“It was a time I won’t forget, full of sorrow and regret.” – Jackson Browne, Shape of a Heart
We all have our breaking point and I seem to have reached mine today. I am inconsolable. After 4 weeks of home isolation – staying upbeat, keeping busy, taking on projects, doing my best – today I hit the wall. Had a good cry. Felt the frustration as a feeling of powerlessness ran through me. Is there anything I can tell myself? Are there any tools that will work? It is maddening that people think you can simply will yourself to “cheer up” or “quit worrying” or “feel better.” If only.
I give credit to everyone out there whose house is cleaner than it has ever been, whose garden looks fabulous, whose basement got cleaned and garage got organized, paperwork caught up. A shout out to all those people organizing virtual happy hours and knitting groups, running marathons on their balcony, learning to cook fantastic dishes, taking the online classes they’ve never had time for, figuring out where to donate and how to help.
I also acknowledge everyone who is stress eating, getting cranky with the people they’re in quarantine with, day drinking, looking disheveled & slovenly, binge watching, getting so bored they cut their own hair, staying up all night and sleeping all day, hoarding paper towels and toilet paper, letting fear of the future get the better of them. I acknowledge everyone who like myself is feeling self-pity over missed lunches and vacations, and then feeling guilty about feeling sorry for themselves when so many have it so much worse.
I’ve had experiences in both these categories. I’m asking myself, is this experience making me a better person? Will I have regret when it is over? I’m not sure yet. The isolation seems to amplify who I am, both light and shadow. What I do know for sure is that stress management, self-compassion, and raising the vibration are my full time job right now. When the despondency and depression descend it is time to call on every tool, every practice. This is the time I’ve been practicing for. What helps?
When my brain is doing this, one tool is simply allowing myself to feel the anger, frustration, pain, suffering, fear, confusion. Don’t run away from it; go to the depth of it to move through it.
And more tools….
A quiet cup of tea.
Art and craft.
A moment of awe and wonder with nature.
Also, music, reading, movement, housecleaning, nature walks, aromatherapy, connecting with people who inspire and motivate. And if all else fails, take a nap – it helps to rest when I need to.
At the end of the day my most important tool is self-compassion. I love this quote by Louise L. Hay from her book You Can Heal Your Life:
“Remember, you have been criticizing yourself for years and it hasn’t worked. Try approving of yourself and see what happens.”
Above all, I try to keep a grateful heart and stay open to the possibility that something good, beyond what we can see or imagine in this moment, will emerge from this challenge.
“In the midst of winter, I finally found there was within me an invincible summer.”
– Albert Camus