This morning’s yoga wasn’t as luxurious as the past few days’.
But I still included Bridge Pose in my shorter sequence.
If you have the book, there’s more about Bridge Pose for 11/3 (p52).
It’s a wonderful pose to help prepare the body for sleep (but ideally done long before bed time as it’s quite energising so lifts the nervous system).
Bridge pose is also great as a mood booster.
It’s a grounding pose, too. You can tense the thighs on each inhale and release on each exhale as well as really connecting with the parts of the body that are in contact with the ground.
And, metaphorically, as we create a bridge shape with our bodies, we can think about all the gaps we’ve bridged in our lives so far.
We can remember how things we’ve already survived and achieved may have felt impossible at times but we DID it.
And we can think about current obstacles, worries and struggles and instead of giving into our fears and anxiety, connect with our body’s strength and wisdom and imagine ourselves looking back at today’s challenges knowing that we DID it.
If you want to go deeper into it and your body’s wisdom is OKing it, Wheel can be wonderful (as always, honour your body’s wisdom and individual medical advice.
My mind, heart and soul are CRAVING the openess and joy full Wheel offers at the moment but while my shoulder has fully recovered, it’ll be a while before I build up the strength and flexibility I had when this pic was taken in 2016. And I’ve learned to listen to my body.
Whether thinking about illness, injury or lockdowns, it’s really easy to mourn the things we used to be able to do without even thinking.
Those thoughts can take us into negative spirals and we might either overdo things, leading to bigger set backs, or give up on doing the things we still CAN do and enjoy and benefit from.
Right now, what are you thinking about?
What do you miss the most?
What will you never take for granted again?
These might be to do with fitness levels, health, time with loved ones who don’t live with you, time WITHOUT the loved ones who DO live with you and anything else that springs to mind.
Apart from people (and thankfully, I was doing much of this online anyway as I moved away from everyone this time last year), the thing I miss most is swimming.
I’m very lucky to be able to do my yoga at home, I can walk and cycle locally and just watering all the trees I’ve planted, lugging a bucket up and down the field, is, I think, making me stronger.
But swimming can’t be replicated. With even my sea swims that bit too far (not within 2k of my house although I DID dream that a neighbour showed me a shortcut via a London subway crossing), I could throw myself quite the pity party.
What if my mental health suffers? Nothing helps me let go of life’s stresses and strains like a mixture of fast crawl and simply floating and underwater handstanding.
What if, when pools reopen, I struggle to get back to my effortless (albeit slow and mixed stroke) hour long swims?
These thoughts don’t energise me.
They make me feel sorry for myself.
And guilty about all the people in this world dying alone or being unable to say goodbye to loved ones or attend their funerals.
Not to mention all the people who don’t have access to clean water let alone soap and hand sanitizer.
Who don’t have fridge freezers or even a cupboard for food.
Let alone TV, internet and smart phones (and an abundance of books and magazines).
Or even safety from violence and abuse in their own homes.
Or the people having to self-isolate because of potential health issues and the symptoms the added stress is exacerbating for them.
These guilty thoughts don’t energise me or do ANYthing to help the people who have bigger worries than me right now.
Instead, I’m catching these unhelpful thoughts with as much self compassion as possible.
If a toddler were crying about something that seemed silly to me, I wouldn’t want to be yelling at her or him about all the toddlers who have it so much worse.
When Rainbow MagnifiCat does her new mew that I translate as her missing my dad’s non vegan leftover treats when they were staying with me, I don’t tell her to stop being silly.
I give her a teeny bit of oatmilk and tell her I’m sorry and to not get her hopes up. (I LOVE oatmilk but, well, she’s a cat.)
We can have self compassion over WHATEVER we’re missing.
In terms of my swimming, simply giving myself a moment to imagine my next sea swim – using all my senses to make it as vivid as possible, and my next heated POOL swim (and the steam room afterwards) makes me smile.
I remember that, like everything, this will pass and I’m FAR happier missing these little things than I could ever be if I thought I had passed something on that a more vulnerable person could have potentially died from.
That then makes me feel warm and fuzzy thinking about all the people in the WORLD, pulling together for the greater good.
Doing what little we can to keep our loved ones and strangers safe and well.
Not to mention all the heroic medical people and key workers doing SO MUCH MORE.
What are you missing?
What do you look forward to about your recovery or things going back to a new – more compassionate, just and sustainable – normal when the virus threat has passed?
How can you use that image of your Future Self to give you hope, make you smile and simply imagine ways in which you can support yourself in bridging the gap between where you are and where you want to be?
I read Spencer Johnson’s classic coaching book, Who Moved My Cheese? decades ago.
I helped me retrain my own brain to find a more optimistic, empowered, resourceful way of being.
From what I remember (spoiler alert) four mice are used to going through the maze to find the cheese in specific locations.
They’ve been doing this for however long.
One day, the cheese isn’t where it normally is.
In the end, two of the mice quickly reassess the situation and find another route to a different location for cheese.
The two mice who instead focused on what had been, asking ‘Who Moved My Cheese?’ as opposed to something like ‘Where Is the Food I Need Right NOW?’ died of starvation.
Whether you’re recovering, healing or simply (she says – none of us have been through a global pandemic before. There’s nothing simple about Covid 19) struggling with the current reality of being in lockdown, when you think of what you’re missing most, can you reframe your question?
How might you gather your resources and adjust with as much ease as possible, doing whatever you need to do to get through the challenges?
I hope you’ve found these ideas around ways in which you might start to bridge the gap between where you are and where you want to be helpful.
If you’d like some additional support, I have lots of Covid self care resources for you to access.
If you’d like more information about my new Call of the Wild ~ Be Your Own Self Care Coach online membership programme or you’d like some online therapy, coaching or supervision (etc) feel free to get in touch with any questions or to book.