Through all weathers


flexing not breakingFour years ago, I bought a tree. I have a ‘normal-size’ garden so this is not something I ever expected to do.

I have always enjoyed silver birches and remember hugging one once on a visit to Norway! So one afternoon, it was a silver birch that I chose.

I can see the silver birch from the kitchen. Every day, rain or shine, I enjoy looking at it, noticing how it changes.

One thing has remained the same through its growth phases. I notice this trait especially on windy days. Despite the tree’s trunks growing thicker, they still flex in the wind. It is incredible to watch it in a storm, swaying to and fro, yet firmly rooted.

All of us are experiencing changes resulting from COVID-19. Some of us might describe it as breezy – there is change but it isn’t interrupting our daily lives much; some of us might describe it as stormy – our world is powerfully impacted and at times almost unrecognisable from what we knew.

The silver birch reminds me that being flexible is part of resilience. Let’s choose to sway in the winds of change, rather than (pointlessly) resist them. For sure, we might prefer it was a sunny, still day but we will experience all weathers. Being flexible will enable us to survive – and even continue to grow – as the silver birch has done.

This is Mindful Monday on 20 July 2020.

Join a virtual zoom mindfulness session on Monday 27 July at 10.30 am. Email to receive details.

There is also an opportunity for a limited-households, socially distanced outdoor mindfulness session, either tonight (20 July) or Monday 27 July 6.45-8.15 pm. Get in touch to give me your preference if you would like to come to the outdoor event.

When’s it all going to be over?

Adjusting to challenging change

Change happens. It can be a change we perceive negatively or positively. Either way we will each go through a journey in adjusting to a change.

Often it is possible to put a timeframe on a change. We can think to ourselves “[difficult or happy change] will all be over by [date]”. Putting a timeframe on a change – even if it turns out to be a moving timeframe and we are incorrect – helps us to cope with the change.

We are all adjusting to our lives in the midst of a global pandemic. It is a time of change that is particularly challenging because realistically we can’t put a timeframe on it.

To manage challenging change we need to take extra care of ourselves (and if we do take care of ourselves, we may then be able to help others).

As individuals and because we have different calls on our energy, we will each experience adjusting to the changes in our lives differently. Yet common for many of us will be denial and resistance: “this can’t be happening” or “it isn’t fair”.

Accepting that change is hard to adjust to is in fact part of the adjustment! Hear yourself if this is where you are at. If you find journaling useful, note your disbelief and your fight reflex. Talk to others about it. Be courageous by being honest about where you are – and this will help others to do the same.

As we notice and accept our reactions, we are starting to manage the change, reducing the stress of it. You could choose to spend 10 minutes a day writing down your reactions to the situation. As you do, you are likely to gain fresh insights. You will be learning. You will be wiser.

Definitely make a decision to give attention to your basic needs: eat, move, sleep. When we are in times of uncertainty – and one without an end date – it is easy to neglect our basic needs. Don’t. Give them attention.

Change happens – but we can influence how well we are in the midst of it.. Be well.

This is Thoughtful Thursday on 16 April 2020.