, or just pausing my thoughts or words for a moment and thinking 'what if I were you', or asking 'how does it feel to be you'. Because I feel more than ever, that our times right now are calling for this. Asking us to all to rise up, within ourselves, but also to see one another with greater empathy, and compassion. I hope I'm not alone with my thoughts and hopes for this.
There's such a contrast of existences going on. Our experiences are not only different with our circumstances, but also the environments we live in. Some of us live in with more space and nature on our doorstep. Others of us have nature we can only capture in all the small ways or things. Whether we live in the forest, or by a lake, or by the ocean, in a country town, a large home in a leafy suburb, or in an apartment in the middle of the city perhaps even with no balcony to go out to - these are the contrasts of life. And we're all living these stark contrasts right now, it's all coming up or being shown to us in a way we haven't perhaps seen before. I often pause for a moment and reflect, 'what if I were you', or ask 'how does it feel to be you'.
And then my heart goes out to others right now who live with health conditions, as I do, and I know just how challenging this extra layer of difficulty is. There are harsher words I could use for some circumstances and situations people are living with. There is pain, suffering, struggle, but also, it's worth knowing that many who live with health conditions - of any and all kinds- many of us have been through worse than this time. Being isolated and having adjustments to our lives, we may well be familar with the phrase 'this too shall pass', we may be wise with acceptance, in that we know to choose it and ways to lean into it, and to just be with what what is, just for right now. I know I am and feel this way. I've had my own worries and fears around this whole pandemic and the impact on my life. But there are aspects that don't worry me so much. Because I have been through worse than these current circumstances before. And if you're similar to me, you'll kinow that you do find an inner strength and resilience that somehow just carries you through. But then with honesty, some days are hard, lonely, there is a real sense of being alone in this. The reality is that when you live with a health condition that you manage and support yourself with each day, it does add that extra layer of difficulty, or adjustment, of really finding the courage and the willingness, within our bodies, spirits and hearts, where some days I will say to myself - this will not defeat me, I am greater than this. My spirit is stronger than this. And I know, to just listen to my body and to support myself in all the ways I know how, and even more so, to practice these. And I often pause throughout my day, and I think to someone else who lives with illness or pain and send them a piece of my heart. As chronic pain and limitations, or disability of any kind, is difficult, it's challenging, and unless you live with something you just may never understand yet, I hope that in these times, we might try a little harder to do so, and to really place ourselves in the shoes and lives of someone else whose experiences are different and more challenging than our own and think, 'what if I were you', or ask 'how does it feel to be you'.
Parents and families with children, perhaps all at home right now. It's challenging to navigate all the home schooling, and then working alongside. I understand this, I have friends and family feeling these adjustments to life. I hear how hard it is from some. And I listen. And from others, I also hear a shift that has comes with time, of acceptance, of flowing in some way with a new routine. And even with others, a sense of gratefulness to be at home, to be with one another, and to be safe and sound. If we think about perspective and how this has changed our lives just for the now, for some families it's just being at home with one another, with a new routine, and yet, there's still the outdoors, there's still walks you can all do outside, there's still good food to cook and eat, and whilst there's less space, there is an opportunity for connection and quality presence in perhaps ways you haven't been able to do so, before. Take it all in.
There's no rushing out the door in peak hour, or not getting home in time for family dinner. There may well be a queue at the bathroom door each morning now, or a boredom that settles in with children and teenagers feeling tired and irritable with one another. But, if this is the worst of it, take it in. Let it all just be. These times will change again, as each day we are getting close to life going a little more back to normal. And I wonder, if you are deeply honest about how things are - even if you feel challenged within it all right now - is there something you would carry with you after this is over? Is there something about this time that when you reflect on it, you can see that with this forced simplicity to life - as it is simplicity even though it may feel there's a lot to juggle still - perhaps there's a way of life that you do enjoy more so through this and how might this change you, this time, right now. And how this might change your family time and being with one another, moving on. And as I write this and think of friends and family in these situations, I reflect on how I would feel if I were in your shoes and 'what if I were you'. Some days I will be honest, I wish I was. I'd love that quality family time. Perspective is a powerful thing. And I just wonder if you are reflecting that these times now, that they wont come again. Take it in, take it all in.
