I am writing this as I sit in a hotel foyer waiting for my car to be serviced in a nearby garage. There is some life in the hotel with small family groups, friends and couples here on mini breaks making their way to and from breakfast. But there is a sense of unease, muted enjoyment at best, as people politely wait their turn. I realise as I sit and watch this slow muted scene that I too am low in joy just now, and a little wistful for Spring, Summer. gay abandon, free and easy travel, and life without Covid restrictions.
I know that for those of us in the Northern hemisphere this is natures season for slowing down, for darkness, for remembering lost loved ones, for deep rest . This natural rhythm of what has been for many years for me a delicious, quiet slow time of hibernation, seems somehow disrupted just now with the fast pace of reaching deadlines before the years’s end, the inevitable expectations and anxieties of the looming Christmas season, and yes Covid. I am going to be parochial here for a moment. In my quiet corner of the world we are dealing with increasing Covid numbers by exercising more personal responsibility and following some new guidelines. I know every part of the world is dealing with their local version of the current installment of the Covid story. and so in a way ‘parochial’ as I am, I also realise that somehow this is a shared human experience, even with the huge variation in resources across the globe.
It is hard, we are tired. We have thought several times by now that we were through.
Us humans ( would be masters /mistresses of the universe) are in a time of ongoing uncertainty and deep change – and each of us continues to do our best day by day. And as I sit here noticing this, I remember the importance of the three core aspects of self compassion, namely:
* Suffering is part of human life ( like the natural rhythms of the season, we can
expect ups and downs as part of our human living)
* Our common humanity ( we are not alone), and
* Kindness ( to myself and others)
I am glad to be brought back here- Yes I am feeling the burden of these strange times just now. And I know it is not only alright, but somehow important and healing that I allow myself to notice the suffering, this aspect of life that is simply part of being alive. Next comes the natural awareness that. it is not just me but part of what we as a human tribe are living through. Then I come to kindness…..admiring the small kindnesses I see all around me in this unremarkable hotel foyer, and a softening towards kindness for myself in this moment. And in all of this I witness, as I often do the small miracle of moving from stuckness to noticing, and on to surrender, and through that, a coming home to calm.
I am thankful to connect again with the grace of this moment, the ongoing invitation to slow down, to connect with and learn from both the energy of the seasons, and my own inner wisdom.
I have no idea if this note of mine will make sense to any who read it, but I wanted to share it. But if my words do not resonate, may I invite you to read this lovely poem from John O’Donoghue, a man who was steeped in the wisdom of nature, and whose wisdom continues to nourish.
This is the time to be slow,
Lie low to the wall
Until the bitter weather passes.
Try, as best you can, not to let
The wire brush of doubt
Scrape from your heart
All sense of yourself
And your hesitant light.
If you remain generous,
Time will come good;
And you will find your feet
Again on fresh pastures of promise,
Where the air will be kind
And blushed with beginning.
John O’Donohue, Irish poet and philosopher
Excerpt from his books, To Bless the Space Between Us (US) / Benedictus (Europe)
I am so excited to be offering this At Home Mindfulness and Self-Compassion Retreat on Saturday Nov 27th. This is one of my core retreats – a gentle, relaxing, restorative day. I really hope you will consider gifting yourself this time and joining me as we create a space to relax, decompress, and come home to the peace that is inside each one of us. Read more and book your place here.
I would love to hear from you please do drop me a line with your thoughts, responses, questions. You can reach me here – email@example.com.