Monday Mindfulness

It’s such a beautifully, sunshiny, glorious spring day here in the Valleys of South Wales. The sunshine, especially when I’m at home for the foreseeable future, is most welcome and lifts my spirits greatly.

It also frustrates me a little that I want to be out and about, sun on my face and wind in my hair. However, I do understand and accept the need to be at home. Understanding doesn’t remove the frustration.

I was also at a loss at how to be arty this morning. I decided to use one of the ’tiles’ I’d coloured with Distress Inks on Saturday. I also stumbled across a zentangle pattern randomiser and gave it a click.

The pattern that popped up was ‘Ravel’, and so I filled the tile with it. I used 05 and 02 Unpin pens from Uniball. When I was done, I decided I needed a bit of shimmer and shine, so I added some metallic gold dots.

I could add water to ‘bleach’ out high spots on the design. Maybe I’ll do that later.

Drawing a repeating pattern as well as drawing intuitively and deliberately is a very mindful activity for me. It helps calm my mind and emotions. It brings meditative peace and contentment to me. All art does that, but there’s something particularly satisfying about a small project that can be completed in a sensible amount of time; a project with the goals of calm and relaxation.

Warm sunshine pouring in the window beside me as I mindfully zentangle has helped me find contentment. That gentle inner smile that has been hiding behind the clouds of worry and fear has returned.

During this pandemic, this global health and societal crisis, it’s more important to find the contentment, peace and inner smile.

Mindfulness helps with acceptance of a situation as it is. Not fretting about what has been done already. Not worrying about the what ifs. It’s about being present in the here and now. It’s learning to accept that there are circumstances that are beyond our control, and working with the things we can control – our reactions to them and the way we think and feel. To not become the slave to fear, panic, alarm, to recognise they are rational emotions to feel. Still, it’s how we act upon them that’s important. 

It’s also important to recognise that the pandemic will come to an end at some point in time in the future. This will have changed us all, probably society too, hopefully for the better.

So, what can we do in the meantime?

Well, we’re not in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world yet, nor are we likely to be. Farmers will continue to farm. Food and essentials will still be produced. Delivery drivers will deliver. Food shops will be open.

There will be a lag in stocks of some things being restocked as it takes time for the producers to produce more to fill the gaps created by the panic buyers and hoarders. And of course, once the panic has subsided and people stop panicking, those gaps will be filled a lot quicker.

There will be plenty for all, so long as people stop panic buying and hoarding, particularly here in the UK.

Even if society is put into a lock-down, which seems likely here in the UK, then we’ll still be allowed to go out and shop for essentials.

Mind you, for the more vulnerable members of society that means that we’ll have to shop online and have our groceries delivered, or have volunteers, friends, family to help out. I’m expecting a letter soon to tell me that the advice is I stay indoors for twelve weeks – not leaving home to even get some shopping.

So, practice social isolation. It really does make a difference, even if you don’t think it does.

Social distancing and isolation really will slow down the spread of the virus. Then the NHS can cope with the number of people who need hospital care. This way, people won’t needlessly die because the medical care they need just isn’t available as the system is totally overwhelmed.

For each of us that stays home, avoids social contact, we put a break in the chain of how the disease is transmitted. The more gaps in the chain, the slower the virus can spread through society.

Be brave, be a break in the chain. Help to slow down the spread of the virus. 

Help to spread the cases out over time so that the NHS can cope so that all who contract the disease have the best chance of survival.

In this way, each and every one of us can be a hero to help protect those that need protecting.

Each and every one of us.

Mandala and musings

I love being by myself, having solitude, not having the pressure to be ‘social’. That part is natural for me.

Oddly, I miss the option of just popping out for a short while unless it’s absolutely necessary. I will need some time in nature soon, with my camera, unless we’re denied that bit of freedom.

The freedom to choose what to do without feeling guilty or worrying about my choice is what I’m missing.

The artist/creative in me will always have things to do – drawing, digital art, crochet, needle felting, cross stitching and more.

As well as being an artist, I am also a scientist. So having reliable facts can help me understand this disease and its effects.

I’m also curious, so I will always find things to read or watch that satisfy my curiosity.

The part of me that still has cPTSD tends towards anxiety and depression is much smaller and has less of a hold on me and most of the time, I am content.

Today, for the first time in this crisis, I’ve felt weepy, sad, worried for the various layers of society, occupations and the world itself. For those who are scared of how people are reacting. For those who are scared of contracting CoViD-19, and scared that their loved ones may. For those who are suffering the illness, struggling to live, and for those who are losing that fight. For those who are scared because there’s no clear direction being given by our leaders. For those who are scared that because they are vulnerable or old they may just be allowed to die as if their lives, their presence in the lives of others, is of no value.

I can’t even find the words to express my feelings and abstract thoughts/images that I have about this. I want to be eloquent, expressive, and can’t find a way to do so with words. The curse of one with introverted feelings, as well as feelings and thoughts that can be very abstract too.

I feel so sorry that there is so little I can do personally, other than not be a panic buyer, to avoid social contact, to be responsible, so I don’t put a strain on resources and services.

I am but one person and one counted as ‘vulnerable’; I have underlying chronic health conditions. So, I feel helpless to help more, and that increases my sense of guilt and helplessness.

One thing I do know that helps me manage my emotions, my thoughts is art. So, I will try to help others through my art. Through creating pretty things to bring a smile and warmth to people’s hearts. Through finding ways to encourage their own creativity. By producing more frequent coloring templates for people to download and color via a Facebook group for ‘fans’ of my coloring books.

Perhaps this is a bit more than very little, I don’t know. Maybe by us all doing a little to help, it adds up collectively to a lot to help those who have more significant roles to play in this crisis – doctors, nurses, porters, cleaners, shop workers, delivery drivers, farmers, emergency services, and so many more – and I thank each and every one of you more than you will ever know.