Tag Archives: presence

Only for the Lockdown 4

Only for the lockdown, I may never have experienced the following:

  • My hair appointment (always booked two months in advance) was cancelled. I texted my hairdresser, desperate for advice on box dyes. She informed me of my colour. Debated doing a patch test. Decided I’d better. It was the “ALLERGIC REACTION MAY CAUSE DEATH” bit that got me. Going to the hospital would be a nightmare! The patch test burned and I was left with a scabby wound. Decided to go gracefully grey.
  • A few weeks later, I purchased a different brand. The patch test stung. How much stinging is dangerous? Maybe I can use this as an opportunity to see how I’d look if I consciously decided not to cover the greys.
  • Took a nail scissors to my hair instead. I wanted a layered look. I sliced off two chunks. I was reminded of that one time I cut a Barbie’s hair and kept having to compensate by shortening the opposite side. Bald Barbie really stood out from the crowd. I put down the scissors.
  • When someone told me that we should try on our jeans every day because tracksuit bottoms/leggins/pyjamas are lying to us,” I was enveloped in a wave of emotion (anxiety, guilt, rage, denial). “That’s the worst idea ever,” I retorted.
  • Did a 20-minute Joe Wicks’ workout. I couldn’t bend over for three days (and counting…)
  • Whenever a TV character walks down a busy street or through a colourful market or into a noisy bar, I mutter: “Before the Corona virus.” Nothing on television really reflects our current reality. And they don’t stream The News on Netflix.
  • Remember how I got my boyfriend into Irish radio? Well, he’s taken to texting Dermot and Dave even without a cash prize motive. He felt the need to share that, according to the Lockdown Personalities they’d discussed, he’s a Bubble BursterThis means that when someone suggests that this will all be over soon, he disagrees: “No pints in pubs or international travel until 2021.” 
  • In case you’re wondering, I’m a Quarantine Queen. I’m the one who sets up all the Zoom catchups and emails on the links. I’ve also completed several meditation-, personal development- and exercise-based challenges. More still to come. And I saw my no-sugar-or-crisps-for-Lent challenge (sacrifice?) right through to the end, despite the apocalyptic vibes.
  • I’ve noticed that whenever I start dancing, my boyfriend drops everything to join me. We wiggle and laugh and get all the lyrics wrong. I look into his eyes and smile, enjoying a rich few minutes’ appreciation for his presence and willingness to put aside whatever he’s doing to be with me in silly abandon.
  • The song finishes. The moment ends. And I’m right back to my multi-challenges and Zoom-ing. Earning my title every goddamn day.

Art by Tati Ferrigno

Only for the Lockdown 2: The Weird and the Wonderful

The following is a list of things that, only for the Lockdown, I may never have experienced:

  • Had a dream in which I questioned the social distancing practices.
  • When my boyfriend said he didn’t remember his dream, I suggested making one up just so he could tell me a story. “I could never lie to you,” he exclaimed. I regretted asking.
  • To get my boyfriend out of bed, I suddenly shouted: “Come on, you’re going to miss the train!” “The train to where,” he asked. “To work,” I tried. “Work doesn’t exist, it’s just an illusion,” was his response. Then he decided that we should start playing the Lotto. We still haven’t bought a ticket.
  • Took out Connect-4. I won every game. “I’d say you’d be really good at chess,” my boyfriend marvelled. We took out a draughts board. I lost every game. I blamed it on the cider I was drinking.
  • We started treating a teddy like a real-live dog.
  • I look forward to going for walks so I can record WhatsApp voiceys to my friends in peace (the adult version of My News).
  • I no longer mind how long things take (phone calls, work on the computer, queues for Tesco, hugs).
  • Am learning how to properly shoot a basketball.
  • When passing another human being, I’m alternating between genuine joy, connection, polite nods, smiles and Hellos then wishing I could clothesline them when they come too close (but that would mean I’d have to touch them).
  • Appreciated springtime to this extent (coloured blossoms, cerulean skies and the coconut scent of a gorse bush).
  • Birdsong is my new favourite soundtrack.
  • As I strolled along the canal this afternoon, I had the urge to bury my face in the swaying reeds. I didn’t. Maybe next week.
  • Stood and watched a starling murmuration. In the distance, they looked like vibrating particles of one entity. Then they swooped overhead, spreading and coming together, making shapes like a celestial Etch A Sketch.

Please share your weird and wonderful Lockdown experiences.

I Am

She kneels then gazes at me. “See through your eyes and feel with your heart,” she instructs.

Nervousness churns in my stomach. I want to do it right.

“You’re in your mind,” she observes. “You don’t have to be perfect.”

