Honor the Pause

img_20200630_195429882Each one of us has had their own experience with the last five months.  On this beautiful summer morning, I am ‘honoring the pause’ to reflect what’s taken place in my little world and giving space for what may occur over the fall and winter.

It was February when I began watching with regularity YouTube videos out of China on what they were experiencing in Wuhan.  Our national news or officials were not reporting about this.

In a panic, I met with a colleague of mine just to touch base and ask was I being paranoid about being concerned.

We met at a quintessential Seattle coffee shop, C&P in West Seattle.  It’s still one of my favorite spots to go to.  The independently owned shop is located in a converted house that has couches and dining room tables spread throughout.  Every week there would be live music, or poetry, or open mic.  It was one of the last places emerging artists could come.

I can easily put myself back there, on the couch, next to my colleague, asking about what she knew about the virus. I remember the casual atmosphere of the coffee shop and the ease with which people moved about.  That moment in time seems flash frozen, as does the world in which we had met.

I remember sharing my feelings of being quite anxious and having the thought, “All this will change”.

Our meeting was reassuring not in that I had nothing to worry about, but that someone with whom I have great respect confirmed what I had been concerned about.  My response was to enjoy the time remaining before the inevitable came to pass.

Until the order to stay at home came in March, my partner Richard and I went to museums, parks, movie theaters, shopping malls, places we knew would be closing in just a matter of time.  It was a bittersweet diversion.  I cried a lot of the time, watching people unaware of what was to come.

I cried off and on each week until about July.  As a psychotherapist, holding space for my clients, going through similar emotional experiences, I reached a low point I have never experienced before.  I contemplated a complete career change at one point.  To help me through those dark weeds I started my own therapy at the lowest of lows.    That began to help me see a way through.  I also brought more of my existing supports into my world.

From the beginning, I offered virtual Reiki circles, at first daily, now several times a week.  My Reiki community was and is such an incredible gift to myself and the planet.

I also reached out to my cousins, aunts and uncles more than I ever had in prior years.  I still maintain regular contact with my family spread out all across the US.

My love of art took awhile to return.  I dabbled back in to the clay art I had once had such a passion for.  I’ve been painting all the exterior surfaces of my house on my time off.

I ‘mastered’ leading Zoom groups and sessions and now when I do see the occasional masked client in person THAT feels strange.  Such an odd shift.

As the summer came on more socially distanced  nature walks, talks, energy meditations and eating outside has occurred.  All have helped my mood, my vision, my relationships with others.

But now, as the blackberries become overripe, I start to think about how to maintain all this support, activity and focus going into the more internal parts of the year.  When the colder and wetter weather has us retreat within.

I hope more organized testing takes place so that it becomes as ‘normal’ as temperature checks.  There is an organization, Testing for America, which is comprised of scientists and business people to permanently and safely reopen schools, businesses and the US economy by providing affordable, accessible and frequent testing and screening.  It’s definitely a start.

Just as embarking on this journey back in March was a complete unknown, the future ahead is uncharted.

If I have learned anything that has helped me navigate this far, I’d have to say what has helped me are:

  1. Practicing Mindfulness through Reiki and meditation.
  2. Watching something comedic as often as possible
  3. Making space for and reaching out to friends, family and community several times each week
  4. Engaging in some creative/artistic pursuit several times a week
  5. Exercising in some fashion every day
  6. Taking Naps
  7. Eating a little chocolate every day
  8. Getting a pedicure (with a mask and face shield on), shutting off the phone and zoning out in the massage chair
  9. Look at something else besides the news when I first wake up
  10. Practice the safety protocols as recommended

What will you be doing as the weather turns colder?

Copyright 2020 Eileen Dey Wurst

Visioning exercise for your ideal future

The following guided visualization is a tool for giving attention to your own vision for an ideal future.  Read it over to get a sense of the imaginary adventure.  Decide how far into the future you would like to vision.  (It is a good idea to fit this to where you are on the circle of change-some people will do best to look a month, six months or a year ahead; others are ready to dream five years or more.)  Find a quiet place to begin and set aside about 20 minutes.

Relax:  Begin by taking a couple deep breaths, relaxing and getting quiet.  Focus your attention on the “screen of your mind”-where the imagination comes to life.

The Setting:  With your imagination, create an outdoor setting; place yourself in the middle of it-feel the sun on your skin, touch the grass and see how the sun lights it up.  Smell the air and feel the warm breeze.  There is a path nearby that leads off toward the horizon.

Walk into Life:  Step onto the path and begin to walk.  While you cannot be sure what is ahead, you walk forward into life with an openness to meet the challenges and a willingness to give something of yourself to the journey.

Living Water:  Around a bend the trail dips down a slight hill to an arching bridge that crosses a stream.  When you reach the bridge stop for a moment at the apex and listen to the sounds of the water below.  As you listen you find that something deep in you relaxes and you have the sensation of an “inner river” flowing through you.  Along with this feeling you have a sense of this flow as a limitless resource of life flowing through you and supporting you in this journey

Obstacle:  Continuing on the path you come across an obstacle blocking your way.  With some effort and creativity you find the way to master this obstacle and continue forward on your path.

Mountain Cave:  The path begins to wind up a mountain and takes more effort to walk.  In time you come to the mouth of a tunnel that goes into the hill.  (At this point you may find a wise guardian who offers to guide you through the next part of your journey).

Into the Future:  Before you’ve walked far into the tunnel you see a faint point of light ahead.  The light grows very bright as you get closer to what you see is the end of the tunnel.  Once you step out of the tunnel and your eyes adjust to this new world you find that you are in your own ideal future.  It is morning and the day is about to begin; you are surprised to find that everything is in place just perfectly-even better than you had dreamed.  Take your time and walk through the details of the day.  What is different in your life, how do you feel, what are the qualities of your work, relationship and other areas of life?  Linger on the parts that are especially welcome to find. (Be silent for several minutes)

Return:  When you are ready take a final look around at this world, then step back into the mouth of the tunnel and trace your path back through the mountain, across the bridge and back to the beginning point.  Close your ‘inner eyes’ and move your awareness back into the room where you began this exercise.

Jot some notes or write out the story of what you created and found on your journey.  If you had trouble imagining a future try it again later or just write out a story of what you might find if you were to walk through an ideal future day.  Remember this is not a prophecy or practical plan-it is the future your heart has room to imagine.

Copyright 1992 Centerpoint Institute for Life and Career Renewal, Seattle, WA.  All rights reserved.

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