What we have Been Through

This morning I’m pondering on what we have all been through here in Europe over these last 2-3 years. I can’t speak for other areas. And I personally had it relatively easy due to my age and outdoor lifestyle. Aside from the suffering within our immediate circles and personally, and we have collectively gone through a earthquake of shock, change, uncertainty and fear. Trauma that few are acknowledging. I see the effects on my therapy clients. It caused such desperation for those clients, it tipped them over the edge towards seeking help.

There have been government interventions in our lives that most have not imagined or experienced, there have been premature deaths, job and business losses, and interrupted lives effecting especially the young. There have been severe challenges to our mental health and stability, our optimism and our sense of direction, stability and safety as a society.

I still remember watching 2 mounted policemen asking an elderly lady to get up from the bench she was having a rest on in the park in 2020. We wee allowed to walk in the park but not sit or stand!

Perhaps we got it all wrong, and the lockdowns were a result of hysteria, and didn’t actually work. We could have instead targeted only those most at risk, and allowed the rest of society to function, as they did in Sweden. They also made some early mistakes as we did with the elderly in care homes, but they had no more excess deaths by allowing schools and businesses to stay open.

The dust hasn’t settled either, and even more uncertainty is being added in the form of war in Europe and the cost of living and energy crisis. The blatant inconsistency of government and institutions to behave with transparency and wisdom. Who and what is left to trust and depend on? It has been so painful. I had little trust in governments, institutions, pharmaceutical companies to begin with. How shocking it must be like for those who did trust them.

I worry a bit about the rapid actions of all of this. The effect of the vaccines, the well-being of people in general. The way power structures are moving around.

I keep arriving back to compassion for ourselves and what we have been through. This morning I found myself placing a hand on my heart and breathing in compassion for myself and for us all. I have found it more important than ever to connect regularly with my feelings more than ever and soothe the agitated thoughts and ripples of turbulent feelings.

I just went for a swim and sit in the jacuzzi, and the muscles are relaxed, now a cup of tea then out to the park in the sunshine. Peppers and cucumbers and hummus for a late breakfast. All very healthy!

Then what I don’t know exactly. One therapy client cancelled this morning, got another at 5pm. Got the drawings back from he printer and will deliver them to the men.

Here’s a reposting of this exercise which I wanted to remind myself of. Have been communicating it with my clients.

From Kristin Neff

1. This is a moment of suffering

That’s mindfulness. Other options include:

  • This hurts.
  • Ouch.
  • This is stress.

2. Suffering is a part of life

That’s common humanity. Other options include:

  • Other people feel this way.
  • I’m not alone.
  • We all struggle in our lives.

Now, put your hands over your heart, feel the warmth of your hands and the gentle touch of your hands on your chest. Or adopt the soothing touch you discovered felt right for you.

Say to yourself:

3. May I be kind to myself

You can also ask yourself, “What do I need to hear right now to express kindness to myself?” Is there a phrase that speaks to you in your particular situation, such as:

  • May I give myself the compassion that I need
  • May I learn to accept myself as I am
  • May I forgive myself
  • May I be strong.
  • May I be patient

This practice can be used any time of day or night, and will help you remember to evoke the three aspects of self-compassion when you need it most.”

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