We are halfway through our mandatory isolated state in Spain. All of us started to realise, that it is very likely to be extended, yet for now we don’t want to allow that thought slowly creeping into our minds. We are halfway through it, that’s what is in focus.
You somehow get used to the surreal reality. You learn how to swap certain things in life that previously we haven’t even noticed that were choices.
You will instinctively swap:
Smiling at blurry faces looking back at you through the screens of your devices instead of rolling your eyes at people.
Throwing virtual kisses towards your camera instead of feeling the warmth of your loved ones’ skins.
Eagerly waiting to watch people walk alone past your balcony with their grocery shopping bags instead of getting annoyed at a group of teenagers being loud while having fun at the restaurant across the street.
Browsing through a multitude of face mask types on Amazon in all different styles instead of clicking through cute dresses, shoes and cool T-shirts.
Cooking your dinner with the type of pasta that was actually available in the supermarket instead of deciding to choose between five brands of fusilli.
Organising with excitement an evening of sharing some wine and giggles with your friends via video chat instead of arguing which bar is too far, to crowded , too something.
Scrolling through your old photos and reminiscing about your travels, feeling grateful that you got to visit those amazing places instead of complaining how some cities have lost their authentic touch due to over-tourism.
Ending your messages with “stay healthy” instead of “have fun”.
Day 15. I simply can’t describe with words how much I miss nature, to sit under a tree, to walk along the beach, to hike through muddy rocks in a forest. How I miss giving a long hug to someone, to get cosy being wrapped around someone’s arms, to touch an arm, to hold a hand, to absorb the warmth of a gaze.
Those of you, who are able to still enjoy any of these things, I urge you: make them count and cherish them. These are the little things that make us human, that fill us up with undervalued joy that becomes our fuel. Instead of complaining that you are stuck with your loved ones, just imagine for a moment, how much you would miss their entire being, even including the little annoying habits that might be driving you a bit crazy right now.
Day 15. Now as I’m sitting on my balcony on this sunny, delightful Sunday, with the smell of spring in the air in Barcelona, I simply can’t resist anymore. This unconquerable urge to join these people on their supermarket trips, passing by my balcony, strictly walking alone adhering to the rules. I will make sure I pick a supermarket as my destination that is at least 20 minute walk from my home, to be able to soak up as much of the outside world on this beautiful Sunday in Spain.
Learn to swap seeing fear with noticing beauty in the little things around us. Learn to swap the feeling of uncertainty with an opportunity to reflect and re-align yourself. Learn to swap your mindset.
“As long as your mind is free, your spirit is strong.”
This was the sentence that made my mind shift back into positivity during these strange times we are experiencing globally right now. This simple yet powerful advice came from someone who spent a substantial amount of time in confinement, most of it in a maximum security prison.
I asked him to share his experience in light of our current situation and by sharing some of his story, maybe we can find some answers how to cope. He also reminds us that even though we are quarantined we still have small liberties; we have technology and the internet to entertain ourselves, to keep our minds occupied and to stay connected to our loved ones.
We might be physically confined but the most important thing is: not to be confined mentally. Having some of our freedom suddenly being taken away from us can definitely take its toll on our mental health. I wondered how this compares to being incarcerated?
DOES THIS COVID-19 LOCK DOWN HAVE SIMILAR EFFECTS ON OUR MENTAL HEALTH AS BEING LOCKED UP?
I decided to ask this from someone, let’s call him Diego, who had spent a significant amount of time in confinement, majority of it being in a maximum security prison. Since he finished his sentence, he started a new life and left his old ways behind him to appreciate the second chance that life threw him.
I was curious to find out two things:
What advice can he give to people during these times to keep our mind strong and healthy?
What is that one thing he learnt to appreciate when he got his freedom back?
First thing that became very quickly clear to me was that no, our current lock down is not even half as bad as being completely deprived from all the important things in life: speaking to our loved ones, having our meals when we want to, being able to go for that walk to the supermarket whenever we need to. Being able to open our front door when we feel like, that freedom of movement we still have to take care of our essential needs.
As Diego explains, most people have never been confined of their freedom so it’s a lot harder to deal with it as compared to someone who has been conditioned from a young age and became prepared for it mentally. Also someone who is more of a social, extrovert character, who needs regular social interaction in life, can find this situation even more challenging than how it really is. So as a side note, think about those people in your lives who are extroverts and maybe give them a call a few times in these coming weeks.
It was interesting to hear some of Diego’s tips on how he kept his mind sane while also improving on his own self-development during his time in confinement. For us, during our quarantines these tips and advice can come in useful especially if you feel like that your mental state and emotions are already going through a roller coaster. For me personally, it definitely has been the case and I’m only on my 10th (or 11th?) day of our lock down here in Barcelona.
