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charlotte thaarup mindfuilness educator

What might Covid-19 be bringing to the surface?

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I wonder how you are travelling through this.

I started to listen to a podcast where the interviewer asked: “How can we travel joyfully through this?”  The other answered: “You may not but you should be grateful.”

This is garbology. 

There is no one way you ‘should’ travel through this.  This is a time of huge challenge, and that brings up all sorts of emotions for us. Our big external focus for keeping us happy is being shaken, our expectations of what it is all about are being challenged, and this is all destabilising, at least for now.  On top of that, many are seriously worried about paying bills, there are job losses and loss of career prospects.  Others might worry that the value of their investment properties is going down – and then hopefully realise that is not a big, serious problem!

We were promised nothing.

There are no rules for how life should be.  “The Australian Dream” is just that – a dream, a temporary idea in time.  It might just be losing its relevance as many other ideas might – for instance, the idea that we will always be increasing our wealth, or that if we work hard we will get rewarded. 

Most people who have lived on this planet actually haven’t experienced either of these outcomes – if they are lucky they have survived. That if we believe it enough we will get abundance.  Abundance is a state of the heart, a state of gratitude, and has nothing to do with what is on your bank account.  They are two different issues.

Many have also realised that there is no or little loyalty from their employer when the “shit hits the fan”, irrespective of how much they have given over the years.  This brings up ponderings on what I am going to up-value and what I might down-value.

Getting real and being with what is

We will all come to this with different things in our backpack.  Some are more vulnerable physically, some due to trauma, some due to ignorance and some due to being stuck in their expectations of how life should be.  But for all of us there is the possibility for more clarity and awareness.  This does require that we get real first about what is going on for us rather than masking and pretending.

If anyone tells you that you should be grateful or joyful, ignore them. This is the time to let go of striving to feel good and come into acknowledging what is actually going on for us.   You might naturally feel grateful and that is great, but it is also ok not to, and irrespective, nothing is a constant so even if gratitude visits so will many other emotions.  This is a time for giving ourselves permission to be totally honest. To take stock of our lives. To be aware of the implicit expectations and assumptions we have about life, our life.

Many years ago I was alone during the Christmas period.  Technically speaking, I had everything that I could ever need – a fridge full of great food, my cat, a day off, good books.  All I had to deal with was my interpretation of the situation.  My expectations were based in both cultural and personal ideas of what a good Christmas was and what it means if you are alone at Christmas.  I decided that I would use it as an exercise, seeing if I could stay focused on what I had rather than getting lost in a story of “everyone else is spending time with family and I am all alone, not one cares, I am a failure, I am different blah blah blah”.  I almost managed it. It was an ok day but it was clear that it was my idea of how it should be that created the problems, not the actual situation.  Once clouded by that, I could not see what I had.  

In this situation, this principle is useful: watching with kind curiosity the thought chatter revealing (amongst other things) old programs of expectations.

Being ok with not knowing 

All descriptions of reality are only temporary descriptions.  

Two years ago we suggested that our boys invest in a little studio apartment because it seemed such a safe thing to do; it would be rented out to Uni students.  Now the world is different, and we have to become ok with that.  We have to be ok with Not Knowing.  This doesn’t mean we don’t do anything or plan anything, but the world is less predictable compared with our old mind program of how it should be.  The map no longer fits the territory!

Become comfortable with not knowing. Not knowing is the realisation that we really do not know anything for sure.  What does that offer?  It offers being, it offers that we can’t keep living in our heads, believing our thoughts.  We have to come into a different way and that is sensing. 

Really anything else in a delusion – but we do tend to spend a lot of time in delusion!  

All we ever have to do is manage the moment 

All we ever have to do is manage the moment: manage our disappointment that something we have been looking forward to is not happening, manage tensions at home and frustrations with work, missing hugs, missing loved ones, fearing losing jobs, and delighting at raindrops on a leaf.

This also means cleaning up the “shoulds”.  They are based in past understandings.  There is not one way that you should feel, no rules.  Allow what is bubbling up to bubble up. 

Be with what is bubbling up in the body – that is managing the moment. Honouring what is going on for you and not judging it.  Nothing you feel can make you bad.  What arises is not your fault; it is your responsibility to try to manage it.

And so it is with Covid-19.  Many of us are experiencing a bit of a pool of anxiety so we need to acknowledge that in the body and soothe that and then be curious about the expectations and ideas about life, the world and ourselves that pop up in this space.  When they do, we greet them with: “Interesting that this is part of my mind program!”

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