I’m writing this on the last day of October 2020: surrounded by headlines, commentary and increasingly pressing advice to our nation, the UK, to prepare for another full lockdown.
Maybe it was always inevitable. Maybe we’ll get lucky at the last hour.
What graphs to believe? What experts to follow? Are there any leaders at all, anywhere, that we can put our faith in?
How will businesses cope? How will families, and workers on low wages get through this?
What about our spirit?
What is all this doing, and this year’s ravaging of what we know, to our inner bodies?
This is what I’m feeling at the moment. That my spirit is asking not to be closed, comprised or shut down. In fact, my spirit is hungrier than ever. So, how am I going to feed it as we enter a winter of dis-connection caused by another lockdown, or, further repercussions of the groundhog day feeling of this pandemic?
I’ve been pretty level throughout this year. Taking it philosophically and on the tougher days meeting it as best as I can with the tools, practices and emotional self-support that I’ve learnt and have had ample opportunity to experience over the years. Those months of sunshine we got in spring and summer helped too.
Tonight, after coming home from teaching, there was a stillness in the air and the sky was jet black in spite of it being a full moon night. I put on one lamp, enough light from which to make a cup of tea, accompanied with a raw chocolate bar.
Sitting on the sofa, I manage my breath, let it downshift from the day. Then take my first sip of tea. It tasted… SO GOOD. There was nothing different about how I’d made it or what was in it. I can only put it down to… my level of awareness. Oh, as the hot liquid passed through my throat I felt so nourished.
With the raw chocolate bar, I found myself taking much longer than usual in unwrapping it, then touching and breaking off pieces, slowly munching and savouring taste and texture.
I felt no need to distract myself, with phone, laptop or anything else.
Once the tea and chocolate were imbibed, I felt a calling – after teaching all day – to drop down onto my own yoga mat. I had no sequence, posture or anything at all in mind as to what to do as I landed. I let myself be guided by the moment and ended up doing postures that found a way of targeting key areas in my body that needed extra attention. Were they even postures? Or was I just using the ground, blocks, and my deepest breaths and clearest awareness to soften, release, massage out tension and stagnation.
After being on the mat, I found myself sitting upright and nearly guiding myself into a meditation. But what does that even mean? To say, ‘I’m going to meditate’? I let go of the idea and lit a candle that smells of amber. The smell was delectable, but more than that, I let my olfactory fill the space and container of what I might normally call ‘meditation’. I just took in the smell. For half an hour.
Supper time came round. Tonight was a simple soup which I accompanied with sourdough bread. I read each ingredient on the beautifully presented packet of the bread, smelt the bread, watched the bread as it fluffed then lightly gained a brown crisp under the grill in the oven. The soup I tasted, in little teaspoons, whilst it warmed, then came to a gurgle in the pot. Dinner ready and on my tray, I was back to the sofa. I voiced, out aloud, words of appreciation as I supped, and as the chilli and lemongrass hit the back of my throat then heated my gut.
I thought I’d finish the evening with a book, or a film, or audio.
But…there was one one more sense that needed feeding.
The depth of my being and auditory cortex needed to be surprised, elated, and yet also wanted soothing and comfort . What could do that? The hundreds of thousands of tracks on my playlists were ready and waiting, but where to start?
Well, I didn’t need to worry about going through those playlists. My imagination and inner senses, awakened and alive, called in a tune! I could hear it, first in the distance, like back in the day when heading to a secret rave and catching the sounds ahead in some field somewhere. I listened. I got a feel for it and found the tune online. And let it play… and as it played, it opened into a whole album with tracks I’d not heard before. It’s playing now, still, as I write this.
For in writing this I feed one more hunger: the one that says connect. Connect. With You.
Don’t forget your Senses, dear ones. They’ll not only help you reconnect fully into your body and heart, they could just be the ticket to seeing you through this weird and uncertain autumn and winter to come.
-image, The Five Senses; Adam & Eve, by Hermes Gertrude, 1933