You will need to train yourself to have some self-discipline.
Introducing a new routine, a new schedule will give you some certainty during these uncertain times. It creates a structure in your mind.
To stay mentally strong:
“I practised a lot of discipline, I meditated, I worked out. You have to make a schedule right around your circumstances. What you create is a program, you’re programming yourself.”
“I used to be a very disciplined individual to withstand and outlast my conditions of confinement. I read a lot and the books that I read were the tools for me to be able to withstand anything mentally.”
How your mindset effects your physical health:
“Of course, none of us like to be confined but it’s either you remain strong mentally or you don’t but then you break mentally. And then you end up having all these other mental handicaps that could probably lead you to your demise. Anxiety, is one of the main ones and from anxiety you will build panic attacks and from panic attacks it could lead to health conditions.
Once your mental state is broken and your spirit is done then your physical well-being will go after it.”
Learning to appreciate what’s important in life:
“What I appreciate in life is the small things, the joys. Health, freedom, those are the things to me that mean the most. Family, love. Everything else can come and go. Money comes and goes, success comes and goes but as long as you have what you stand on, what you believe in, and at the end of the day you have the ones that you love and then you love yourself, that’s what matters the most.”
“During our last conversation when we met for a coffee, I told you how grateful I am and how I’m not in the pursuit so much of being successful financially. Because I’m so grateful being free. I was disciplined and confined for so long and I even confined myself in a way of restricting myself of pleasure. I would do that purposely to become strong mentally. Like I would fast or would limit myself from being able to eat things like chocolate and stuff like that, that could bring small joys. Because if you don’t have something, you don’t want something then you don’t miss it”
I wondered by facing all these restrictions to our freedom through this lock down, has triggered any past traumas for him. Has it brought back some of those negatives memories, emotions or flashbacks?
“So far, I’m dealing with it quite well, it hasn’t triggered anything but then again I’ve been out of that situation for quite a long time. And I understand that this is for my own well-being and for humanity as well. Being a caring person, I don’t want to put other people at risk or myself at risk so you know, I have to be a law abiding citizen.”
If someone who had spent a tremendous amount of time being locked up in prison can understand how important it is to stay at home and complies with the lock down rules, then so can you. You really have no excuse.
Passionate motivator on a mission to help people turn their spiritual calling into their careers. Currently living in Barcelona after having called the following countries here home: Hungary, UK, Malta and Sri Lanka. Brainfused is her platform to translate some of her deep rooted thoughts into the shape of words.
How ironic is that we feel more connected to humanity by being isolated from one another? The little things in life that we took for granted now really teach us their true value. A walk along the beach or in the park, the hugs from your loved ones living abroad, the excitement of planning a weekend getaway. It never crossed our minds that these could be luxuries.
It’s only been 7 days for me since I’ve been in complete lock down and the first few days were actually a bliss like for so many of you as well probably. We could enjoy a bit of calmness in the madness, especially if we live in a city that usually would be bursting with life. For me, that’s Barcelona. But all we see now is empty streets and we started to recognise some familiar faces on the balconies across the street from us. We started waving over to those people during our morning coffees or throwing them a smile while another neighbour is entertaining us with some music to keep our spirits up. Or when we are clapping in unison at 20:00 sharp every evening to show our gratitude to all the incredible people working around the clock in health care, trying their best to safe as many lives as possible.
But as soon as we retreat from our balconies or windows, we are left with our own realities. Either you are sharing your 24 hours inside those walls with your family or living completely alone, it does take a toll on your mental state. It stirs your soul up. It makes you question everything in your life, all of your priorities, all of your time you have been dedicating to something.
Does any of that truly matter? What are those moments that now you realise that you honestly cherish? What are those little life-snippets that make you feel that are creating some kind of value, some kind of meaning?
You start reaching out to people you haven’t talked to for a while, you start reading those books that have been collecting dust on the shelves, you start opening that expensive bottle of wine you’ve been saving up for a special occasion. You suddenly start expressing gratitude to those people that connected with you and showed you something positive, that taught you something meaningful, that stood by you during your darkest days.
This global quarantine is no longer about just putting people into isolation who might be infected with this coronavirus / COVID-19 whatever you want to call it. We are creating a whole different meaning to that state, what this quarantine really means and what it brings out of us.
I see the light and positivity in all this devastating times. I see people reconnecting with themselves, I see people telling their close ones how much they love them, I see people being more compassionate, more helpful, more humane. I see people trying their best to form communities, to strengthen their existing tribes, to care for each other. We needed to be isolated, quarantined to feel more connected than ever before. That’s the biggest quarantine irony and it is the best way to experience this together. Not in fear, not in worrying and not panicking. But by being there for each other, keep lifting each other up, shining a bit of happiness in others’ lives whenever we can.
