Lock-down Lessons

Lock-down started out stressful for me, but turned into a time of respite that I didn’t know I needed. I felt calm, life moved slower. The stressful flurry of lock-down’s beginning faded as I accepted I didn’t need to teach my kids, that they were happier exploring their own pathways. Following this acceptance I realised that as long as I prioritised doing some exercise every day, I was able to handle almost everything else without lashings of guilt.

In daily life we rush everywhere. The slower pace of lock-down gave me time to consider, to understand what is nurturing and nourishing to me. I’ve discovered that over-stimulation of life as normal has been frying my circuits. This raises the question: how do I stop that from happening when lock-down is over?

I don’t have an answer, but I will share will you some other things that have occurred to me while cogitating this problem. I have chosen to share these in the form of an extremely long list (breaking all the rules of blog-writing, which state “Ten shall be thy number of thy list, not nine, not eleven, but ten, and only ten it shall be.”) For the nonce I say ‘boo’ to this rule. My list of lock-down lessons is as follows:

  1. Take a little time. Do a little nothing. Be happy being.
  2. Solitude is good for creation, and creation is a mood lifter. Make constructive use of solitude: do nothing.
  3. It is all about the breath.
  4. Breath.
  5. Belief is everything. You might believe you can’t do something – that it is impossible to achieve. The problem with this isn’t whether you are right or not, but that believing you can’t stops you trying.
  6. Learning something takes a lot of intention, knowledge, routine, intensity, patience, repetition, regularity, and time.
  7. Let your thoughts come, don’t judge them, but decide what is helpful. Act on what you’ve decided is helpful. Let your intention drive your actions, and watch your actions become habits. Decide, and act now, using what you’ve already got.
  8. Live on a little, it is freeing to not need much.
  9. Habits. You need to create habits. Repeat something you want to do or get better at, everyday for a few weeks, and watch a habit form.
  10. The opposite of all wise truths is also true. You need both. Learn when each are needed; you’ll find they mysteriously balance.
  11. Rules that attempt to simplify are illusions. No one thing is a whole answer. Everything is way more complex than that, and can’t be boiled down to just one one thing, even a big thing like belief or breath. Know that all rules have exceptions, except this rule about exceptions, which has no exceptions.
  12. Doing more than one thing at once does not mean you’re getting more done.
  13. Learning is never done once, you have repeat it to keep it.
  14. Time-pressure causes stress. Stress initiates a nervous system response. Recovery uses energy. Over and over this wears on your system. Let yourself recover.
  15. Fear is a creation of imagination, a response to external pressures in which your mind hypothesises what might go wrong. The mind is usually wrong about what might go wrong – what actually does go wrong, is whatever you didn’t think of in advance. Try not to take your imagination seriously, don’t believe in the fear or store it in your heart.
  16. Anger often arises when other people don’t fulfill your expectations of them. This happens for me at home – I get angry because I feel like my needs/wants/desires always come last. It is true sometimes – in a household there are lots of egos with needs and wants and desires. There is a give and take. Sometimes a sacrifice is needed. Try to find balance.
  17. Tell others the truth of what you feel. Not like Ricky Gervais in ‘After Life’, when he tells a comedian making jokes about suicide why he (Ricky) is such a misery guts (his wife died of cancer, and he can’t see the point of living). Yes the comedian deserved it but that isn’t the point. The point is, don’t spill your guts to innocent passersby, but also don’t swallow your anger. Tell your truth honestly to your partner, your family. Don’t grump at them. Don’t say ‘nothing’ when they ask what is wrong and then sulk for the afternoon. Try to tell them how you feel without blaming them, and you’ll often discover what was really going on (9 times out of 10 its something made up in your head), and it vanishes like smoke on the wind. Beautiful. Gone. Doesn’t fester in your heart.
  18. Be bendy like bamboo. Flexibility is good for your heart and soul … and also your body (work on your hip mobility – its important!).
  19. Be not rash to consume your eggs and milk (and butter, flour, and yeast). Take your time, appreciate them.
  20. Use the now to plan. Planning is good. Just don’t spend too much time dwelling in the future.
  21. Watch Monty Python.

That is all.

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