Like the rest of the world, I’ve learned alot in the last 14 months. I know people are tired of talking about Covid but the fact is, that this period has started some things that will come in the way of going back to ‘normal’ – whatever that means.
I don’t think it means necessarily that everyone is thinking differently, that we are all ready to save the planet and that a big epiphany has taken place on a world-wide scale. (Although, that would be nice). On that last count, there has been a big awakening though and it’s not just me saying it, there are signs, if you are willing to listen and to look around you. You hear more people talking openly about things that were perhaps thought as weird and “out there”, such as the benefits of meditating, being spiritual, believing in alternative states of being, that we are all connected through energies and how to find your inner light. And it’s not just on obscure websites hiding on the dark web or deep in a dark forest, people like Russel Brand share videos on spiritual journeys to millions of people, you get shamanic participants in reality TV on primetime and corporations are advocating for more self-help and mental wellbeing through meditation programs to their employees. Or it even comes in the form of the latest pixar animation ‘Soul’.
(here is a great analysis about the mysticism in Soul, the movie) ’.
So what is happening? Has the world gone mad? Let me put it in another way: Hasn’t the world been completely crazy for decades? Haven’t we’ve been caught in a spiral of events that has not been beneficial to a large sum of people? or other beings on the planet for that matter? And isn’t it just natural that we want to look at what is happening and try to create a more just world? Sure, call it ‘alternative’ – but something that encourages you to look within, sit silently, to connect with nature and other beings, to find ways that encourage us to show each other compassion and more understanding, to not overuse the earth’s resources, to wonder if the societal systems we live in are beneficial to us and what effect we are having on everything around us shouldn’t be ‘The Alternative’.
“The Alternative” should be seeking power at any cost, it should be systems that reward greed and induvidualism that have created a pandemic of loneliness, anger and bad behaviour (racism, sexism, exclusion and inequalities). It should be a culture of disrespect, of focusing on wealth and fame as parameters of success, to always help yourself before you help others. The alternative should be constructing artificial identities to find meaning, educating kids to not think for themselves, only to get jobs that pin you down and don’t have real value and societies of zombies that scroll down in search of connection, only to loose themselves in a pond of desperation and alternative worlds that don’t exist.
Alternative methods to find back to the self
After a year of doubt, I feel… more doubt and some clarity. In those 14 months, I have tried a list of (what we currently call) alternative methods. I am curious by nature but this expedition was more fuelled by the need to find ways to deal with my increased anxiety and to explore what I was missing out on, while stuck in the corporate machine, paying bills and taxes and trying to make sense of a world that suddenly looked very different, but perhaps didnt feel like I had belonged to anyway for a long time. I think that deep down, I always knew that I wanted to have more to do with spirits, nature, magic and joy. I’ve always been drawn to those elements, even more when I was a child but somehow (and like so many) lost touch with them and myself as I grew older.
In the last ten years, I’ve gone through transformations: moved countries, married, got kids, bought a house, a cat, a car, changed workplaces and worked and worked and worked. Often in jobs that I got lost in, always trying to find meaning and pouring my energy in, only to come out on the other side, completely depleted and exhausted, without knowing why or what to do about it. And somehow, I feel I’ve changed more in the last year than I did in ten. Perhaps it was only possible now because of where I am, in my corporate job, and during the pandemic. It most certainly could only happen with a break from an environment that wasnt doing me good, with imposed pauses and because the world was forcing me to ask incomfortable questions to myself:
Not easy questions to answer and I had to try different ways of attacking this head on and Im still exploring. On joy and magical moments, I have to say, I have alot of those in the privacy of my family life, with the kids or with people I love and they can be so simple, walking in a beautiful place, swimming in the sea, having apero with those I haven’t seen for a long time. Is it greedy to want more of those?
I’m lucky in that way, that I feel strongly and I sense things intensively, perhaps that I couldn’t really put into words before. Also in that I had a guide in my lovely friend Aude, who has already gone part of this journey in recent years and has been so gracious to share with me alot of what she experiences and some of the people she relies on. One of these people is energy intuitive Lee Harris (who has been a guiding light in the last year with his monthly energy readings). She also shares insights on current energy movements who help me make sense of the world (and myself). And the way the energy moves in the universe is always connected to how I feel, and so it has become too strong to ignore or to brush off as a coincidence.
So what have I done? I’ve mostly made conscious decisions. Being aware of what makes me feel good vs. what makes me feel bad. Maximising the one, while minimizing the other. The bad is easy: watching the news, working alone on a computer 8-10 hours a day, not going outside for a few days in a row. But the good part is a bit more tricky. And I am still finding out what that is. Here are some of the things I’ve explored so far:
Exploring what makes me feel good
- Finding back to owning my time.
I have been way to genereous with my time and given alot of it away too easily. This is particularly true in work. If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you also know what I think of the 40 hour workweek and that I’ve also experienced burnout earlier in life. I realized that I need to take back my time, and use it on things that nourish me. At least some of it. And sometimes, this ‘act of rebellion’ (because yes, I’ve done it in my work hours) and just the thought that I would “do something for me” later gave me great joy. For me, it’s been different things (longer down the list) and these were especially important while dealing with the uncertainty of the first lockdowns.
- Meditating, even when I don’t want to.
