I was on my way to the hills today for some nature therapy, my phone buzzed with a message "school in lockdown, test started" - a reminder it was lockdown drill day for the kids. I felt this well of grief for those precious souls who died in the Christchurch mosque attack. I felt grief for the children of this generation who have grown up with natural disasters, world pandemics and unsafe cities. I felt grief for the kids being re-traumatised by practising over and over how to stay safe from unknown dangers. I felt guilty about feeling this grief when so many others have it much much harder than I do.
In the society I was raised in, grief was something to be hidden away, suppressed. Actually so was any unpleasant emotion - anger, frustration, envy, jealousy... We were taught to smile and pretend all was ok, to stuff it away and carry on. All this did was give me a painful body.
It doesn't have to be like this though. I am so grateful my kids learn at school that it's ok to feel all the emotions - the nice ones and the not so nice ones, and how to work through the emotions constructively. I wish I'd known how to do that as a kid. My healing journey led me to Qigong, where I've learned how to work out stored emotions (tension / tightness / constriction) out of my body - and trust me it's not always pretty. I spent an entire Qigong teacher training week in Santa Cruz crying - working the raw grief of a recently passed mentor through and out of my body. While it was embarrassing at the time - it was also an incredible lesson in the value of feeling all the feelings, and how to move through them when the time was right.
I want to give you permission now to feel all the feelings. Including the grief for the year you had planned, rather than the year that has been. We all are grieving right now, and it's ok to feel a bit shit about it all frankly.
As we move into spring, it's also natural to want to shed the old, feel a renewed sense of energy. As the daffodils break through the frozen ground, we also can gently yet powerfully break through our own barriers.
There is a famous Qigong saying - "the beautiful lotus flower grows from the mud". Without the mud, the lotus flower doesn't bloom, it won't grow on marble. This is our muddy time. Our challenging time. And boy is it challenging!
But - there is one thing I know for sure - we are up for it.
Now is the time to challenge yourself. Do something that scares you, step outside your comfort zone, have the courage to step into your authentic self. You deserve it.
Here are some additional resources to help you along the way too:
- Phosphorescence (Audible) - On Awe, Wonder and Things That Sustain You When the World Goes Dark. Written and performed by Julia Baird, this had me hooked from the beginning.
- Brené Brown - Day 2! (Podcast) - It sounds easy enough, but Day 2 is no joke. It’s the messy middle - the point of no return. Join Brené as she talks about navigating what's next and why it's always best to stumble through the darkness together.
- Christchurch Qigong class - weekly Qigong classes outside in nature, drop in and beginners are welcome
- Quick grounding visualisation - this quick grounding technique was taught to me by Sara Russell of Be the Radical Way. If there's a situation, or someone sending you an energy you don't want to take on (like an angry kid, or a frustrated co-worker), take a moment to visualise yourself as a cloud. Your cloud has a colour. Now imagine the situation or person as a cloud with its own colour (a different colour to your cloud). Visualise the other person/situation's cloud moving towards you, then into your cloud, see the colours mingling, then the other person/situation's cloud passes through your cloud and out the other side. Your cloud is still intact, pure, still the colour you chose. This simple technique has been really helpful for me, especially when my kids vomit their emotions on to me. It helps me relax, avoid being defensive and stay open, but strong in the knowledge the emotions are passing through, not finding a new home.