I recently had a conversation with a friend who had just separated from her husband of three decades. Although that is not her name, for the sake of this article, let us call her Susy. She told me that, one day, out of the blue, her husband told her that their marriage had reached its end. That was that and she moved out, at least temporarily.
Susy is not alone in now having to navigate what may seem like the aftermath of the lockdown. The recent months have put a strain on many relationships. Why is that?
I can only conclude that somehow it relates to habitual distractions being removed, combined with more time than ever for self-reflection.
When the World comes Tumbling Down…
With tears in her eyes, Susy shared with me how hurt she was. Her future had just been ripped apart and she was feeling an immense sadness.
Having decided to temporarily leave the marital home in order to spend time on her own and to try and get her thoughts in order, she was questioning if this was really the right thing to do.
… Distract Yourself
Susy told me that she finds it incredibly difficult to be on her own. I prodded for more information, asking her exactly why so. Expressing her sadness and loneliness she also told me that she had found the solution. “What is that?” I asked.
“Keeping busy with Zoom dinners, WhatsApp coffee chats with friends and going out shopping,” she replied.
At this, I paused, before telling her, “You are running away from yourself.”
“I know I am,” was her answer and at that we both laughed.
Move From the Outer to the Inner
Having been so used to living our lives in the outside world, something that the Corona lockdowns took away from us, for many, this last year was the first time that they slowed down and were forced to look within, with nowhere else to hide.
“There is nowhere but Now is Here.”
We seem to inhabit two separate worlds although ultimately there is only one. It is our inner landscape, our thoughts, emotions and feelings. The other, we believe, is the “world as we experience it”, which we associate with the things we do. Most of our lives, many of us have been running almost as if on auto pilot. Solely focused on the outer, we keep busy. Doing this and doing that, sleeping, cooking, working, shopping, exercising, and planning our next trip… the list goes on.
As long as we operate on that level, we see the people we spend our time with almost as furniture in the house that we inhabit. Ok, let us be kind, we could think of them as the most favourite worn down but loved armchair, there to hold us as we vent or look for support. And they support us, our friends, families and colleagues. They help us keep going, getting through the days. We suppress our pain. We feel that we are managing just fine, but are we?
Endings Can Make Space for New Beginnings
Whenever a cycle is being completed – Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian philosopher looks at life in distinctive 7- year cycles – we enter an extremely fertile time for emotional de-cluttering. This makes sense as an ending naturally brings with it a new beginning. Accordingly, it is important to make space for the new but before that we need to make peace with the past to create peace within.
The mind’s way of guiding our decisions is sneaky, if not downright devious. How we react to a situation is always influenced by our past experiences. Left to run amok, we allow our conditioning to trigger fears and our fears to dictate our actions.
It could be that listening to a certain song makes tears run down your cheeks. Don’t hold back. Think of the tears as the result of your mind excavating memories. Whether happy or sad memories, release their residue and leave the past in the past.
There is nothing wrong with cherishing memories, moments lost, as long as we are aware that this is what we’re doing. They’re like an app that keeps running in the background of our mind. This is fine, as long as we don’t let them run the show.
As in the case of Susy, an example would be feeling lonely after a relationship has ended. Rather than exploring the sense of loneliness, we may revert to feeling nostalgic about what we feel we have lost. We may even return to a relationship even though it ended for the right reasons, all to avoid feeling lonely.
Loneliness can be a great teacher. By spending time with ourselves and our emotions we can get to a more elevated standpoint, one where we can observe the vista and what is actually going on. In this position we can choose to delete old files (memories and emotions) from the cache (mind and action) and focus on being present to what is in the moment.
What We Resist Persists
We are so not used to truly experiencing our inner landscape and being alone might just be the best option to learn to navigate and deal with the pain, even as it hurts or despite of it.
We all know that what we resist persists. And yet we do almost whatever we can to avoid feeling our emotional pain. It then might help us to know that accepting pain allows us to transform it and experience peace within and happiness which we all seek.
What Should We Do?
Only by not looking away can we see each of the trees without being overwhelmed by the size of the forest. Spending time with that which troubles us is the way of getting to the root of what seems to stand between us and peace.
Whilst we regularly clean our homes, de-clutter our drawers and wardrobes and detox our bodies (be it by fasting or taking certain supplements or foods) we rarely, if at all, take the time to cleanse our minds of old beliefs and habits.
In lockdown many of us have been forced to accept what is there, inside of us, which may be a feeling of needing space to be completely alone. And at the other end of the spectrum, post lockdown, some, like Susy, have been left alone. What to do? Continue to spend time within, or scurry out in search of distractions?
How To Emotionally Detox
Walk in Nature
If one is seeking to live in presence, in being, rather than doing, a simple method is to take a walk in nature, without carrying any device! This naturally creates space for our connection with self to deepen.
Read & Meditate
Reading books can inspire us to cultivate the deeper layer of presence available to us. I recommend Eckhart Tolle, the author of The Power of Now. His books have transformed many lives, including mine.
“Presence is stillness in action and being one with all that is.”
Tolle tells us that presence is a thoughtless state, which is what (perhaps paradoxically) is what makes it so powerful. Emptiness, void, spaciousness, Now. This space of No-thing-ness contains the sacredness of Creation. In the infinite Quantum Field, who you believe yourself to be, and the plans you have made, cease to be important.
Here, whatever past drama, trauma, fears and anxieties, or labels you have given yourself all disappear. In this space of awareness your past doesn’t exist. You are free.
Your mind may reject or rebel against the idea of thoughtless state and you may need to revert to some tricks. Try this simple “presence practice”, which may silence your mind and open a new journey for you, one that points to a pathless path and a gateless gate, beyond words. By de-cluttering your field of awareness, you make space for Creation to happen through you.
Presence Practice #1
Take a few deep breaths and turn your attention inwards. Feel into your heart chakra located in the middle of your chest.
What are you feeling?
Be the witness to what is being felt within you.
Ask yourself what is present for you right now.
You may feel strong emotions and thoughts may visit you; remain in witness mode.
Ask yourself: From where are these thoughts and emotions that are visiting me originating?
Be curious; stay open.
Remain the observer, avoiding the trap of searching for answers.
Allow yourself to be comfortable with not knowing.
Presence Practice #2: Michael Brown’s Presence Process
This profound self development process, mapped out in a humble paperback, consists of:
Michael received the process through a revelation, which makes it all the more precious. He recommends repeating the 10-week process three times and after that to repeat again when one wishes to do so. All it takes is a willingness to commit to the journey. Reading the book, you are taken by the hand and guided through the process.
May you enjoy your own presence and peace!
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More About the Author:
It was at the height of Claudia’s high-fly corporate career that she arrived at a turning point. A meeting in the forest of a spiritual community in the south of India presented her with a vague notion that she was about to depart from the highway of business success. Little did she know that her life was to radically change.
Claudia founded Soul Luxury and now dedicates her time, wisdom and knowledge to support people who want to live a heart-centred life. In her work, she draws on a lifelong interest in how our energy field is influenced by our thoughts, beliefs, and emotions and how this in turn influences our lives.
Claudia runs a global community which holds space for conversations exploring a future based on a new and deeper understanding of self. Working with individuals as a Quantum Energy Coach, she also facilitates retreats and offers personal change programmes. She is an author of a guided journal Your 28 Days to Self Love and I Am Every Woman, a collection of transformative life stories.