The first ‘lockdown’ was actually a super-positive experience for me personally and gave me the opportunity to have a bit of a mindset reset when I really needed it. If you’re feeling a bit pants, lonely, anxious, want to get refocussed on where you want to go or build enthusiasm and momentum, now might be a good time, and there’s a few things I’ll share here that really worked for me.
C-19 cases are rising and restrictions are constricting again on both sides of the channel. We’re lucky not to be in a hotspot here in France and have avoided curfews this time around. To be fair, not being allowed out after 9pm wouldn’t make a great deal of difference to us anyway. 😂
Some of the media continue to wield the term ‘lockdown’ for any and every variation to the restrictions. Whilst the ‘lockdown’ requirements were fairly tight here in France the first time around, I recently heard that during the first wave in China, authorities were welding some people into their homes 😮… Welding!.. Now that’s a lockdown! 😬
A lot of people are writing off 2020 but from a personal perspective 2019 sucked a whole lot more and 2020 has been like a breath of fresh air in comparison.
To give you a quick roundup… A venture I’d invested a lot of time, effort and money into and which had real purpose for me gradually spluttered to a resounding and disappointing halt. I’d fallen off the wagon of looking after my own mindset in my pursuit to try and just push through and ‘make it happen’.
I was disheartened, less present and short-tempered. It was taking it’s toll all over the place and I’m certain that my elevated stress and anxiety levels contributed to me crashing my board and bike last year like it was going out of fashion. I might as well have had a loyalty card at the medical centre and even managed to land myself in the operating theatre in Thonon with one of them. 🙄 I might expand on that in the future because I can actually see the funny side to a lot of it now.
Anyway, ‘lockdown’ gave me some space to see that a lot of what wasn’t working, wasn’t working because I’d neglected the inner me. If nothing else, the stress and anxiety would definitely be negatively affecting my health and were unquestionably affecting my focus and making me feel generally a bit poo, so I needed to get back to basics. Three simple basics in-fact: Meditation – Gratitude – Visualisation.
Meditation – To clear my mind, give my mind and body a break from negative thoughts, emotions and body chemistry. To fade-out and phase-out some negative thought patterns.
Gratitude – To put things in perspective, make me appreciate how lucky I was/am, how much I’d got to be grateful for and to switch the focus from what wasn’t working out to what was.
Visualisation – To start solidifying the mental picture of where I did want to go, how I would like things to be, without limits. To begin mentally rehearsing the outcomes I’d prefer.
Now, obviously this isn’t new stuff and I know there’s a lot of people out there that do these kinds of things anyway but if you don’t already and it sounds like it might feel good, give it a go.
Currently, I try to ‘dip in’ first thing in the morning, last thing at night and a few times during the day, even if it’s just shutting my eyes for a few minutes while I’m sat at the computer. It definitely makes a difference but keeping it up when things get busy (or you’re in the middle of all consuming projects) can be a challenge.
I like to lie down flat on my back on my bed. Sitting up straight in a comfortable chair works too if you want to avoid nodding off. I snore when I sleep on my back which is really helpful because if I do nod off, I immediately wake myself up again. 😴😂
Some people repeatedly return their attention to their breathing and away from any thoughts that keep arising. Others repeat a word like ‘one’ to do the same.
Whatever you do, just continue to allow your body and your mind to relax and let any thoughts that come, slip away. If you’re new to it, or out of practice, it can be a bit busy in there but just persevere and as the days pass the mental activity will settle.
I prefer to just lie there and relax and focus on blackness. If thoughts come, I picture them glancing off my attention and flying wistfully off into the distance.
What you’re really after is a point where, you are no longer thinking about anything. A place where the thought activity has settled completely like waves subsiding to leave behind a calm, clear millpond of consciousness. You’re allowing a state to arise where you are no longer aware of input from your physical senses. A place where all that is left is the awareness that lies beneath.
Feels pretty sweet brah!
After I’ve let things settle for a while, I’ll start running through things I’ve got to be grateful for.
You can start wherever. It may be easy if you’ve got a lot of great stuff going on but if you’re struggling to see anything to appreciate, just start with something simple…
At the very least, you could be grateful for not being welded into your apartment. 😂
Or… Is that bed comfy? Is that pillow comfy? Duvet? Cheers bed, thanks pillow…
Then think about all the people and processes that went into the concept, design, manufacture, sale and delivery of that bed and that bedding so that you can be enjoying it’s delicious comfort right now. There’s loads of ’em and they all deserve a little bit of thanks for the comfort and happiness that that bed brings you.
As the momentum grows, the negative things that normally grab our attention don’t seem to matter as much. Once you get on a roll it’s amazing how much stuff and how many people and things we have to be thankful for.
We all use this all the time, to varying degrees, but it’s consciously used by all sorts of people and professions to mentally rehearse situations and prepare in advance. If you’re a bike, board or ski fan like us, you regularly see riders at the top of their run with their eyes closed and moving as though they’re riding it before they even drop in.
After I’ve had a little meditate and whipped up some gratitude, I’ll slip right in to a picture of how I would like things to turn out.
Again, this one takes a bit of practice and then perseverance but once you get good at it, the experiences can be SO real.
I don’t know whether it’s true but ‘they say’ the great Nicolai Tesla used to create and invent by visualising like this. He would even run tests and fix problems in this malleable virtual realm before building anything physical.
At first you might find yourself restricted by the limitations of ‘real life’ but once you get going, you can really let fly, let the limitations slide and add as much detail as you can to the picture in your mind of how you want your life to be. Where you want to live, what your house is like, your relationships, skills, experiences, career, how you present yourself, the lot.
Lots of philosophies and theories suggest that holding and appreciating this picture will draw it to you and help you move towards it. If nothing else and as long as you’ve left the any feelings of lack and separation behind, building and inhabiting that ideal picture in your mind feels terrific. That feel good bleeds over into the real world when you slide back out. It can feel like you just got back from a really refreshing holiday.
We know that techniques like this reduce stress and have a range of physical and mental health benefits. At the very least, these things can make you feel good and they’re actually available all the time. The big challenge is keeping up with them when things are going well and you feel like you don’t need them. It’s easy to forget the benefits when you’re busy and on a roll.
Restrictions are tightening and lockdown clouds are looming but never mind the silver lining, it could be a golden opportunity to have a good mindset tune-up to feel good now and pave the way for an even better future. ☀️