In the early days of the pandemic, when lock-down was something of a novelty however unwelcome, many of us were ambitious. By the time life went back to normal, many of us really did still believe that one day it might, we told ourselves that we would have decorated the whole house, learnt a language, read all those books that we have been meaning to read for years, taught ourselves to crochet, learnt the piano/saxophone/ French horn/tuba/violin/clarinet/oboe/trumpet (delete as appropriate), tidied the garden, got fit . . . .and so on and so on. 10 weeks in we are wiser. Many of us have done pretty well none of those things that we imagined doing. So what have we learnt about ourselves and our lives and our loved ones over these past weeks. Here are 7 exercises, one for each day of the coming week, to encourage each of us to reflect.
1. Make a list of as many things as you can that you have been pleased to notice yourself doing during the course of the pandemic.
2. Of these which stands out for you and gives you most pleasure?
3. Why is this one most significant and what does the doing of it tell you about yourself?
1. What have you been pleased to learn from the not-doing of the things that you have not-done?
2. What new ideas about yourself and your life and your priorities for the future has the ‘not-doing’ lead you to?
3. If the not-doing turns out to be useful to you in some way in the future in what way might the not-doing make a useful difference in your life?
1. What has been most challenging for you during the course of lock-down?
2. In what ways have you dealt with, manged this ‘challenge’ in a way that has pleased you?
3. What have you learnt about your capacities in meeting this challenge?
1. Whose support have you most appreciated during the course of the lock-down?
2. What have you noticed about that person (those people) that you have been pleased to notice and have appreciated?
3. What difference might noticing these (qualities) make to your relationship going forward into the future?
1. Of the capacities that you have noticed in yourself during the course of the lock-down which would you most like to see growing and developing over the days and weeks to come?
2. How would you know that those capacities were indeed growing and developing?
3. What difference would you like to imagine that the development of these (capacities) might make to your life?
1. As you reflect on what you have learnt about yourself, your priorities, your preferred ways of living, during the course of lock-down so far, what might you want to modify about the way that you do the days and weeks and months and maybe even years to come?
2. What of all the things that you have learnt so far would you wish to carry on?
3. Given your learning what would you like to see appearing in the period to come in your handling of the lock-down that has not been so apparent as yet?
1. What are your best hopes for post lock-down life?
2. What sort of society could do justice to the sacrifices and to the losses endured by so many?
3. How would you hope to see yourself contributing to the emergence of the life that seems right to you?
4. What would you need to see yourself doing in order for you to feel proud of yourself, to know that you have played your part?
5. What would be the smallest signs, even before lock-down ends, that you are preparing yourself to play your part, to contribute?
Take your time with these questions. Encourage yourself to go beyond the first ‘easy’ answers. Perhaps you could ‘list’ yourself – ‘tell me 25 things Evan that you will notice . . . ‘ and write your answers down.
31 May 2020