Updated: May 9
Gradually lock-in is lifting around the world because some economies are in the worst state for 300 years. Lock-in has been harsh for lots of families, financially, socially, the coronavirus generated wicked misery, we know friends and people who’ve suffered badly. Conversely, some people are sad that their old lives will start up again, they’ve enjoyed this world without clocks and stress and commentators have likened this weird period to life in the 1950s, a time when cars didn’t dominate, when shops sold mainly provisions, when tempting luxuries were to be found only in the main streets of big cities.
Whilst many will be desperate to get from the tightness of lockdown, it's been a time when others had mental space, when they slowed, settled, found peace in ordinary things as they resided in to a wondrous place. These people will miss the leisurely walks, the care free hours of listening to music, to the radio or reading, and being with their families. It is the loss of this fresh inner world which some are starting to be worried about, but we each have a chance to retain the shift in our characters this interesting period has taught us. Or ignore them and continue as before.
Birdsong freed from the din of traffic has been so loved and this gave me hope that we might adhere to nature a little more; but will we? Or will the pressures of our old lives coupled to the troubling demands of a fragile environment spin us out of our inner idyll? Will it be akin to the aftermath of a soothing holiday, a hallowed period which quickly fades as our old self returns to dominate our existence because we failed to put aside time to quietly relish life - that tiny wallflower, those inspiring clouds….
Some call this reflection, a pause, a hallowed haven, others meditation, mindfulness; whole religions have been constructed from the pure observation many have resided in. Those of you who have been there should give yourself credit, for that’s quite an art!
We can retain this special mindset as our old lives kick in; we get there by finding a moment to be, to rest, to exist without judgement. Just five minutes, maybe ten. Today, before lockdown wilts, we have the chance to start this new habit. But be aware, a habit takes about 66 days to fully install - to create a short cut (a habit) within the brain’s circuitry. You must also note that all it takes to undo this hard work is to ignore the process for a few days and you have to start again! Constantly telling ourselves why we are consolidating this haven, reinforces it. We are generating a mindset which will be our refuge for life.
A simple morning routine helps. Rather than change our ways, success is most likely to be achieved if we enhance them. Set your wake-up alarm five minutes earlier than usual to give yourself time to ease into the day.
The moment you wake, relish stretching your body, deeply inhale the oxygen which is vital to your survival. Momentarily hold it, seeing it as brightness, lightness, energy. The mind prioritises visual input and hence mental pictures are powerful. We imagine threats, dangerous incidents so that in the safety of our dens, our brains could work out ways of responding when things went wrong.
Get up and walk mindful of the wondrous movement of the extraordinary body you inhabit. Each muscle, every part of you, has been adapted over the millennia, tested through a series of creatures as a host of new species gradually evolved to produce us, you. Without the interference of your troublesome mind (not brain), enjoy that you are the result of those amazing multiples of experiments. Continue to relish this as you splash your face, sip your first drink, interact with the world.
We already have a period when we shift from home-mode to work mode - travelling to work. Make this your special, joyous and effortless haven each morning. All day long, stop for a moment and appreciate your breath, your body, your senses, your brain, and yes, your astounding mind.
That’s it! That is all we need to do, unless you have the time to do more, but the essential is to see it as vital, perhaps the most vital thing you do. It does work, really. And keep safe, keep your distance, wash your hands but live refreshed!
P.S. The free doodling pdf has a thumbs-up from MIND, hospitals, therapists and psychologists.