As a coach questions are the tools of my trade. A good question offers the potential of opening a door to deeper levels of wisdom. In recent weeks, I’ve found myself gravitating to certain questions that have become handrails to balance me during these unprecedented times as I navigate the Covid 19 Crisis.
Of course, we have to start with the lens of gratitude. Covid 19 has prompted us all to count our blessings. Gratitude is the great antidote to fear, worry, anger and frustration. It also brings our attention out of the future-focused worrying mind, that can be stuck in overdrive, and back to the present moment, the only place where we have control. I’ve also found that during this time when options and choices are curtailed, I’m savouring many things I’d once taken for granted.
In the past, crossing items off a lengthy ‘to do’ list was how I measured progress and my sense of achievement. As a natural list maker, I now only compile a ‘today list,’ usually with just two or three items on it. This satisfies that part of me that requires focus and a sense of purpose. I find the word ‘proud’ in this question powerful because it nudges me towards my inner wisdom and my concept of my best self.
We might have to physically distance, but that doesn’t mean emotional distance. When we can’t reach out with our hands we can reach out with our hearts. I’ve made a conscious effort to connect with friends and neighbours particularly those who live alone. We have so many options when it comes to technology as ways to connect, but interestingly, I’ve found good old fashioned phone calls the most satisfying.
Being cooped up means it’s easy to be sedentary. However, you have to expend energy to create energy, so I’ve put extra effort into ensuring I’m moving my body every day. Thankfully yoga has been an integral part of my life for several years. I’m now participating in daily online classes with a range of teachers. My gym has forwarded a home workout sheet that I also follow and our dog Cara is loving the extra walks.
Nature fuels the soul. Just before this crisis, I came across the phrase ‘nature deficit disorder,’ and with movement restricted it is now something I can relate to. Having grown up in the countryside I crave open natural spaces. During this time of quarantine, we have to find small ways of connecting with nature.
It might be as simple as sitting by the window to feel the sun on your face, noticing the blossoming trees, buying flowers with the weekly shop, or watching a sunset. Purposefully connecting with external nature fosters an alignment with our inner nature.
I’ve always defined the corporate mantra of working smarter as identifying what you are no longer going to do and to stop doing it. I’ve discovered that this thinking is equally applicable at home. For me, it is an on-going activity to drop my expectations as to how things could or should be at this time and to surrender (that most challenging of spiritual concepts!) to what is.
As I drop expectations of myself, others and the world around me, I can adapt more easily to the current situation. As Joseph Goldstein, the Buddhist teacher and writer said ‘You cannot stop the waves, but you can learn how to surf.’
From my experience of working with clients who say they are ‘stuck,’ part of the solution to getting ‘unstuck’ is exploring ways to exercise dormant creativity. Now that we are all physically stuck at home, reconnecting with our creativity is how we fuel our sense of freedom.
During this ‘lock-in’ I’ve baked and pulled meals together by being creative with ingredients already in the kitchen. I’ve resurrected my fiction writing, embarked on some online courses and relished extra time with my beloved books.
I know friends who have decorated, reconnected with a hobby, played new games with their children and we’ve all seen the creativity in the plethora of funny videos this crisis has spawned.
I’m a fully paid up member of the ‘tough on myself club.’ One of the first blogs I wrote during this crisis was about leaning into kindness which of course includes self-compassion. I’m a big fan of the work of the late Louise Hay. I love her mantra ‘I love, honour and value myself, so therefore today I’m……..’ and you then complete the sentence. With this mindset of gentleness I also ensure I’m compassionate towards that part of me that gets scared, that gets frustrated, that battles reality.
An alternative question here is ‘how I can nurture my inner child today?’ Sometimes posing a question is all we have to do and the answer will find us. With all these questions, my head will ask them, but I allow my heart to answer.
In episode 54 of my podcast, I share with you some key questions to ask yourself to help you navigate Covid-19.
Listen to it below.
I hope you enjoyed this post and do review this other post called Managing our Fears where I share the tools I am using to help me manage my own fears during this unknown period.
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Best wishes and stay safe