And there are others around us, deepy struggling and suffering through these times. We can live in such sheltered lives and bubbles that we forget that crisis is going on, and there are lives being greatly impacted. There is devastating loss. And whilst it's not healthy or even helpful to always dwell on these, it is also deeply compassionate to reflect on these situations and lives of others, and to place ourselves in those shoes and to reflect 'what if I were you', and to even ask asomene you come across in these times whose life is so very diferent to yours, perhaps in some small way, or through adversity you cannot imagine. But we can ask 'how does it feel to be you'.
And there are many in our communites and our country and this world, who are just exhausted. Our health workers - our heroes. Our essential service workers who are having a much more real experience of this than many of us who are safely at home. Take this time to undersatnd another's heart and life and see things through a different lense. I feel these times are asking us to see ways to understand one another. I hope this time changes us in ways that allow us to understand, and to feel more togetherness. Not just the reality of our own experiences, but reflecting on how it is for others too. Is this something you hope for too?
Take it in Take it all in. This time will not come again. And I for one, choose not only to look within myself, but to allow that experience of myself as I know it even more deeply, to open my eyes and to look around me and to look up. Whilst I know to embrace gratitude in so much within my own life, I know that part of my own change through these times, will be even more empathy and compassion for otheres experiences and lives. I hope these times change us in many ways. I hope our changes extend out to how we see and are able to put ourselves in the lives of others. To really connect. Connect far more deeply than through social media screens. To really connect in quality and meaningful ways, to create more togetherness in our communities.
Every morning I have a practice where I greet the day. You can watch me talk to this practice here -https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31mCIlafOtE&t=109s . I open the curtains wide and I let the light in, and I let it seep into every part of my being. And I close my eyes and I thank each new dawn and each new day. And with eyes open, I take in the sky and the clouds or the sun, and I let all the light seep into however I'm feeling, to all the parts of myself, and I say 'I am grateful for this beauty, I am grateful for this opportunity of a new day, I am grateful for all the possibilites of today'. It wasn't always like this. You see, I remember days where opening the curtain a new day felt impossible. Through grief that changed my whole identity as I knew it, and in ways I thought I would never heal - change that turned my life upside down in ways that will never feel the same again. I've come to terms with so much, and I know that nothing is certain. I've been through worse than these times right now, before. Far worse. And I've survived. And I know that we all will survive in our own ways, even thrive, in whatever that means for us, through these times too. Take it in. All these thoughts and awareness and reflections that come up. Take them in. Take it all in.
I know some of us are feeling grateful to be working from home, blessed to be able to slow down a little or a lot, and really seeing the opportunities in being able to do this, to just simply rest. And if you're feeling that way, then I encourage you to soak it up, relish in it, because these times will shift again, and this isolation time as we know it wont be for long, in the grand scheme of things. Take it all in. If you are able to, it's okay to slow down, to do less, and it's wise to rest. We support the collective energy of this world when we are more accepting of all that is right now, in our own circumstances, and we choose to support ourselves and others, in all the ways we can. I believe this. I know that as I feel others slowing down in their lives, when I connect with them, I feel this shift of energy, I feel the peace and I breathe a little easier too. I can feel in my exchange with others, an acceptance and the changes going on within, and to have a conversation with someone who is usually so high paced and rushed, that presence and connection through slowing down, brings such relief to my own heart. There's a lightness that comes when we can connect with others without the rush, or the pressure of the expectations we usually have. Take it in. I know I want to, as some of my connections have deepened because we've all taken a breath, and are creating more space for presence. These days will pass and how do we choose for these calm and peaceful joys to continue? Because they can. I so hope we all choose for them to.
I remember someone asking once 'when did you last feel lucky' and I thought about this yesterday. I remember the responses of others - things like, when they bought or could afford something, when they made a certain amount of money, or when they won something, or went on a holiday, or succeeded in some way. There was a feeling of luckiness meaning more. When in my own heart and life, luckiness has nothing to do with more, but an acceptance of less. And really adjusting and living and growing with life again, with less. I was reminded of how starkly different my response was, from this knowing of my experiences and wisdom learnt through it all. Feeling lucky isn't anything material or external, it's not getting more or acquiring more. When did I feel lucky? Every day I know within myself that here I am, through so much, still opening the curtains wide to the light each morning, and saying to the new day - I'm ready, I'm willing. The last time I felt lucky was every time my heart stays open and I can just be with what is, and to simply take it all in.
