Transformative Change Requires Resisting a New Normal

“For years, normality has been stretched nearly to its breaking point, a rope pulled tighter and tighter, waiting for a nip of the black swan’s beak to snap it in two. Now that the rope has snapped, do we tie its ends back together, or shall we undo its dangling braids still further, to see what we might weave from them?” Charles Eisenstein

Empty Streets

Photo by Nick Tsinonis on Unsplash

When the “lockdown” in the UK was enforced it felt like there was a collective full stop…choice removed…life changed.  It was time to think about what was happening. Time to feel, process, reflect on the uncertainty. About a nanosecond later the internet was full of how to do this or that from home. How to get busy again…pressure to be “doing” as usual or if not entirely as usual then as good an approximation of usual as possible…or actually better than usual because heaven forbid we should not be super productive during this time and we have the internet full of courses, classes and motivational blogs to “help/guilt/bully” us….or      “productivity porn” as it has been dubbed! We try to chase the now obvious fact of our own mortality and the change demons away with busyness and a “new normal”. But are we missing something?

“Change may scare the shit out of you. Good. It’s supposed to.”   Jeff Foster

With an event of this magnitude surely we can, as a collective, begin to question any habits that we hang on to with the illusion of what a “normal” life is? Even if that life is physically different than it was. The enforced halting of our unconscious behaviours in some areas and the opportunity to look at things from a distance could be seen as the biggest gift to people alive at this time.
Could we stop?  Wait. Feel. Look. Listen. And then and only then make choices about how we want our lives to look.

Now more than ever we can use the innate wisdom of our bodies. Now more than ever our bodies can be our ally in navigating the coming days and weeks in ways that are supportive of our uniqueness and carve our own path through the onslaught of “shoulds”   and the tyranny of choices coming our way. Now more than ever we can use the authentic senses within our bodies to nurture any parts of ourselves that are feeling more like hiding under the duvet than living the “perfect” online existence!

“Our bodies know exactly what to do at a time like this.”   Gregg Baden

Body Harmony has always been a haven for me. A modality that creates a safe, accepting space for me to be myself. Now more than ever I am grateful for that. It’s challenging at times when the lure of the seductive “shoulds” shout judgements and “to do” lists (added to my own inner “productivity” voices). If I can then remember to listen to the whispers from my cells then an easier peace descends.

I think of an intention for this time. (To be honest it’s the first time I’ve thought about this in the whirl of lockdown information overload.) Is it to get swept along with whatever comes my way, to feel I “should” be doing, learning, feeling fine/ enlightened (!) etc etc? Or is it to listen to myself, to be with whatever arises from within me? (Possibly also including being busy at times, learning new things etc…..I’m not rejecting the wonderful opportunities around.)

I know what feels better day to day from my body’s response. Jenny Odell – author of How to do Nothing wrote,   “… an infolding of attention, of maintenance and care for ourselves and our immediate surroundings, of shrinking our experienced world in order to feel more a part of it, can make us more human. ” An interesting perspective when applied to these days…

Photo by Nick Fewings

We are also facing collective grief and trauma and in order to move forward in a more conscious way we need to take the time and space to process this.

“What we need is more self-compassion, more gentle acceptance of all the difficult emotions coming up for us now, more focus on gentle ways to soothe ourselves and our pain and the pain of loved ones around us” Alaa Hijazi  Trauma Therapist

Body Harmony helps me locate this compassion and acceptance within me as well as myriad other useful bits of information as to how to go forward. If we don’t take the time to allow our responses full expression, we might be approaching our future from a place of unresolved and potentially limiting emotions. And this might lead to an attempt to revert to “back to normal” to invoke feelings of safety. And “normal” wasn’t necessarily that great.

We are facing an unknown future. Unknown can be a very uncomfortable place. It can also be the source of as yet unforeseen possibilities.
“Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.” Viktor E. Frankl

Sometimes during a Body Harmony session I can find myself feeling that I don’t know where it’s going or what is happening. And if I can let myself hang out in the unknown for as long as it takes then very often it will deepen and move in a totally unexpected direction. I guess our future life could be like that. We could hang out in the unknown rather than trying to know, plan and predict and then deeper possibilities might arise. Who knows….it might also take the pressure off the present…. we have enough to deal with right now.

We can also spend some time asking ourselves which parts if our enforced current existence are actually enjoyable? Which parts work better?
“Identifying and endeavouring to adopt the elements of our enforced new existence that feel better than our old habits (which may die hard, but perish they must) is a productive focus.”  Mariella Frostrup

I personally am enjoying the appreciation being shown to our essential workers here in the UK. The sense of community that is arising in neighbourhoods. The fact that people are growing food and by default engaging more with nature. I like that fact that shopping is no longer a hobby but a necessity. The fact that natural spaces have become more valued. The fact that people find humour in adversity and spend more time “playing”. The fact that people are connecting with old friends and making new friends through internet groups.

There is much to like. I wish the best possible lockdown experience for you. I wish you the space and time to explore your inner world and find your own peace. I wish you new experiences and new possibilities.

With much love,

Fiona Withers

Body Harmony Teacher and Practitioner

Note: this has been a slippery and tricky blog to get a grasp on…much like this current situation – complex and interesting with many diversions!  Many thanks to Susy Joy for ongoing discussion and sending me multiple articles/ posts and thoughts.