“I know I’m trying too hard and I’m feeling anxious,” I admit.

“How long have you felt like this,” she asks.

“All day,” I respond. Then, “All my life.”

She prods me in the chest and says, “Think with the heart.”

I start to cry. It catches my breath.

I snot up and I’ve no tissues. Definitely not perfect now.

We continue gazing into each other’s eyes. It feels like something drops inside of me.

It takes me by surprise. I sit in calm for the rest of the workshop.

On the drive home, I experience chest pains. I know what it must be – a cracking open.

The following morning, I give myself time to feel my feelings. I let it all in and in doing so, I let it all out. I sob.

That evening, I write again for the first time in ten months.

The workshop was called Opening the Flow of Love with healer Elena Lisnic. As soon as I reach my house afterwards, I send Elena a message and book a session with her for a couple of days’ time.

This afternoon, I attend (partly to see how she works as a fellow practitioner and partly for my own healing). We talk.

I fill her on a current dilemma. She gets me to do some visualisation.

Again, she observes how active my mind is. I recognise the ego in this particular situation.

One option I could give my energy to feels exciting. But I’m also anxious, dreaming and lacking presence.

The other option is easy, relaxed and feels like love. Unless I begin thinking again.

Elena tells me to listen to my heart. The heart speaks softly, gently and it speaks the truth.

Any situation that brings anxiety and constriction is not for my highest good. Hard for someone who’s lived with fear for so long to recognise which is an egoic fear keeping me separate and stuck and which is a genuine guidance system illuminating the right path.

I guess practice listening to the heart and distinguishing between the two will build my self-trust.

Elena reminds me that I don’t need to go seeking outside of myself. I have everything within.

It’s so simple. Not enough drama for the ego.

However, when I’m living in the flow of love, everything is awe-inspiringly beautiful. The world and the spaces between are pregnant with energy. And I am full and whole.

Elena asks me who I am then hands me a blank page. I hesitate then put pen to paper:

Sharon, who are you?

I am.

I am brilliance. Shining light.

Love. Connection. Peace. Presence. Infinity.

God is in me.

Flow. Open heart. Abundance. Joy. Laughter.

Hugs. Flowers. The ocean.

Immersion. Space. Expansion. Floating. Flying.

Electricity. Energy.

Nothing as everything.

I am.

Image: lovethispic.com

Instamoment

I wake in the early hours of the morning. Unable to fall back to sleep, I creep to the other room to meditate.

The curtains are pulled wide. The sky is decorated with layers of cloud, dusky and white. The wind mewls, causing the ebony trees to arch and bounce.

My first instinct is to capture this experience for an Instastory. But having already committed to a social media-free Sunday, I don’t do this.

I’m forced to be in the moment, to really see and hear and feel what’s right in front of me. I look out and I breathe. My senses are heightened.

Most people are sleeping at this mysterious hour. I’m in the privileged position of being a lone observer, from this vantage point, of nature in all of its mind-blowing glory.

I marvel at the lightness and flexibility of the branches as they sway and back-bend.

The clouds move across the heavens. I make out a seahorse, which transforms into a chimpanzee. I can’t remember when I’ve been quiet and undistracted long enough to look for shapes in the clouds.

Every so often, a single star is revealed. And the pinprick of an aeroplane travels through the night.

If it hadn’t been for social media-free Sunday, I’d have taken a brief impression of this spectacular moment, then immediately pointed my phone at it.

I’d eye it through a screen, then frame or alter it before sharing it online. How it looked onscreen would be more important than the reality, which I’d barely give a second glance.

Nature is bestowing me with miracles. The least I can do is give it all of my attention and appreciation.

And so I sit at that window, a different screen altogether, and connect in a way that only time and pure presence allows.

girl window night sky

I didn’t point my phone at this special moment so this is an image I lifted from Google.

Moment’s Passed?

I meet singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy this morning. Afterwards, I type his name into Spotify and admire his voice, lyrics, and most of all, his passion.

Listening to his music ignites something deep inside of me. I have the urge to dance. To write. To spill technicolour all over a blank canvass.

I need to give birth to this swirling energy inside my chest. To express this sensation that rises and fizzes.

I want to throw my arms wide and look the beast straight in the eye as lightning spikes into puddles and sheets of rain encapsulate me.

I long to roar so fiercely that my throat tears open and nightingales spring skyward.

I want to race across fields where thistles prickle and lash me with their giant purple heads.

I wish to tap-dance along the hide of the earth. My diamond heels working up a fever. Sparks bursting. The planet thrums.

I yearn to drink in the incredible beauty of this whole miraculous universe.

