Here we are again in the second lockdown in many countries. Here is to another strict measure to deal with the consequences of the epidemic of coronavirus.
On some level it feels like reexperiencing trauma. We had made our efforts globally to the best of our abilities (and decisions) and here we are again, in almost the same place. What did actually happen? Some prognosis say that epidemics remain for at least three, four years until they become manageable for the large population. Continuing the lockdown does not quite feel a viable option.
I do not intend to make an analysis of the epidemic as we are already overwhelmed with analysis from scientists, politicians and so on.
I always return to the knowledge I acquired from the university studying various theories of communication. At the centre of an enormous field of knowledge I learned that everything a person does is one way or another political. From the goods we are buying, to the types or relationships we form, our vote and so on. Politics is, basically, everything we do in order to accomplish something. Right after our political actions comes the communication of our actions. Some actions may 'speak for themselves' and others need some sort of 'translation'. Why someone said something and what was their goal of saying it?
Lets not fool ourselves anymore, there is meaning in everything we do and say. We might say something to express ourselves and/or to provoke a certain reaction from another. It completely changes level when we are talking about the decisions concerning the entire population of a country.
My sense is that the majority of people in the countries having a second lockdown is experiencing mixed feelings about it. There might be anger towards the virus, politicians and anyone responsible for the why we are back here in this restriction, there might be sadness, powerlessness, disappointment, even a sense of giving up of any effort to feel optimistic or maintain one's good mental health.
Indeed, there are so many unknown variables in this equation that it is hard to maintain a stable and positive appearance. Many people have lost their jobs, others had their income substantially reduced, others are dealing with uncertainty in their lives including the breaking down of their relationships, others have actually lost someone during that period etc. It is fair to say that, even though, we all live the same thing, we are experiencing it in a very different and personal way.
During this second confinement, besides the external consequences, we are probably, also, dealing with internal processes and challenges, for example, feeling lonely, overwhelmed, in pain due to trauma triggered and so on. Unfortunately, I do not have any magical solution to offer you to feel better. It is a new situation to all of us and we are all dealing with it in a way that feels right to us.
What I do have, though, is some conclusions of my own and some suggestions as a professional with some experience working in mental health.
1. Let it be & let it go
Some people might say 'what are you talking about? this is our lives?'. I do not mean let go of your life, quite the opposite. I mean let go of the idea you have about your life and start living it as it is right now! I, also, mean let all your feelings be present and not judge them. They are all valid, even if they feel overwhelming and is hard to understand them. Give them air and space, write them down, draw them, sing them, dance them, just do not suppress them. They are not your enemies now or ever, they are your friends who are informing you of what are you experiencing right now.
We all have aspirations, plans, things we have planned and were looking forward to be doing. Change is inevitable in life, so let your system (your body, your feelings, your mind) to accept, process and adjust to this change, do not force it. The whole nature is going through a dying and rebirthing process every single year through the seasons and notice how smoothly it adjusts to it.
It is, also, like breaking your leg, you need time to operate, heal and recover. You can not just start walking again, you need to let your body heal itself and help it with prescribed exercises to become stronger day by day. If you rush it, you might cause further damage and it may not heal properly leaving you the promise of future problems.
2. Sit with it
This is a very common phrase that psychotherapists use a lot to signify the way to deeply integrate a situation. Remember that events are just events, neither positive or negative. It is our own lens and perspective that makes them significant and meaningful or not. Of course, we would feel angry as we are being denied our freedom, our health is potentially under threat, our life is being placed on hold or turned into an unknown route and so on. It is absolutely valid and undeniable.
Another thing that the situation calls us to sit with, I feel, is the issue of power and responsibility. There have been a lot of discussions around 'personal responsibility' towards oneself and others during the epidemic. How about sit with yourselves with some calm music and lit candle and ask them: 'what are you responsible and not responsible for what is happening?', 'what is that you can and can not do to protect yourself and your vulnerable elder neighbour?', 'what is it you can do to contribute to the decision making process that concern your lives on a local and national level?', 'is there anything you can do to make your feelings, voice and concerns heard by your people and the people around you?', 'how do you personally assess the results of the choices that you, others and politicians make as political actions to deal effectively with the situation?'
As always, processes like these can be hard for one person to do alone without some sort of guidance and, yet, I would encourage anyone who is not comfortable with the situation to actually start a process like this, where the only goal would be to listen to themselves. Especially now that we all have more time and space to do something like that. You can view it as a mini retreat time in your own house.
I was, initially, surprised at the first lockdown how many people decided to leave their jobs in the midst of all the uncertainty, because it did not feel right for them anymore. Sitting with something that 'bothers' you can be proven very productive as it might lead to solutions that you would have not easily thought before.
Inevitably, another major area that is being affected again from the lockdown is our relationships. Being single or with a partner, living alone or with someone else, the confinement forces us to see ourselves and the other more closely as the space around us becomes smaller. It is no surprise that many relationships were tested in the first lockdown and they did not survive it and some others were either formed or became much stronger.
In all cases, what might be helpful is honesty and courage to open up. We often lock ourselves behind roles, certain expectations and demands, that we forget what is really important to us. Our primary relationship, at least as adults, is with ourselves. If we have lost touch with our feelings and who we are, then, nobody can really bridge that gap for us. They can help us temporarily, for example, to not feel alone and, yet, we know that this is not a permanent solution.
Let yourselves, then, have a better chat with yourselves; organise a good catch up, be curious of where have you been, how was that, was there anything missing? Do that with people that interest you, your family, friends, partner, look at them in the eyes and enquire for a deeper and more sincere truth. You may be surprised to discover in that process how much you did not know, how many colours of yours and others' rainbows you have been missing, in how many ways you can really contact someone.
I feel I can write endlessly about the importance of making the best out of every situation.
From a consciousness perspective, that regards everything as a necessary part of the whole, there is no 'enemy' virus or, better, the virus is both an enemy (of our health) and a friend that can show us new things about ourselves and the world.
Being with whatever exists is a political act of love. It can lead you to show more love to yourself, to take new directions, to be kinder to your neighbours, to care about your surroundings, to become a more involved and evolved human being.
As always, the choice (and personal responsibility) is always yours...