When Lockdown was first announced, the process that followed holistically was quite a journey. The disbelief, the shock, the anger, the disappointment, feeling out of control, and wanting to blame the Government, the Elite, China, America. You name it, we wanted to blame it.
Then came the bargaining techniques. The creativeness of people that emerged was inspirational. The rebels challenged, folk explored ways out, some remembered the choice is in attitude. Questioning life, God, Self.
A real part of the journey was/is depression. The separation, loneliness and aloneness, no work, or shops to distract you, nowhere to hide, facing and feeling. Exploring all the feelings within, feelings of fear, sadness, loss, anger, bitterness, yet also feelings of peace, rest, opportunity, relief, overwhelmed. Feeling controlled, feeling helpless, wanting to give up, feeling useless, feeling a failure and stuck, to mention but a few.
Yet, when we go beyond the annoyance and losses of “lockdown” and we allow ourselves to contemplate the lessons of lockdown. It is amazing what is to be discovered.
This picture inspired me during lockdown:
It reminded me of the potentials available in trying times – if we choose to see them. It is true, life is a school and we get tested, not as punishment, but rather to assess if we got the lesson. For some of us conveniently stay in denial or anger and never get the lesson and thus we must repeat the test over and over again – resulting is us feeling very sorry for ourselves.
How can we find the lesson or gift in adversity? It is said: “You either get better or you stay bitter.”
The choice is yours.
Social media is loaded with insights of people sharing their lessons learned during the lockdown, as I am sure you have and can list a few yourself. It has been very inspiring indeed. This has pushed me into asking what lessons I have learned and what helped me.
When I teach Communication, Counselling & Life Skills, one of my most favorite skills to teach is the Skill of Questioning. For the moment we ask a question, it opens the possibilities available and we can see things we normally would not have. I like to use the analogy that questioning can be likened to a flashlight.
Imagine for a moment that you are on an adventure walk in a forest and you come across a cave. At first, you will observe the surrounding objects, become still, and then you will listen. Can you hear any sounds coming from within the cave? Then you will reflect on your findings. You will take a few steps within and your will start to feel the cave and acknowledge what you felt.
Oh, it’s beautiful and peaceful or it’s scary, dark, and dangerous.
I bet you will not go any further into the cave unless you have a flashlight.
What does a flashlight(Questioning) provide you? The ability to explore, to ask, and see. What is there in that corner, how deep is this cave, what sounds can I hear, how does it make me feel? The flashlight can guide you as to what direction you could move, creating awareness of your surroundings and choices. The process of communication – observe, listen, reflect. Acknowledge the feeling and then question it. Exploring and creating awareness of the possibilities is followed.
So perhaps we should ask: How can questioning help us to grow through adversity?
After we have experienced the natural process of loss, which is normal, the initial shock and disbelief, anger and depression, there comes a time for us to become still and to use questioning skillfully.
Not closed questions where we can only answer yes or no, but rather ask open-ended questions which help us explore and stretch the limited perceptions and attitudes of our mind.
The little seed that found itself inside this rusted lock may have been shocked, isolated, lost, angry, and alone yet the moment it explored by asking:
“How else could I grow from this? What else is possible? What other potentials are there? How else could I be experiencing this?” The seed had the opportunity to find its strength and move towards the possibilities.
Those questions immediately invite exploration and allow us to dream of new possibilities.
Thus, after the initial process of lockdown, we could stop and start asking ourselves some questions. The aim is not to find the answers immediately yet rather just to allow us to contemplate and become aware of the potentials and possibilities available.
We can ask: “What can I learn from this experience?”
“How else could I be perceiving what is happening to me?”
“What else is possible?”
“In what areas can I grow?”
“What choices do I have?”
“How could I grow from this? Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, Spiritually?”
Can you get a sense of how questioning opens a new way? Let us ask ourselves: “What stops us from growing in Adversity?”
Once we have done this and allowed the truth to reveal itself, we can tap in and find that resilience within us to experience and grow despite the circumstances. We can move out of a limiting belief and access our Spiritual Sense too.
Shifting our past mindset is the most difficult task as we must give up comfort zones, habits, past attitudes, and defense mechanisms.
Yet, little seed, that could have felt stuck, trapped, and bitter, allowed itself to find a way to grow out of the lock and to still be.
Conquering limited thinking is the first step to Growth.
Questioning is a strategy to move beyond adversity and to find the gift or lesson in the event. I challenge you to ask yourself the following questions, with Love and not aggression or judgment, and see how it may support your growth.
How do we own the Lessons of Life?
What stops us from owning it?
What stops us from growing?
This strategy calls for deeper introspection and awareness within our being. We come across some attitudes and perceptions shaped by past events. We notice attachments to certain emotions and a refusal to let go. Fear of the unknown, we have to be honest with ourselves and humble enough to witness how our stubbornness, our pride, our addiction to anger and blame. Our choice to be a victim can trap and enslave us and keep us stuck for a long time and thus stopping growth.
Within any adversity, there is always the potential to grow. Do not be fooled or be put off by the fear which accompanies adversity. Adversity needs the feat to take us to a higher step! Going beyond our fear and stepping into adversity is what defines greatness.
Think of a war hero that is severe adversity and lots of fear with it, yet they go beyond their fear and find the power to move beyond into their greatness. We gain so much Awareness of ourselves… which is a gift or The Gift.
Perhaps it is why Meditation is such an important Discipline to practice…. As it is – An Internal Lockdown – Becoming Still in Body, Mind, and Emotion yet awake in Spirit… a Lockdown we need to engage in to connect to our Spirit’s Guidance and Greatness
When a teacher tells us: “Tomorrow you will be writing a test” – that is not punishment yet rather a way for the teacher to measure if we got the Lesson! Lessons are opportunities to grow, to let go of past feelings and experiences, and to move into the unknown possibilities of a future with Wisdom from our past.
What has Lockdown gifted you?
What awareness of yourself have you gained because of Lockdown?
How many of the Lessons have you been avoiding because of being stuck in denial, anger, or stubbornness?
There is Growth in lockdown – Have you found yours?