SELF-CARE A to Z: EBB & FLOW
Right now our planet faces a very common enemy, this pandemic. Though everyone will process and travel this journey in very different ways, I feel many people peeling away the levels that created our identities and categorized us before and making connections on a human level – all while being told to physically distance ourselves. But after our emotions initially erupt and make us feel raw, there comes a strange calm amidst the storm. During these moments I ask myself, what am I supposed to learn from this lesson?
It’s strange that as we start the 4th week parallel to our old lives, I feel like the shock and scare of it all died down a bit, for me, and I feel like I’m in this stage where I understand my job (stay home, keep working, look out for my parents or other compromised people, stay healthy). It feels as though we’re now in the part of this journey that we can plot on charts and navigate our course. It’s still a big deal, but not wrecking me like the first month did. April feels different thus strengthening my resolve to live this month differently. A big thing helping me through this has been online socializing and supporting my friends whether talking about the virus, their jobs, families or creative projects they’re working on. I’ve made an effort to be live online* this month to help make this a conversation and a supportive community.
During my first online Instagram Happy Hour last Friday, one of my fellow #OMagInsiders Suzanne O’Brien, jumped on live from New York. We were reminiscing about having attended Oprah’s 2020 Vision Tour right as the COVID stuff surfaced – albeit in different cities – and how fortunate we were that it didn’t get cancelled. The tour centered around finding our purpose, focusing our intentions and committing to ourselves. Suzanne reminded that the primary message that came from the tour started with taking time to be still, to listen and to grow. That mantra helps so much in regular situations to help figure out your purpose, set your intentions and commit to yourself, but especially now.
One of my high school girlfriends shared a comparison of her previous calendar filled to the edges with events, sports, playdates, and school reminders to her current empty calendar. Though shocking on the one hand, because we still anticipate the bumps in the roads we were used to traveling, on the other hand we’ve been given the gift of time that we used to always wish for. The ability to pause while the never-ending pounding waves of life retreat a bit, rather than fighting to keep our heads up in the thrashing waves, means we can do a self-inventory.
Many of us banked some time not commuting, not getting ready for work, not driving carpools, not stopping for coffee, wandering the grocery store aisles and buying gas. Sure a lot was dumped into our laps that weren’t there before and there is a learning curve while we learn to put our lives online, but at least we’re all at home. I double dog dare you to fine 5, 15, or 30 minutes that you didn’t used to have that you do now. If there isn’t, then force yourself to try (and I will too). Start small and grow. Be still and seek balance.
Clear your mind, see what keeps coming racing back. Be intentional with your thoughts. If you don’t know how to process the thoughts in your head, try free-form journaling – Julia Cameron calls them Morning Pages. Use a pen – magic happens when pushing a pen over pounding away on your keyboard. See what drops out of your head! Just be present.
Then – you know this, say it with me – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So although right now the shore recessed far enough back giving us this quieter time, this mental space from our usual routine, when it returns to the shore, your progress – the flow – will be just as big. Considering how far inward we’re turning right now, you’re going to come back with lightning bolts, rainbows and confetti guns following you around!
I feel flow in two different ways. I totally understand Oprah’s definition that flow comes from living a life so balanced that there are no obstacles, no resistance. Until I reach that state of flow, I feel it the way Bruce Lee explains that we should be formless and shapeless like water – but recognize that water can flow or it can crash.
Maybe start there. Find a few moments. Picture in your mind what you would love the ebb of your life to look like, sound like, feel like. Then, picture the same for when you’re in the flow. What are some things you definitely want to picture in that space. What are things you would exclude? I feel like this is a good place to start.
We are being touched and changed on such deep human levels or possibly feeling unsettled enough to take a leap of faith. I can’t wait to see what you do next!
What about you?
- How often do you make time for yourself?
- Do you meditate?
- Do you journal?
- How do you define flow?
Let me know in the comments below.
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