Each new dawn, each new day, the only thing certain in life is each present moment. And I don't want to waste this knowing and awareness during these times. I want to savour that and take that knowing within me, even more into the times to come when this as we know it, is over. You see, feeling lucky has nothing to do with anything but a knowingness deep within that what is truly important and significant, is in all the precious and small things. The ways we find and choose light and beauty through some of the hardest of times. And if this uncertainty is not bringing all of this to our collective awareness, I don't know what will. Don't waste this precious time by wishing for it to just be over and for life to go back to normal. I wonder if many of us are considering that there really is no normal. But only a new sense of how we can see our own normal and how we want and choose to change ourselves and our lives to carry this forward into whatever this next chapter of life will bring. Nothing is certain. Only this present moment, now.
Take it in. Take it all in. Each moment of each day. Take in what you're appreciating, what you're grateful for, what you're even enjoying and allow yourself to be oaky with that. It a good thing to feel joyful and uplifted in these uncertain times, and to not always need to take everything so seriously. But also, do take in what's challenging for yourself, what's confronting, and be aware of it and find ways to get to know it more, to sit with the challenge, to be with pain, to understand it more, to let it change you in a way that you can better know and support yourself through it and ongoing. Learn and reach out for ways to do this, to support yourself more. And take in others lives around you too. It's what I choose to do.
I choose these times to deeply change me, they have already, how I see and view many things, as my own life has felt shaken up right now. I feel this togetherness and I also feel a very deep separateness within and amongst us all. And with times have both deepened this knowing, and also surprised me, at times with sadness. But each time I've felt that way, I've just reminded myself to not only look within but to take what I know and to turn that to looking out and up and around me, reflecting on someone else and their life and thinking 'what if I were you' and asking 'how does it feel to be you'. It's this willingness to understand each other with this kind of compassion that will be part of our collective healing. It must be.
Take this time, to really let these reflections shift and change you and your heart and life as you know it. Choose how you want to be and feel and live, not only within yourself, but how you desire to be with others and this world.
Take it in. Take it all in. These times will not come again. Life will go back to some sense of normality again, for most of us. Not all. And I wonder how you will feel changed through this, what you wll choose to carry into this next chapter of life. I hope along with perspective, we also feel changed through acknowledging others different experiences. I hope we all may take this time to understand empathy - and it can be learnt, those of us who choose to be willing - to put on others shoes, to step into others lives and to really be willing to connect with presence in a quality and meaningful way. Not just when days allow us to, being at home. But this deeper presence, always. Because it's these things that really matter. All these simple, beautiful things. And it's all these small things that will continue to change us all for the better and will bring togetherness and healing within our communities and our world.
Appreciate with gratefulness what you do have. But not through others suffering, to feel inspired to do so only through that. But because of what you do have that's right in front of you, within you, and around you, in all the smallest of things and ways that really are greater than you may know. And then look to others and pause and take this time to wonder, 'what if I were you' and ask 'how does it feel it be you'.
I hope these times will change us within, and in ways outside ourselves to bring profound healing for us all, and for everything that exists around us. Amongst the hard and challenging times, there are precious moments not to be wasted. Take it in. Take it all in. This time will not come again and we have questions and reflections and awareness and honest truths to listen to, to look to, to feel into, and to consider how these will change us and carry us all forward.
PS. If you enjoy reading this, then you might like my regular 'letters of support' that you can receive here (and a free ebook to download too) - https://www.katiejanewellness.com/resources.html
Katie Jane is a Holistic Therapist, Life Coach, Health Coach, Nutritionist, Naturopath, Meditation teacher, writer and author. Katie has been working in the wellness industry for over 15 years, in private practice and online, and brings all of these qualifications and skills, along with her own lived experiences through challenges, changes and transitions. Her approach to life and wellbeing is truly holistic and unique for each individual. She supports and coaches clients to make powerful changes, to feel calm through uncertainty and change, to embrace self care as a way of being, and to thrive through life transitions.