I encourage all of you to use this strange time to become more connected. We are in this together and remember, this is temporary. It will pass and once we are on the other side, we will have a much different community, society and overall system. We will rebuild our economies together but most importantly we will rebuild ourselves together. We are all one. This is the time to really put that into practice.
So keep smiling at your neighbours, keep entertaining people around you, keep that light shining.
I’m on a mission to build a community, to help people who are working within the spiritual, esoteric and holistic industries reach their potential by truly focusing on their spiritual calling and turning that into their vocation. Learn for free how to start to turn your spiritual mission into your career.
I’m struggling to match my thoughts with my emotions. It seems that the past few months of this whirlwind event-chain has now calmed down and it’s trying to find a place to rest. And that place is seeking a title, a name, a short description. I don’t know which shelf to put it on, it needs a whole new cupboard, a whole new room actually. These past 8 months have been incredibly life shaping for me. Especially the second half of this period was what drove me forward before it broke me down and shattered me to pieces. I needed to hit ground zero to realise what it is that I truly wanted in life. I got exactly what I asked for and what I wanted to experience. Yet when I think back I’m struggling to accurately express what I just went through emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
I ran away from success to be in uncertainty and ended up living in the middle of the jungle in Sri Lanka with a man who used to serve in the French legion and woke up each morning to the sound of monkeys jumping on our roof.
Bizarre. This word doesn’t even come close to describing those months. Did I have an amazing experience? For sure. Was I really happy? Definitely not. It was a time of transformation and inner work. Real self-development doesn’t come with smiling faces and constant bliss. It means digging deep within yourself, finding your hidden fears and your buried ‘whys’ for your emotional reactions. And when you find them, you have the choice to either look them in the eye and go straight into those fears or you can find another excuse to quietly cover them up with something else to keep peace. You can easily guess which option I chose. So I shattered myself in the middle of the jungle. Looking back, I believe it was a good environment to carry out this exercise, even though it didn’t always feel that way. Whilst there, I felt that I disconnected from myself, that I lost my way somehow while all I wanted to do was to find my real path. Oh, the irony. Life truly has a great sense of humour.
8 months of searching and realigning. Once my mind had an ‘upgrade’ it only took me 1 week to shift gears and change directions. I knew it was the start of a new chapter which meant closing down old patterns and making space for new beginnings. I re-evaluated my principles and priorities. I came up with new goals and visions, but most of all I felt that I came back to myself as an improved version of me.
So even though I’m still struggling to match my thoughts with my emotions I’m certain that this is the aftermath of this significant experience I just went through. Just as the whole journey didn’t make sense while I was experiencing it and the full picture cleared out once I closed down the chapter, it is very likely that my current emotional state will make sense to me a little bit later. And with that thought I put my mind at rest and will stop thinking about what I could call this.
This is a snippet from my upcoming book: All roads lead to Ohm. I aim to inspire others by sharing not only my eventful stories but life experiences of real characters whom agreed to share the raw, unedited truth.
So many people say ‘I don’t have time for that’. And it has been said numerous times before me that we have time for what we make time for. But. What if some of us don’t have the basic required means to do what we really would like to do? And I’m not talking about luxury experiences here. Taking a day off to relax our mind might not be possible for someone who works 7 days a week in an undeveloped country for such a low wage that is barely enough to cover survival needs. Going for dinner in a restaurant? Out of the question for these people. Yet they have such strength and calmness. They do not worry what tomorrow will bring because they only enjoy the present day. They’re grateful to experience today. Then another today and another until years have passed. These kind of people are scared to dream.
How can they develop an ambitious mindset when they don’t see any opportunities getting lost when suddenly coming their way? These people truly embrace every 24-hour, every moment, every millisecond. They cherish life. Their 24-hour feels longer. No, not because they are suffering, not at all. These people might live in poverty or a near poverty environment, yet they are happy. They appreciate the smallest things that most of us walk by. A genuine smile, the taste of ripe fruit, the smooth breeze on our skins, an honest conversation. Being fully present and fully experiencing every moment what extends their 24-hours.
I simply love that feeling when I know I inspired someone. It’s been like this for a few years now but never really decided to dig deep and find out the reason why I enjoy this. I’m in a phase right now when I question everything. I believe that this is a good state to be to learn and develop. Understanding not only our actions but our emotional reactions is key to become a slightly bit better than who we were yesterday. So here I am, digging.
What is that trigger buried deep within my soul that makes me want to see other people smile, to charge up, to be full of life? Why does it make me feel like that I’m full of energy when I achieve to have someone else buzz like how I usually do? I want to see people taking on their everyday life like how the character Tigger does. It’s a strange comparison, I know, but for some reason that’s the character I resonate with the most. Bouncing around with joy and excitement for life.
