By Leona McDonnell Mindfulness and Wellness
Friday 27th March 2020
Mindfulness and an Anxious Mind during a new ‘normal’ Covid-19 day
Coronavirus, Covid-19, isolation, illness, fear, panic, anxiety, loneliness, sadness, family growth and bonding time, an opportunity for personal and spiritual growth, a time to pause, to analyse, review, reset a mind, an outlook, a goal, a dream, a reality, a life of knowing, a life of expecting, a life ever changing.
Today is a particularly hard day mentally, emotionally and physically. The news came last night of 10 additional deaths in Ireland from Covid-19, resulting in 19 deaths now. 10 more families lives’ disrupted, torn apart internally, yet so much of the country and our world is breathing a sigh of relief that it wasn’t their own family …. yet anyway.
Sitting waiting, sitting wondering, sitting worrying, filling ourselves full of fear, of panic and being filled or topped up with even more every minute of the day on the radio, on the TV, on social media, everywhere you turn. Society being pushed apart physically by social distancing but yet being pulled together enormously by common humanity, by kindness, by compassion and by love.
Today, I walked around my house outside, being lucky to live in an area where I can connect to the calmness of the earth at this very eery time. I listened to the beauty, the innocence, the awe and wonder in my children’s voices playing, exploring, just being children and when I heard the beautiful bird song all around me, the tears just flooded my mind, flooded my body and flooded my emotions. I let myself feel the pain, the sorrow, the fear, the anxiety of these tears and sympathised so deeply for those 19 people who have so far lost their lives to Covid-19 in Ireland, those globally and all of their heartbroken families and friends. A huge sense of sorrow swept through me and a sense of uncertainty, of insecurity, of fear of the unknown. The unknown and the devastation of what could and is potentially coming down the track.
Having always been an extremely anxious child and young adult myself and having experienced ill-health, trauma, depression, medical complications leading to ICU admission and numerous emergency surgeries, I turned to Mindfulness and Meditation quite a number of years back as a tool to help manage and cope on a daily basis through fear, panic and anxiety. I have developed a deep daily, moment by moment personal Mindfulness practice.
Today, as these feelings of sadness, fear, anxiety intensified as I was walking around my house outside, I just walked with these feelings. I didn’t try to escape, I didn’t try to run, where to anyway? Everyone is in isolation. As I cried and sobbed loudly, I started to pick some of the weeds from my garden. I found myself thinking, this must be amazing for all the flowers and shrubs that are trying to bloom and blossom, giving them physically, mentally and emotionally more room to breathe, more sunlight, more healthy earth.
As I continued to pull the weeds, I found myself so drawn into the proudness of the birdsong. High up in the trees, confident and courageously singing as they have been gifted another day of life. Singing at the top of their voices, so present in the moment, in the beautiful sunshine, solid and secure in their beautiful strong host, the trees, just being, just being present in the moment.
As the time passed, with some of the weeding done, birds still feeding and singing, tears abided and a gentle space started to arise within me. A space totally connected to the beautiful earth as I sit on the wise, courageous old tree logs outside my house. Years of strength, of courage, of wisdom, of protection flowing up from these beautiful tree logs, these beautiful souls through my whole body, through my mind and comforting and nurturing my emotions.
A sense of gentle shedding, a sense of gently letting go, a sense of gentle comforting and soothing flooded my body. A sense of years of knowledge and life-long history from these beautiful tree logs, sending universal life force charging up through my body. A secret whisper to my ear: listen to me, feel my safety, feel the strength in my trunk, in my roots, feel the knowledge and wisdom I have gained over hundreds of years. Just breathe, just stop, just notice, just give thanks, just be grateful, just listen, just be enough, just do enough, just let go of fear, let go of the unknown, feel my pulse beating and empower your body with this. Use this pulse and beating to just connect to and stay in the present moment, exactly where you are, exactly how you are, with exactly whoever you are, you are enough, just breathe.
A feeling of being purely present, a feeling of experiencing a disconnection from the social media world, the constant pace and evasion of this world, just swept through me. A feeling of perhaps being introduced for the first time in a really long time or perhaps ever, to a bared mind and soul. A side of me that is feeling exposed, vulnerable, fragile, out of sync and out of routine. But you know something, a bigger and deeper feeling of ‘that’s ok’ took pride in my body.
A feeling of immense gratitude for everyone I have in my life, for each and every personality, heartbeat, laugh, cry, hug and argument. Everything that has shaped who I am, my foundations. All of the material things that not so long ago completely consumed my mind every day like getting tarmacadam and gates for our yard at our house, or getting fencing to give structure and boundaries to our family home, now not coming anywhere close on the most precious elements in my life.
Today, just taking time to watch our beautiful old Golden Labrador roll and earth herself on Mother Earth’s grass, oblivious to everything and so present in her very moment. Standing hugging our beautiful cat tightly, listening to her purring and her gentle heartbeat as I cried my eyes out talking to our other little dog who died after being hit by a car on the road at the weekend just gone. All amazing, very real, very present moments. All different emotions, feelings and sensations to sit and to walk with.
Mindfulness and my connection with beautiful Mother Earth has definitely made it possible for me to just allow these thoughts, these feelings, these emotions, these experiences to surface and to become an illuminated part of my life. Mindfulness has given me the space, the courage,
the safety to just allow myself to be with whatever I am feeling, wherever I am and with whatever needs to surface.
During this very strange, very surreal, very unsure time of Covid-19, please just allow yourself to be. To be whatever you are and to be with whatever way you feel. Allow yourself to connect with your anchor, your life force, your grounding breath, just breathe calmly and deeply.
Please be kind and patient with yourselves and your families. If you need to cry, hug yourself and tell yourself ‘you have every reason to cry’, you are doing a super job. Please be compassionate with yourself, remembering to treat yourself like you would your very best friend. Please comfort, nurture, encourage and motivate yourself with kindness, compassion and self-care. Please connect with and feel the comfort and security of common humanity, we are all in this together.