Is being gentle weak?
Sometimes it’s all a bit much right? The wider world looks like a child’s crayon mess, your own world is seemingly physically shrinking, and the everyday stuff still needs doing! Right now, each of us is walking our own and very unique COVID path, not one of them is truly comparable to the other. But one thing we can all offer ourselves and each other is gentleness.
I have been quiet over the last few days just trying to keep things steady at home, grounding where I can, but I have not managed to spend enough time outside for my own wellbeing and I notice the impact.
Often when I walk with clients, we talk about speaking with facts, not assumption or projection. Undoubtedly, this is really hard right now, the fear and worry about loved ones, futures, livelihoods, health, climate, world stability – it all gets way too much, way too quick! The bottom-line fact for me here is I know ‘it gets too much, too quick’, so that’s what I can take more accountability for and perhaps some of the ways I am trying might help you too?
What can I do? Well here are three ideas to think about.
1: Notice the rising feelings and emotions
What do they actually feel like in my body? Is there a particular subject I keep getting anxious around? When do they appear? What am I usually doing when they appear?
By taking a moment to ask myself a few questions about the actual facts around the emotions being experienced, offers me an invitation to notice more and provides deeper insight into how I might work through them.
2: Share them with someone, set up a specific sharing buddy
We know that sharing is caring, however, all too often we share with a friend or loved one and we enter into a circle of ‘comparitonitus’. That being my world is worse than yours, kinda thing, and this isn’t helpful, in fact it’s draining and often harmful.
I value having a trusted sharing buddy, where we have an agreed and TIMED, five minute off-load. This is where we regularly offer each other safe space, to speak from the heart, whatever is there. The other person is listening with all of their senses, offering no response other than ‘thank you’ at the end and gentleness in their silence. By taking it in turns it feels balanced, healthy and with secure boundaries, at no time do I look for sympathy or solutions. Often by simply having a moment to be fully heard is enough and the heaviness is lifted. Could you partner someone in this way?
3: Value what brings you back to YOU.
What is it you need to maintain your own gentle friendship with yourself? What are the MUST haves right now to keep you as balanced and connected as possible? We all have experience to call on from lockdown 1. I know I must get outside EVERYDAY, even if just for five minutes. By intentionally stepping outside regardless of time and conditions, just for a moment to be there with no other purpose I am offering myself a chance to notice how my feet touch the ground, how my body feels support from the sky, how the air touches my skin, what sounds grace my ears. In autumn I can often watch my own breath on a frosty morning. In these moments I get to remember how nature gently carries on around us, doing her best to show us that transition is always present, that the only consistent thing in life is change. These brief moments actually help bring me home, back to myself and that bring balance back to my day.
What do you need to bring you back home to YOU? Prioritise it as a MUST have right now.
There are many other things we can all look to do to motivate us to keep going during these highly charged and often lonely times.
Some of us may set fitness or nutrition goals or look to support the community through volunteering or sponsorship. Others may be able to embrace learning and dive into lengths of literature. The list is endless, but if you are alone, isolated and scared, then often the gentleness of simple actions are the ones that matter most. The hello from a neighbour, the call from a friend, the smile at the check-out or knowing nod with the eyes. Remembering each of our paths right now is not the same for everyone.
Gentleness matters, offering gentleness to ourselves and others, takes courage and strength and it is never a weakness. By holding things lightly, working with facts and offering out kindness whatever you face, will go a long way to supporting each other through this winter of retreat.
You are never alone, reach out and talk, your conversation matters. If you are looking for coaching support to navigate transition get in touch, if I can’t help you, I can listen and connect you forward.
With Love, go gently