Lessons from the Lockdown

In my last post I approached the idea of designing a new world… of using this time of ‘lockdown’ to reflect on what is truly important to us.  To rethink our priorities and our values.  Now as we approach the possibility of businesses re-opening, are we eager to return to ‘normal’ or have we realised there are aspects of this new world that we would like to keep.  What can we let go of from the past, that we no longer need?  And what have we learnt that we can take forward into the future?

These are pretty big questions, but ones that I personally have had the time and space to ponder and, whereas a month ago I was perhaps fighting the changes being forced upon me, I’m no longer in any hurry to return to ‘life as it was before’.

When Coronavirus broke out I shared with close friends and family my belief that it was here to teach us all something… that ‘something’ may differ from one person to the next but I stand by my statement that every one of us has something to learn from this… if not we have missed a great opportunity!

So what have I learnt?!!

The biggest thing to really hit home was how much my sense of self-worth was previously based on how much I had ticked off my ‘to-do’ list each day!  Driven by this need to ‘achieve’ I would then feel frustrated when external and/or internal obstacles disrupted my plans, beat myself up, complain about how rubbish I am at ‘time management’  (which I now think is highly over-rated!) and no matter how much I did complete… it would never be enough.  Never-ending chores; unread emails; new ideas not yet developed; unknown opportunities missed by not finishing that social media post! The treadmill was never ending and always focused on what I had NOT done…

Cue lockdown and my perception of being productive has been blown out of the water!  Let’s face it, if I manage to get dressed, find food and get through the day without a meltdown then I’m doing pretty well!!!

I’ve been forced to lower the expectations I put on myself – massively – and while this was unsettling at first, I’m realising that most things can actually wait until tomorrow… or the next day… or whenever feels like the right time to move forwards.  It’s not a race, and it doesn’t matter what anyone else thinks – I’m gonna do things at my own pace and in my own way.  If I’m tired or just not ‘feeling it’ – that’s ok. I give myself permission to rest or do things I enjoy… and everything else can wait. The result is that I feel less anxious, less overwhelmed and more at peace with myself.

I’ve been spending as much time as I can outdoors, either in the garden or walking locally, and it reoccurred to me just how much we can learn from nature.  Trees are rarely in a hurry to grow, flowers have no interest in appearance and birds happily go about their business without questioning their purpose… or worrying about what the neighbours think!  In nature there is no urgency, no need to rush… if a plant is given nutrition, sunlight, love and space to thrive, it will inevitably grow of it’s own accord.

I don’t think human beings are much different – we are, after all, just another species in the eco-system.

A few months back I read an excellent article from ‘Kindred and Wild’ called Grow Like Nature.  It explores the idea that capitalist growth is one-directional, only interested in upward trajectories and continual development.  This constant striving for more and more leaves us with a dissatisfaction of all that we have here and now.  Nature, on the other hand, grows down before it grows up and out… the height and strength of a tree relies entirely on the depth of its roots – both must be in balance or it will topple and fall.

I have learnt these past few weeks that my own roots are not yet strong enough to support my ambitions and dreams… so for now I will let go of the old “drive to succeed” and instead focus on my inner wellbeing – my health, my community and my spirituality.  Unearthing the weeds in my mind, strengthening my foundations… beginning to trust that everything else will unfold when the time is right.

What have you learnt from lockdown?  Please do let me know.

Until next time… Jac.x

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