Why did some people fly through lockdown and for others it washed in feelings that created fear, anxiety and depression.
For some people it was the very real uncertainty, jobs going, financial security disappearing, having to remain at home in dangerous or un happy circumstances.
For some people the uncertainty brought a familiarity to it.
People who had lived through chaotic and uncertain childhoods seemed to be comfortable with the now very uncertain world.
They had been training for it there whole lives it would seem.
The final lockdown in the UK had a very different impact. The excitement of Christmas behind us and the winter to push through.
I was getting a very different picture arrive in my office.
Loneliness was playing a much bigger part in people’s descriptions of their suffering.
I examined my own times where those feelings had been most prevalent. It was in my teens just before I had the freedom to do what I needed to.
Feelings of constriction and thinking no one would even notice if I disappeared from the world.
I wondered how much of that teenage angst had been unearthed collectively as we all became grounded with in our homes, put on time schedules by schools and told when we could see our friends.
Had we collectively been pulled back in time to a place where we had no control over the direction of our lives.
I was shocked, it was looking that way, as I listened to more and more people’s frustrations, pain, fear and detachment.
I started paying attention to who was thriving and comparing that to people who where not.
Who was thriving emotionally?
What resources, attitudes, and attributes where being displayed?
I noticed that people who where actively doing something for others spent very little time enduring the dark days.
They where quick to rebound from the harder days.
Little and often through small practices and routine seemed to drive habits that got more done over time.
They didn’t endulge themselves in either pride or selfpity.
They had an outwood looking focus that said I feel good when I’m doing things for others’.
It created a very solid type of resilence.
I started to pick up on something important here.
Resourcing someone else that mattered to them made them more empathetic towards themselves.
I was observing and hearing a lot of stories about grief. I wondered if loosing a part of our life’s so suddenly had created a larger feeling of grief collectively.
Having the over arching time before look that we all now shared.
We all have a story that locks us together as humanity. The generations that have experienced this. Went through it in different ways. We are all going through it.
A much bigger idea floated into my mind. That the pain and suffering of loss is inevitable and it is something we will all have to go through. It is the closest thing to connection I have become aware of recently.
Those that knew what to do about internalised pain instinctively where coping better.
This was a monster in terms of growth for me.
I know that many people have different threshold of emotional pain. And that there is no upper limit to what we can experience.
How ever our learned experiences will dictate how we respond to the prospect of pain or pain itself.
The people I spoke to over the course of this year showed me that when they could gain something from there suffering.
When they could learn something about themselves that enabled a value within them to be forfilled.
They would learn how to accept the pain.
Be with the pain
Nor fear the pain.
And the experience of being in pain changed.
I realised most of us are not taught how to move through emotional pain.
I found that the people that found a way to say I deserve this.
Stayed suffering for much longer.
That that tiny idea had been with them since childhood.
The simplist of statements could open up a very different conversation.
” I don’t know if anyone has said this to you, it’s not your fault you where a kid”, would you like to talk about what happened to you?”
My daughter had demonstrated how capable she was of dealing with pain and trauma last summer and taught me an enormous lesson it took me a year to understand it.
She had been laying on an inflatable enjoying the hot air and the pool in Spain.
A bumble bee minding its own business flew into her getting stuck to chubby little arm.
The bee stung as it wings were now stuck to her wet skin.
I heard the scream and the panic. I knew it was a bee. I got into the pool my parental vision locked onto the source of my 5 year olds pain.
“Mummy, it’s stinging ow ow ow”
I had the bee and the sting out before we hit the edge of the pool. Tilly crying and shaking.
Once upstairs and calming down ice lolly in hand.
Tilly looked me in the eyes and said “Mummy what happened to the bee”
“Sweet heart it will have died when it stung you”
Tilly looked agust and big tears started to flow down her little pink cheeks.
As I comforted her I found myself experiencing confusion. I thought she would experience relief knowing the thing that hurt her was no longer here.
It took me months to realise what had gone on that day.
Tilly did not move to anger in a situation of personal pain. She would choose compassion instead.
She felt kindness towards the bee. Looking beyond her own suffering and extending her thoughts outside of her self. Her tears where helping her to heal, when she cried for the bee.
She didn’t choose, revenge or anger.
She didn’t chose to remain in pain.
She moved to healing herself by thinking beyond herself.
We would only spend a few more days taking about the bee in the pool and then life would move on.
She automatically went towards emotions that enabled her to heal.
I had noticed a patten in the office.
The bee and Tilly had alerted me to something.
People who could not find compassion for themselves or others stayed in pain..
The pain of avoiding pain drove an awful cycle.
It was essential to teach them how to understand and feel compassion this was part of enduring the discomfort that would keep them in the now.
It was essential to overcoming so many hurts.
The adventure continues …