“At the still point, where the calm is, in the eye of the storm, amidst the chaos of reality … There – I found myself” (Tulasi Menon)
The beauty, strength and yet serenity in this quote is so powerful, inspiring and a pure force of nature. That’s why I love it and sometimes it feels like the storm, the hurricane, the tsunami, and the destruction of Coivd-19 has really pushed so many of us deeply retract into the ‘eye of this storm’. We have had to try to find and discover strength, courage and determination deep within ourselves.
Before Covid-19 introduced itself to our world and started to batter our lands and our shores, many of us often expressed how challenging we found it trying to keep up with work, family, social commitments, with life in general. It nearly seemed that so many of us perhaps felt we were swirling around in the outer layers of the general storm and force of life.
Amazing to think that shortly after this, we all did really get caught up in the forceful, damaging and life changing storm of Covid-19. We all learned very quickly just what a force of nature this particular storm is and we were all forced to experience massive life changes on every level as a result of it. Some people have suffered great mental, emotional, physical pain, loss and grief during this storm and some have managed to avoid the direct impact of its lash but everyone is living with this constant threat, this destructible invisible force of nature.
While many of us are still coming to terms with and digesting the pandemic, we have somehow managed to find and embrace a calm, solace and serenity deep within the ‘eye of this storm’. Many people have welcomed an intimate, safe, private place to breathe inside their own homes and with their own close family and loved ones during varying levels of lockdown restrictions. It almost seemed that during Ireland’s first lockdown earlier in the year, that many of us got the chance to revert deeply back into our lives, our homes and had the opportunity to slow down from the hectic pace of life.
For me, both the first lockdown and the present one have truly transformed my ability to self soothe, to calm and relax myself, my mind, body and emotions. They have really enabled me to find my own calm, peace and serenity during an invasive, brutal and life destroying storm. I am a naturally anxious and nervous person and so I have a very easily stimulated and over reactive amygdala (the stress response centre in the brain). This means that something another person may perceive as a minimal threat or danger in life has the ability to send me into ‘fight, flight or freeze’ mode, into a state of panic and fear. Many people experience this on a daily basis and some only for the first and subsequent times since the storm of Covid-19 hit.
This is where I use daily mindfulness, meditation, body movement, good food choices, water intake, extra early bed times and early rise times, walking, being outside in Mother Earth’s beauty and serenity to help me to find and maintain calmness, balance and ease of living even while being in the ‘eye of the Covid-19 storm’. What’s really surprised me is that we all have the potential to get swept up in the turmoil of its continuing swirling winds, waves, tornadoes, earth quakes and so much more but when we take the time to self soothe, to self-care, to be kind and compassionate towards ourselves, we can feel solid, grounded, earthed and balanced in the ‘eye of this storm and of our own storm’, even when everything seems completely chaotic and out of control around us.
Living with and in present moment awareness really helps us to find inner calm and peace, regardless of any external or environmental impacts. Our minds are naturally programmed to a ‘negativity bias’, which means that they will always naturally find the negative and danger elements in any situation before the positive, as a mechanism to keep us safe and on alert.
But when we tune into our present moment environment, whether there is a real threat to our continuance of life at that exact moment, rather than what our brain wants us to believe, it can become obvious that the threat we may be experiencing may not actually be happening or be real in our physical environment or in that very second of our present moment. This is how we create ‘our calm, peace and serenity’ in the eye of any storm. You can use mindfulness, meditation and self-compassion to learn to live in present moment awareness, without believing all your thoughts or what your mind wants you to believe.
I came across this quote recently, it really sums up our own power, choice and perception about any of life’s storms and about how beneficial it is to create our own calm, peaceful and safe eye in any storm:
“If you treat every situation as a life and death matter,
you’ll die a lot of times”
HOW to create calm, peace and serenity in the ‘eye of your storm’:
The following is a step by step guide on how to create calm, peace and serenity in the eye of your storm:
2. Bring your awareness to your feet as you anchor them firmly to the ground underneath you. Take a moment and take 3 more regulating breaths as you do so.
3. On the next in-breath, breathe in ‘peace’ and on the next out-breath, breathe out ‘calm’. Say these words to yourself as you continue for 5 more in and out breaths.
4. On the next in-breath, say to yourself ‘I am happy, I am safe, all is well’. Repeat this affirmation to yourself for 5 more in and out breaths.
5. If there is an immediate physical threat or danger to your life in this moment, trust that your body will release the stress, adrenaline and cortisol hormones into your bloodstream to help you to remove yourself to immediate safety. When you are in a safe place, start to regulate your breathing, your mind and emotions by placing one hand on your heart, one hand on your tummy and as you breathe in, say to yourself ‘I am safe, this danger will pass, all will be well’. Repeat this affirmation for 5 more in and out breaths.
6. Continue taking deep regulating breaths until you feel the fear and panic starting to subside and until you feel the calm, peace and serenity starting to present itself inside ‘the eye of your storm’.
Thank you so much to Deirdre Rusk for her amazing images! Check out more amazing images from Deirdre Rusk Photography at https://www.deirdrerusk.com/
Thank you also to Brian O’Loughlin and his team at https://www.westmeathexaminer.ie/ for all their wonderful help!
As published by The Celtic Media Group in The Anglo Celt, Connaught Telegraph, Meath Chronicle, Offaly Independent, Westmeath Examiner and Westmeath Independent newspapers w/c 23/11/2020)