One of the first comments I received on my article “Let’s Talk About Death” was ‘Kufa peke yako!’ Die on your own!
It was hardly the most scintillating of responses to the article but it did get me thinking that before I do die, I want to live – a full, fun and fulfilling life. I am sure this is something that we all want. But, with restrictions imposed on us whether that be curfew or quarantine or lockdown, we feel that living a full life is impossible.
People talk about feelings of Groundhog Day – each day set on a repeat button. Some feel like they are in limbo, whilst others feel trapped by the physical restrictions of not being able to leave home, see friends and loved ones or visit new places. Planning for the future seems impossible, because no one knows what that looks like.
Many people are bamboozled into thinking that all these restrictions imposed on us will get rid of the virus and bring back the life that we once knew. But the hard truth is that this virus is not going to just disappear. Life is not going back to what we perceive to be normal. Life is never going to be the same. Covid-19 has changed the whole world, causing upheaval on a global, national and personal level. And now, we must find our new normal – for the present and for the future.
For many, this is causing much anxiety. It can be overwhelming.
So how do we find the strength, resilience and grace to face this new normal? How do we begin to cultivate an environment of being present in this moment with equanimity? How do we wake up each day and treat it as a new dawn to start once again living a full and fulfilling life?
I find the answers to these questions in the mindfulness teachings of the “Three As” – Awareness, Acceptance and Attachment.
This is being aware and mindful of the circumstances as they are in this moment. Equanimity will allow you to be completely open to life as it presents itself, enabling you to overcome the fears that arise from the adversities coming your way.
This is seeing things as they are in the present moment and understanding that sometimes you have no control. When you try and change something you are denying and resisting what is already a fact. Acceptance is not passive resignation, rather it is seeing things as they are and understanding that this too shall pass.
Letting go or practicing non-attachment is key to your journey. Now is the time that you must let go of what you perceived to be normal in the past, and what your perception of the new normal will be in the future. You must have no attachment to the outcome – because you have no idea what that will be.
By embodying these three philosophies in your life and practicing them through mindfulness exercises, you will find that you are able to face these changing and unprecedented times with less anxiety and feelings of overwhelm. As you build your resilience you will find that from uncertainty will come certainty.
There is a beautiful Samburu proverb that really sums up this ethos.
“Keata Nkishon Larin”
Life Consists of Seasons
Life is not one long season; one smooth journey. Rather, it is a series of chopping and changing times, both happy and sad, serene and tumultuous. Each of these seasons brings with it both good and bad experiences, and through these experiences we learn the lessons we need to in this lifetime. And so, as the seasons change, so do we. And, if we can face these seasons with the resilience and strength of mind, body and spirit, then we have a much better chance of standing in our power to live this one precious gift of life in the best possible way.
After all, this is what life is about!
We fall, we rise; we fail, we learn; we cry, we laugh; we love, we grow; we live.
And so, I wish you fortitude in this time of ever-changing seasons. Be mindful, be accepting and do learn to let go.
This article was first pubished in The Star newspaper in Kenya