And I can very seldomly do it in silence. I used to before. Now I’ve tried 40 day mantras (saying/singing the same words for 11 minutes everyday) for 40 days) I’ve included the kids in a few of them. I try some that have meaning for me (RAMADASA on healing, Adi shakti on female energy) and I love doing them,alone or with company. But sometimes a few days go by without and then anxiety returns with its annoying friend selfdoubt.
- Yoga (by myself)
Not even sure I’m doing it right. I use an app – and sometimes I do it in the garden. It’s only 20 minutes – sometimes 10 but it grounds me and the days I do it make me feel like I at least accomplished 1 thing that day, if nothing else.
I used to write publicly. Share thoughts ( & frustrations) on social media. I do it less now and I’m very aware of what I share. Not in the sense that I want to keep it secret, but in thinking of how it will be received. Does it have a purpose? Can I share some light or give people positive vibes? If not, why would I share it? It has required some discipline but it also makes me feel better. When it works. Then I have a notebook where currently Im writing a 30 day challenge (1 topic per day) So far, it’s going ‘super’ well (*insert sarcasm*): I started on January 1st and 4 months later I’m up to #20 pages. But there’s no need to hurry, I’ll do it at my own pace.
- Following the Earth’s energies. This one might not make sense to you. It might need explanation. I believe there are energies at play, around us, all the time. They are good and bad, but mostly we are huge containers of energy and are affected by others around us, by the moon, by the sun (and solar flares), by magnetic fields, by energic fields all around the universe. And those energies have been becoming stronger, but mostly, more people have been starting to sense them, and they often explain how I am feeling. And listening to energy updates gives me a more full picture of why I’ve felt a certain way or what to expect. In general, I believe in the force of the universe, that some inexplicable force shares insights with me (all of us) and all I have to do is listen and be more attentive. And trust in the process.
- Testing different alternative methods: Full moon ceremonies, Angel readings, group meditations, Listening to channeling, looking into herbalism, shamanism and naturalism. I know, angels? But you do not have to take it in a literal sense. A few years back, a colleague of mine gave me Angel cards that I often turn to when the doubt takes over. They guide me to focus on qualities that are beneficial to me – and were a sort of inition to this world. I have this feeling I want to do more, I just don’t know where to start. Some of those online sessions have been fine but I’m wondering if it would be better in person – then again- perhaps I would try less if it required more.
- Reading books
like The Universe got your back, The Eagle & The Condor, Wake up the Shaman that is within you, Women who run with Wolves, and stories of love & magic (whether in books, films or tv-series) make me tick. I’ve learned a great deal through those readings even though some of these things feel like such common sense: We’re made to be in touch with nature, often that is connected to the female in us (both in men & women) that has been repressed, we can ask for signs from the Universe, and they often come in synchronicities (ever wondered when you hear of something and then in happens 2-3 times in the course of the same day or as Carl Jung called it ‘meaningful, magical coincidences’ – AH Carl Jung keeps coming up around me, wonder what that means ? 😉) or even that sometimes you experience unexplicable connection to people- perhaps you have shared history in previous lives together, or there is energy drawing you towards each other, some even believe in twin souls. There is just so much to learn in this space.
- Creating a ‘sacred room’
I have one on instagram. I’ve actually found a great deal of relief in having an account only to follow these new interests of mine – spiritual guidance, how I can be more in touch with nature and then some light jokes (with cats please) – I skim it – and often it feels like it has messages from the universe only for me. I follow alternative accounts, healers, ‘witches’ and spiritual junkies. I go to it on the days where I feel heavy, looking for inspiration and often finding others feeling the same. It’s not like other social media accounts, I don’t feel I have to perform or share and I don’t follow those I know. It is a space only for me, with good intentions (but I also have a limit on instagram installed on my phone, so I dont use too much time on it)
- Pushing career thoughts away.
Everytime I’ve tried to think about my next steps professionally, I get filled up with dread and it makes me feel bad. I do my job (Im not bad at it either) but I cant see whats next. Sometimes I think I will take up studies and do a masters (in gender studies), the next day I apply for a new position within the company 2000 miles away, and the day after that I contemplate whether we should sell what we have in the city and move to the countryside where ‘we can find ourselves’ (Mind you, the hubby reminds me, he is not the one that is lost), until I wake up on day 4 and accept what may come and stay put. That time hasnt come. Yet. For a long time I thought work is the problem. And like Oprah’s coach Martha Beck says “If you want the job that will make you happy, get out of the job that is making you miserable.” But somehow my job has also allowed me to have time to figure out alot of things, for us to have vacations and a beautiful place to live. I just need to figure out how to have more of those simple happy moments incorporated and not let the job take over. And some days, I succeed. Others, I dont. Problems at work don’t seem so major anymore. Not in the context of things.
Maybe it’s simpler than that. Perhaps it’s about those simplest moments, cherishing them and remembering to be grateful. By practicing that, perhaps I can be better at applying that also to the “bad moments”. If I could let go of trying to want to control everything and go with the flow – accepting it for what it is – but that is easier said than done, and demands exercise. That is why I do all the other things – to practice the flow.
To sum this up- I’ve had some clarity but still experience doubt. I hope to learn more and although this period has been challenging, Im glad for the changes it’s brought around. And I’m pretty sure there is more to come. I also know that going back to how things were – is not going to be that easy for anyone.