Is anyone else noticing that despite slowing down the days are full and time is moving quite quickly? According to Nick Haines from the Five Institute this is because we are in the year of the ‘Metal Rat’ and it’s a period when time will feel like it is flying by. The advice at this time is to slow down and for a lot of people this has been forced upon them. Nick recommends however that if you are still running around like a headless chicken and don’t think you have time to slow down that you make time to do so and to reduce the physical, mental and emotional turmoil that will follow.
This being a travel blog my original intention was to share with you my experiences and photos of travelling in Asia. I could put this blog on hold for now as physical travel has ground to a halt however we are always travelling on this path of life and sometimes the experiences of emotional, mental and spiritual travel are equally interesting and rewarding. I do have some other travel experiences to share pre lockdown but I’m not feeling inclined just yet to share, I will in time.
Lockdown in the forest has been a time of reflection and diving a bit deeper into some strong emotions and trying to make sense of them. I came to the conclusion that in this cycle of birth and death which is happening in every moment and on every level that there is a sense of grieving. We think of grief as something that arises only on the passing of a loved one or good friend but in reality the cycles of life and death are all around us in some shape or form eg seasons, food, relationships, the breath, each day, the moon, animals, wildlife, trees and plants…..
We live between the act of awakening and the act of surrender. Each morning we awaken to the light and the invitation to a new day in the world of time; each night we surrender to the dark to be taken to play in the world of dreams where time is no more. At birth we were awakened and emerged to become visible in the world. At death we will surrender again to the dark to become invisible. Awakening and surrender: they frame each day and each life; between them the journey where anything can happen, the beauty and the frailty.John O’Donohue
Right now everyone is experiencing the death of life as they knew it pre lockdown and are finding ways to deal with the sense of loss and opening up to new possibilities. Everything is constantly changing and whilst we resist death in all its forms it is a fact of life that it is necessary for new things to be born, to arise. There is a process of letting go, of surrendering and making way for the new, an awakening. On a simple level we may let go of possessions like clothing or household items to make way for new (although let’s hope we can all get off that materialistic, capitalistic, grasping cycle going forward and learn to buy less and recycle more 😊) and on a more complex level we may accept the passing of a loved one so that we can embrace life moving forward. Acceptance though is not about forgetting, it’s about being able to find a way to live with the loss in a kind and gentle way.
It’s a tricky business this “death” thing and being able to let go and move on. It is said that there are various stages to a grieving process all of which are just part of being human and are necessary as we work our way through the torrent of emotions that can arise. I’ll say here that I’m definitely no expert, especially when it comes to losing a loved one through death, so all I can share with you is what is becoming known to me as I learn to let go of attachment to people, experiences and material things. I’ve come to realise how long we can be in denial of a situation and go out of our way to try to grasp to something or someone in the hope that our wants and needs will be met. In this scenario we might have a sense of “living in hope” that we will get what we want. Hope is an interesting word and I was recently drawn to an Instagram post by Liz Gilbert where she shared her daily journal musings and one of the sentences read:
“Abandoning hope is the ending of denial”
She went on to explain how she entered a very different state of being when she accepted that her partner couldn’t be cured of cancer and was going to die. She said she could be
“…..more present with reality and be available for service and even able to relax in to the truth that Nature, Destiny or God was expressing its will. I stopped segueing with fate and found a quiet peace”.
To keep hoping that things are going to change is to stay in denial of what is actually the reality right now. This is an interesting one to consider in the current COVID situation where I’ve seen the word hope mentioned a few times. I feel there is a place for hope after the grieving process where we can be open to the birthing of new possibilities, but before this many other emotions associated with loss are experienced. In the current situation you may have noticed these other emotions including anger and frustration, perhaps sadness or a sense of loneliness, a bit of bargaining going on all of which are valid and all can come and go at any time.
Eventually we move to a place of surrender, of allowing, an acceptance of the reality of the situation and from this place we begin to make peace with what has happened and are then more open to find the meaning in it all and we may even be compelled to take action of a compassionate and caring nature in the service of others.
I’ve also found it helpful in these times to remember the many wonderful experiences, moments and gifts that have arisen from what was lost. In addition there are many examples that people have shared with me in the last few weeks relating to the current situation. These have included the appreciation of having more time to rest, to cook healthy meals, finding new ways of shopping and being more thoughtful as to where they shop and more mindful of supporting their local community, spending precious time with immediate family and with friends through technology and of really noticing the wonder and beauty of nature. What has really stood out for me is the amount of creativity and resourcefulness that people are showing and also just how well we adapt to change.
Life might not be working out as we would like it to but it goes on and I’ve found I’ve had to really watch the negative bias of the mind and to keep finding ways of tuning into the joys of life that are around me in abundance. It also helps hugely to surrender and go with the flow trusting all will be well and that life is working out as intended.
I’d love to hear what you’ve found hard to let go of and what new wonders you’ve woken up to.
Sending much love and all good wishes for your continued safety and wellbeing 💜
For nothing is fixed,James Baldwin
forever, forever, forever,
it is not fixed;
the earth is always shifting,
the light is always changing,
the sea does not cease to grind down rock.
Generations do not cease to be born,
and we are responsible to them
because we are the only witnesses they have.
The sea rises, the light fails,
lovers cling to each other,
and children cling to us.
The moment we cease to hold each other,
the moment we break faith with one another,
the sea engulfs us and the light goes out.