I feel an urgency so strong that normal life moves too slowly for me. My desperation lies shallow in my belly.

But I’m in work. I can’t unleash the dragon right now, despite my impulses.

I remember that I have to breathe.

Inhale. Life. Exhale. Let go.

The fear is that this wild abandon will dissolve like a unicorn’s wing behind the charcoal clouds.

But if I sit still and silent, I can just about hear the sun creaking above the horizon and the applause of wave after wave after wave upon the shore.

I know that if I breathe, I’ll always be present for another song, another flame, another mouthwatering moment of life being really lived.

And if I am, if I really am who I truly am, I’ll shine and I’ll keep on shining. I’ll shoot rainbows from my fingertips.

I’ll fling my heart open. I’ll bellow until the beast lifts his sleepy lids.

And he and I, we’ll jive.

Dermot-Kennedy-770x773.png

Watch Dermot Kennedy’s Moments Passed here

The Warrior

There is always something to think, to worry about, to get angry over. Always some drama, a problem to figure out, a decision to make.

With this realisation, I detach, let go, and travel within. The thoughts form and dissolve. The movie of my life still plays on. But I turn down the volume and focus within.

I connect with a deep sense of peace, a groundedness. I listen. I breathe.

Like a novice snorkeller in a world of underwater magic. Astonished by the beauty. Yet all I can hear is my breathing.

I could be lifted from this peace and wonder by an unconscious wandering to wherever my thoughts whimsically transport me. Or I could choose, moment by moment, to return to the present and to appreciate what’s before me, what’s part of me, what I really am.

A slice of this miracle of life presents itself to me. I come to my senses. I savour in the deliciousness of it all. I’m nourished. Whole.

No fear any more. Really. Although there’s still fear, insecurity, discomfort, dangling into the chasm of the unknown.

A lifetime of clinging and scrambling. Dictatorially and unintelligently controlling. Resisting, closing, lashing out against the emotions and the people who triggered me.

Now, I make a different choice. I lean in. Allow. Listen. And with that, comes relief. Learning. Growth. Strength.

I am a warrior in my courage to feel, to be, to connect with others, even though I could be wounded at any moment.

I shrug off my armour and lay down my shield. I no longer point my sword threateningly at the sky. I bare my heart to the heavens.

I have never seen a warrior so vulnerable. Yet she closes her eyes just to feel the sunlight on her skin.

Nature congratulates her with pink and white blossoms, yellows and purples and oranges. Trees reveal themselves to her. Birdsong replaces her soundtrack of doubt. The universe is full.

Her body now free to embrace those she loves. And that has to be everyone. Everything. Herself. Myself. My movie and my constantly altering reviews and reactions.

I drop judgment. I wince at the pain of unhooking attachments.

With loss, there’s lightness. An opening, a flow. A current of love. A deep-seated peace.

I go within and feel calm. I open so that I can live.

I feel a tingling of love wash over me. I understand. I know. I connect.

As soon as I see clearly, my goggles fog over again. For it goes beyond my limited ways of words, analysis and explanation.

It just is. As I am. And I will remember again and again.

meditation sun

Sometimes

Do you ever feel so bad about yourself that you can’t fathom that great things could happen? You don’t believe in yourself. You forget all the good that you do.

Sometimes.

You close yourself off to all the love that surrounds you. You compare yourself unfavourably to others and see everyone else as confident, successful, flourishing…

You focus on the negatives. You spot rejection, failure and disappointment in every comment, action and imagination.

Sometimes.

You push loved ones away then hate yourself more for doing so. For self-destructively banishing what you crave: love, care and affection.

They try to love you. They offer you acceptance. But deep down, you’re never going to measure up or be worthy of their naive loving of you.

You shut down the love. You silence the laughter. You dare not believe in your potential. It frightens you.

You sob. You cry. You let go. You open up. You let him in.

Sometimes.

A smile breaks through. You can’t help but laugh. He’s so good.

He sees the best in you. You want to be that person. And one day, as you sip on a coffee in the afterglow of his presence, you realise that you are.

You are that bouncing, brave, beautiful person that he admires. But you block yourself.

Sometimes.

You think thoughts and you believe them. You identify with the bad.

You stop dancing. You don’t feel the music. You forget who you are. You exist but you cease living.

Sometimes.

While the real you simmers patiently beneath. Always there. Waiting for you to shake off the shackles and rejoin the dance.

Ready to roar in perfection. And smile and love and shine. And be free.

He loves you because finally you remember that you love you. You just don’t believe it.

Sometimes.

Image: Author's Own

Image: Author’s Own