As I sit and write this weeks ‘ponderings’, the sun is streaming in through my windows and this morning I have done a beautiful Yoga Nidra practice and then got together with 15/16 of my lovely clients for our first Balance Online virtual ‘coffee and chat’. It was lovely to have the chance to share some of our experiences from cutting hair to reflecting on what we have learnt or gained from our time in ‘lockdown’.

I wanted to share with you some of my thoughts and reflections I’ve had over these past few weeks. Aside from all the heart wrenching things happening around us, I wanted to really consider what this ‘Great Pause’ had allowed me to notice or experience. 

For me, the biggest realisation was that I have been living my life in a state of low level stress. Now, to some of you that might not sound like a revelation but to me it is. I would consider myself to be a person who doesn’t sweat the small stuff, who doesn’t react to situations but responds in a calm and considered way, who is generally a glass half full type of person, who enjoys life, who is grateful for the relationships in my life, who loves the places I have been able to visit, who has a close and wonderful extended family, a great business and I absolutely love the work I do, I live in a beautiful spot by the river and feel I place my health, fitness and well being close the top of my list.

That is who I am.

So, to discover that I have been living in a constant low level of stress was a revelation to me!

But, and it is a big but, what I didn’t realise was that in achieving all of the above, I have been living my life in a constant low level of underlying stress without realising it.

Now that we have been forced to pause, to stop the way we were living, to slow right down, to remain in our homes, I am feeling the difference…….I feel it in my body, I feel it in my mind. It is as if both have given a long deep sigh and said there you go, this is what you should be feeling, this is your natural way of being, this is what will bring you far more health and happiness into your life. The pressure I didn’t even realise was there, has been lifted.

I have been sleeping longer, I have felt calmer, I feet less rushed, I have let go of wanting to achieve something within a certain timescale – I’m just allowing things to happen and it feels good. I’ve shopped less, as we all have, but not just food shopping, I’ve not brought any extras, no clothes, no makeup, no bits and bobs, nothing but also no desire to either. Now, obviously that can’t or won’t last forever, as I will need make up and some new underwear…..but it feels good right now not to be buying, it seems unnecessary and it has made me realise how easy it is to spend on things we don’t really need or if we are honest, don’t even want.

I’ve had time to do more exercise for me, I been doing Pippa’s pilates class, yoga classes, walking and cycling in my outdoor hour exercise, gardening more, baking more (though I’m not sure thats a good thing!), doing my art classes online, reading more, listening to music more, listening to podcasts more, watching online theatre, talking (mainly online) to family and friends more, doing quiz nights with friends and family, actually when I think about it I’ve connected far more with people than I did before – as before I was always having to be somewhere or finish something or to plan the next thing. I’ve been stunned by how much I’m enjoying teaching classes online, how easily we are all adapting to this new way of doing – it’s been a complete revelation to me. I’m appreciating more, enjoying the small things, smiling and laughing more, connecting more with my neighbours, feeling more connected to my community, engaging with those I don’t know more, albeit from a distance – I genuinely feel more oneness and less separateness and I love it.

So, what has this Great Pause given me – it has given me exactly that, the gift of a Great Pause – time to let go of the busyness of my  life, the rush from one thing to the next. It has allowed me the opportunity to really FEEL my natural state again, to experience a different way of being and I’m sure many of you will feel the same. 

I know an awful lot of us are feeling exactly the same which is why I feel so sure that this is our chance to live differently.   Life, the universe, nature, whatever you prefer to call it, has grabbed us by the shoulders and given us a good shaking.  This is our wake up call to live differently and if we are the lucky ones who survive this time, then we owe it to those who haven’t and to ourselves and our families and especially future generations, to not just witness the changes we’ve all felt but to ensure they continue long after this has ended as we welcome in and embrace our Brave New World.

Our choice.

Our opportunity.

The Great Pause – what has it meant to you?