Today I have felt sad all day. I went on my early morning walk but didn’t do yoga before breakfast as usual which isn’t good.
I felt sad because when I went on line into 365 Teams, they were empty, like caverns with just my text echoing off the virtual class room walls. I miss the tiny, multitudinous interactions of work: smiles, doors held open, nods, talking, laughing, hugs. Miss feeling part of a team. I miss the non-verbal communication which speaks so much more eloquently than typed words can ever achieve.
I did my banking; writing down all I had spent and noticing that since March 14th I have hardly spent anything and then only on food. As I looked through my receipts for coffee shops, bookshops and the wholefood shop, I felt sad at the absence of these simple, taken for granted pleasures and wonder if they will be there when we come out of hibernation.
My bank account is missing the payment for the drums lessons, the petrol to the football pitch, the yoga classes, the riding lessons. Again, things we have all done and enjoyed and now which are gone, overnight.
I have also heard of several friends who have the virus now. I wait anxiously for their texts each day to tell me they are OK and today, one text didn’t come, and I am fearful and sad for that.
I had my first email this week, informing me of a family death from the virus, the first in my circles and my heart felt heavy for their loss and heavy with dread of what might come.
My children don’t read my blog, it’s too embarrassing of course, which is just as well because today I got out my will and made lists of phone numbers, bank accounts and websites should my plans to live until they are grandparents, not work out quite so well.
For me sadness sits above my heart, I feel it viscerally, like a weight, a heavy pressure around my mid chest. There was a time when I would have re-framed it, looked on the bright side, thought of the positives, run, run, run away from a feeling that is hard to feel.
But I have learned that sadness is a natural feeling when faced with loss of what we value and love. I love my work, the friends, the people I work with. I love the drive to work with podcasts playing. I love being able to shop for fresh salad and fruit as much as the basket will hold. I love my lunchtime walks to buy cacao nibs and to pick up an ordered book from our lovely independent book shop. I love the time with each child as I drive them to do their thing and I love the horses and horse-riding.
And I guess this is how this time will be, such a sea of emotions. In a recent blog I wrote of the freedom I felt and the space it feels like I have. In another blog I wrote optimistically about how all this could change education for the better. And now today I write this.
And as this process goes on, our emotions are bound to be heightened and more changeable and all I know is that we have to learn to surf for we cannot stop the waves. We need to allow all emotions to be welcome in our experience and not try to shut some out. For when we try to exclude some emotions, the ones we do not want to feel, they either get louder or the seep inwards, taking all of other emotions, even the ones we liked, with them.
When anger comes we don’t need to shout and blame, just name the emotion, feel it in our body and let it be until it moves on. When sadness comes we can cry and ask for hugs and surf the wave, feel it in our body, let it be until it moves on. When fear comes, and it has, we can use it as a guide to keep us safe, we can allow it to help us to reach out and ask for help and we can feel it in our body and let it be until it moves on. And there have been moments of hilarity, great love, appreciation and fun and these too are waves which we can experience in our body and allow to lift us up on their waves, knowing that these too will move on.
For the sea is choppy, the waves are growing and the horizon is not clear so all we can do is help each other surf, pulling each other up when we go under, listening, staying in touch and celebrating when we ride an exhilarating wave.
For we are all not just the surfers, but the waves and sea ourselves, if the virus is showing us anything, it is how we are all part of the whole.
And it is through connection that we can live more deeply each day; connection to each other, to nature, to our self and to the present moment. For that is the only way.
(If you know anyone who might benefit from the course I made with Psychologies Magazine on emotions, please share this blog with them – they can sign up for free below.)