For more than a year now we, as a collective, have lived through something we have never experienced before. As we glimpse at the life after lockdown, finally freed from tough restrictions, and no longer confined to our homes, there seems to be a general feeling of apprehension to reintegrate into the outside world and society. Before the lockdown, most of us suffered from FOMO – fear of missing out. Today, instead FOGO – fear of going out – is the issue.
I want to talk about the anxiety that many of us are experiencing.
It is ok to feel anxious and it is important to acknowledge and accept it. After all, what we resist persists. Emotions are energy in motion and want to be acknowledged.
Only through feeling and accepting our emotion can we release them.
Doing so, we feel lighter and more easily able to accept any situation.
Too often, we cope with our fears by suppressing them. Our body gives us many signals – perhaps our heart beats faster or we feel a knot of tightness in our stomach. The important thing here is to accept our fears instead of suppressing them.
One way towards accepting our fears is to name them. Speak out loud if possible, “I feel…“. Try it. There is something powerful about naming our fears. Feel into your body and observe it. Do you feel any sensation? You have just started to release some stored energy around your fear. Fears seem very real, but like everything, they are made up of energy.
So why worry about stepping out?
Speaking for myself, during lockdown I became more aware of my inner landscape of thoughts, emotions, and dreams. Suddenly I had more than enough time, something that I could only dream of before. Really feeling my own presence, I started to enjoy it so much that I no longer want to let go. It’s as if the gap between my higher self and my ‘normal’ has narrowed. As if in this new ‘normal’ I have become a new version of me; a more peaceful one. I truly feel more loving than before, towards myself and others.
Keen to nurture this, I fear new constant demands being placed on me, again. How can I let this nudging feeling go? Do I have to let go of an almost constant feeling of peace and presence, or can I take my ‘new friend’ with me as I venture back into life after lockdown?
I wish to stay present, connected to my innermost being whilst easing into a new dynamic.
Is it possible?
I remind myself that whilst we are forced to deal with constant change in our daily lives and with many uncertainties, our inner landscape remains just as important as, or more important than what is shifting on the outside. Only when we are rooted and connected with our essence can we stand firm to handle whatever life throws at us. Right now, there is plenty of throwing, it seems, as the world shifts yet again!
Finding a new way forward
As you engage with people you may notice a new ‘belief mechanism’ unfolding. We tend to cling to an overly strong attachment to our beliefs. We believe – rightly or wrongly – that our beliefs give us security and validation. We feel called to defend our point of view no matter what. This is the reason why we cannot see the viewpoints of others. It’s our basic need for safety that we are seeking to maintain when we feel called to defend our beliefs. But there are more empowering ways to ease back into life after lockdown than locking yourself into your beliefs.
One way is to focus on what we wish for rather than what we fear.
Easing out of the lockdown, I see that the way to ease will be by the continuous development of more self-acceptance, compassion and self-love. And being ok with being vulnerable seems to hold a key to this happening. Isn’t it the shying away from being vulnerable that causes suffering? I’d say so, as it makes us put on masks, again and again, hiding away our true self.
How to go easy in a tricky situation? Dare to be vulnerable!
Given what is happening around the world, suffering is indeed a global phenomenon. Locked up, or down, I believe many dwelled in their own shadows. This will have caused much pain and suffering. But now, what is coming up?
Whatever is coming up, be vulnerable, which always starts with being honest with yourself.
For a quick fix formula, here some perhaps overlooked truths about vulnerability (a state of being that is key to true self-love) that might help turn a sense of helplessness on its head:
Vulnerability is a state of empowerment
Vulnerability is a state of strength
Vulnerability is a sacred space
Vulnerability is my wisdom space
If I feel vulnerable right now, that feeling can most certainly be used as fertiliser for inner growth. What is there to learn from accepting this specific feeling of fear or pain, instead of resisting it?
Searching within myself, I find that I’m no longer fearful of the virus. Nor do I shy away from interacting with others, though as a positive side effect from the long lockdown I do so in an overtly conscious way. These days I choose carefully who I spend time with, and how.
So, what is it that is nudging me at this point in time as we find our way back into life after lockdown? Some introspection yields that I want to remain in deep communion with my innermost self – my new friend. I want to nurture that connection, not try to escape anything but to pass through whatever challenges stand in my way. As I venture out during these early post-lockdown days, I and my new friend tread delicately. We walk together side by side, each carrying the other, lovingly, each step a sign of reassurance and inner strength.
The other pandemic: self criticism
Choosing my rite of passage, by being brutally honest, I find myself at the gate that leads to ‘beyond self-criticism’.
This is another, equally real pandemic of our days. The self-criticism virus is a rampant one and has affected me too. The collective pattern of lack of compassion for oneself and others has been raging for some time. As I dig in and excavate the interiors of me, what solutions do I find?
I’m convinced that self-love is the crypto currency of the new era. Self-love is an often misunderstood and right-out rejected concept. Some mistake it for selfishness and others harbour too many false beliefs to even consider it an option for themselves. If you love and value yourself, you will lovingly and consciously reject self-criticism.
Here are some other common nudges, as people unlock their doors and crawl out of lockdown as if from under a rock, and some questions to ask:
All that quiet time nourished me and although I really want to be in other people’s company and get together with friends and family, I’m afraid to lose my personal time.
Do I need to revert back into leading a hectic life or can I make new and conscious choices?
I worry about returning to the office. How will I feel about commuting again? Just the thought of it renders my tummy in knots. Not to speak of the office politics and subtle dynamics of the corporate environment.
Could it be that, like I, others too have changed, and that we can co-create an entirely new way of being also in the office world?
Having gotten used to not being around a lot of people and having embraced the coronavirus precautions – the masks and social distancing, I’m now mindful about mingling with others. Be it on the underground train, or in a bar or restaurant, it can be irritating at times to suddenly be surrounded by so many people.
Can I go slowly and ease myself into the world again? Can I accept that I need a little more time to feel comfortable in the (unlocked) world again?
Remember: Ease out and ease in. No need to step out of the inner landscape.
And even the outer landscape might be a new one, or ready to change.
In self-love and until soon again in an ever-changing life after lockdown,
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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 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.