Like many other countries, the UK is now in a period of enforced lockdown. Though I think we all knew it was coming, and it feels like absolutely the right thing, it still feels very, very strange.
When I last wrote to you, I said that I was going to prepare something especially for those of you who, like me, are highly sensitive and are feeling everything that’s happening right now in the very particular way that highly sensitive people do.
As it happens, on Saturday, at the end of a particularly emotional day, I received an email from the editor at Highly Sensitive Refuge asking if I had a poem I could contribute to support the highly sensitive community during this time. All week, they’ll be running articles from highly sensitive voices to support one another through everything we might be feeling and experiencing. You can read the two poems they published (one previously published on my own website and one new) here.
For myself, what I’ve found most challenging is the noise and stream of information from the news on the radio and television and I find myself in a lockdown situation where there isn’t much I can do about that. It is a huge demand on my nervous system and if you’re highly sensitive you’ll understand why.
At the same time, I have found that my gratitude has skyrocketed.
Times like these bring the fragility of our existence into sharper focus and death to the forefront of our minds. When I contemplate death and the way we can lose everything so quickly, I find myself overwhelmed with gratitude for absolutely everything.
Writing here at my computer, I see a line of books from teachers who have helped me find my way. Byron Katie, Gregory Boyle, Rumi, Ram Dass, Rilke, Jack Kornfield, Wainwright (who has quite literally helped me find my way), B.K.S. Iyengar and so many more.
How grateful I am for each and every soul and voice that has pointed me to and constantly reminded me of the ‘something deeper’ at the heart of our experience of being human. How would I move through this pandemic if it wasn’t for this understanding?
As I stretch out on my yoga mat, feeling the soothing of my nervous system and the renewed energy it brings to my body, my heart reaches for my yoga teacher from London whose class, all those years ago, was the catalyst for so much of my journey. Every single time I am on my mat, I hear his voice, guiding me through the asanas and I melt in thanks.
My friends and so many clients who have become friends who are voices of calm amidst the terror. There is so much gratitude for these connections right now.
The great fortune I feel for finding myself amongst so much beauty. The option to sit quietly by the sea and watch the tide come in and let the tears flow out.
The arrival of spring. The light, the birds flying with twigs in their beaks to make their nests, the frogs in the pond, the warmth on my face.
For a pen and paper and the gift of finding release through words and expression. I think writing is how I live.
Oh, my love, there is, as always, so much to say and nothing to say at all. Life continues to be beautiful and so very, very sad. This is the way of things.
I want to say, through all of this, please don’t forget to sing and dance and write and paint and play music and express that which wants to be expressed in any way you feel called. There are so many feelings asking to be felt right now. Honour them. Welcome them in. And turn them into art. These words from Nahko and Medicine for the People’s song “Manifesto” have been speaking to me so much these last few days:
“They sang don’t waste your hate
rather gather and create
Be of service
Be a sensible person
Use your words and don’t be nervous
You can do this, you’ve got purpose
Find your medicine and use it”
We all have a unique medicine to share – a unique way of expressing Love. Small ways, bigs way, loud ways, quiet ways, tall ways, short ways and all the many ways in between. Find your medicine and use it.
Sending you and everyone you love and care for a huge hug today. May you stay well and safe.
Love and courage,