Enjoying the smallest things and being able to fully appreciate the so-called common things in life.
Yes, I can be completely amazed by the sight of a clear starry sky or seeing someone sing to themselves at the airport while we are being delayed. Seeing a puppy jumping around their owner with unconditional love. An old couple being silent next to each other with wrinkles of happiness across their faces. Getting a cup of coffee served with a genuine smile. Seeing a line of trees along the main road. Admiring the curved up trunk of a tree growing out of concrete. The setting Sun colouring in the playful clouds in orange.
These little things that we walk past every day… This is what makes life a wonderful experience. And most of these things happen naturally. We just don’t always notice them.
I’m not needed to help the tree make its way out of concrete. I didn’t cause that orange shade on the clouds. But! I could contribute towards the wrinkles on someone else’s face. To make sure that they are happy wrinkles. If I can do that, if I have the power to do that, then I will. That’s what we have control over: to make this journey a joyful one.
While it is great seeing that I have connections with generous people whom are posting about the donations they are making towards charities during this period, it makes me wonder: why is it that we need a reason like Christmas to do this? And before you call me hypocrite, yes I am just as guilty as they are. It was only this morning that I transferred some money to a bank account of a charity supporting people with mental health issues. It makes me question myself as well: why don’t I have this urge to give back in May? In August? I could now stand up for myself and say that actually I do, which is true, however I have to admit that I am definitely more generous this time of the year. I wish we could somehow drag this attitude out to last 12 months rather than 2 weeks per year.
So for those of us who plan our goals for the following year: how about using this inspiration we feel right now to reflect in our next year’s plans? How about making a conscious decision that instead of the peak of our giving-back in December to be spread over 12 months? Maybe it won’t make a huge difference…at first. But! If at least some of us will start this new habit, eventually others will follow as we have the power to influence by showing an example.
So I start. I hereby publicly declare that from 2018 onwards I will be paying more attention to helping out the ones in need. It doesn’t matter how we do it: either by paying for someone else’s meal, donating our time to a charity, helping out someone with a challenge, telling someone how wonderful they really are, getting behind a volunteer organisation’s objective or simply letting someone jump the queue because they can’t miss their flight. Whatever it is, if it will make another person smile for a while then it is worth it.
My personal goal for 2018 is simply to bring more smiles into this world. Because it will just make it a better place to live in for all of us 🙂
If you agree with this then I encourage you to spread the message. And I don’t mean just by sharing this. Yes that would help getting this out to as many of us as possible so I will be grateful if you do it, but I also encourage you to at least try to adapt a similar attitude that suits YOUR life. #timeforchange
Expectations. Are they hopeful illusions force fed to the mind or pre-warmed up blankets covering reality? Either way they are needed as much as oxygen to our lungs otherwise we suffocate through life.
Some say it’s best not to expect anything so that you don’t get to experience the darkness of disappointment. The hollow space that we all try to navigate away from: seeking alternative routes and strictly keeping our eyes on the destination. One wrong turn, one incompetent driver or simply one fault with the engine will result in crashing right into this unwanted place. It surely is high risk but without it we don’t have the map – and no, I’m not talking about life. No one will give you a map of your life. We all draw ours as we go, however I prefer to make mine to be more like a treasure hunt. And I’m sure you do too because every second that we get to have is worth more than any diamonds and gold.
Every moment you experience whether to be painful or pleasant is a gift that you should treasure because it becomes a tiny puzzle piece that will build YOU. So cherish it and keep your expectations but let them become your motivation. And when someone drives you off your route just kick them out of the driving seat and take the wheel.
Remember: you will not deliberately disappoint yourself but others might do that for you. Have your expectations based on yourself and don’t rely on anyone else to control your emotions. It’s all in your hands and THAT is your map.
We travel through our lives every day. Some of us get on a delayed train, some get stuck at a red light in our cars and some just sit on the sofa flicking through all the international channels while staring at the shiny illusion on the wall (you might call it the TV). We seem to have forgotten how to sit still and take pleasure of it. Not out of boredom, not because we’ve been told to do it but purely because we desire it. We spend hours chasing after routines, giving in to habits and choosing the easy option of following the crowd.
Then we spend about a third of our day earning money so that we can buy all the things that we don’t need but must possess. Things that we firmly believe will make us feel happy. And in fact they do have that effect on us for a few minutes, hours or depending on the purchase maybe days. Never years though. We never get the same excitement that we feel when ripping the packaging open. So we go and get our things and then carry on with our routine. And when the end of the day arrives we take a look back and say something like “such a busy day” or “I still have to do this tomorrow”.
Those 24 hours are nothing but a sample sized life. Make yours exciting. Stop the excuses.