When you can't go 'Out', go 'In'
It has certainly been an interesting time. The world has come to a sort of stand still and a lot of us have gone through a series of different and unexpected emotions.
Initially I was very resentful as I watched both of our Aviation businesses close for an indeterminate amount of time just as they were getting started. On the other hand, as an artist, I was unaffected because my own personal existence had not changed at all.
My last post was about dealing with the sudden overwhelm in a gentle way. Not putting pressure on ourselves to achieve anything during lockdown when we were so clearly distressed. Now that some time has passed, I find myself reflecting on our current status as a family. It's an interesting mix I can assure you.
For myself, I am happy and content. I am doing my thing and incredibly grateful for it. I am still taking commissions and happily being a hermit within my own studio. I have also used this time to start a rebrand.
My husband on the other hand has had to move 1.5hrs away permanently to reopen our businesses and stay afloat in a time of very little certainty. He is currently sleeping in a swag on a cement floor in an aeroplane hangar so he doesn't spend more money than necessary or spook the locals by constantly travelling to and from work in and out of greater Melbourne. He is doing an amazing job but I know there is some loneliness and he is missing us as we are him. We still have not been able to hold a funeral for his Dad which has been hanging over us since March.
Then there are my two kids. Our son is 19 and has had every single thing that he did on a weekly basis disappear. I wonder what that does to his sense of self identity? Life is now a steady stream of PlayStation while avoiding thinking too much about the future. While that sounds pretty bleak, I think it's actually quite healthy for now in that he is not letting any of this consume and overwhelm him in a negative way. Whatever works for now and over time we will deal with things and change directions.
My 16 yo daughter finished her pre-apprenticeship course at the top of her class only to now find everything up in the air. She currently spends her days on her computer talking with her boyfriend who lives in a completely different state. While they are lucky to be able to talk to each other via screens, they avoid the elephant in the room which is the not knowing when they will actually be able to visit each other again. I remember being a 16yo girl. It is also confronting looking at a falling economy and wondering if you will be able to get a job at the end of this. On the upside both of our children play instruments which is mentally very helpful.
I miss visiting my family who are also interstate. We didn't see each other all that often but now having the choice taken away from us makes that longing worse. It was very obvious to me this morning after my sister remotely gave my website a much needed makeover last night and this morning I desperately wanted to hug her to say thanks. I did send her a cringe worthy Elsa and Anna gif but it's not quite the same.
The point of this post though is that after the initial 3 weeks of throwing our hands in the air and pretty much giving up (general life has been a long road for all of us) we made a conscious decision not to stay that way.. It doesn't help and it doesn't feel good.
We are now using this new found down time to reflect and revise. We are revisiting our values and how to apply them to this new world so that we can maintain a sense of satisfaction in our existences. We are making conscious decisions every day to make the best of things. It's the two good old cliches "It's not what happens to you but how you choose to react to it that matters' and 'it's not about how many times you get knocked down, but how many times you get back up!' They are oldies but goodies! It's also about blind faith in whatever way you choose to apply that. I have to believe that everything is going to be ok or there just simply is no point.
We reminded ourselves that our lives are made up of a series of choices. My first choice was to turn off the 24 hr news cycle. I am now informed without being overwhelmed. We are wired to detect danger. The more we see the more we want to see. Honestly check the headlines and then turn it off and get on with your day.
My second choice was to start listening to podcasts while I paint. I highly recommend Mindvalley.
We also decided to get our eating back under control because after the first 3 weeks of mentally medicating with chocolate, alcohol and Uber Eats/Menulog, we started to feel even worse physically and mentally. It's amazing how fast aches, pains, kilos and hopelessness can find you when you go into free fall. Now after 9 weeks we have both lost a tonne of weight but more importantly we feel amazing both physically and mentally. This also highlighted the link between food and general wellbeing. These times are hard enough without clogging up our brains and bodies with junk. Honestly, find what works for you and just start with that. We are also hoping to set a better example for our children. We don't want them to feel like victims and we are determined as guiding parents to help them get the best out of these times.
I don't want anyone to feel guilty about struggling right now. It's a very natural response. I do encourage everyone though to give some thought into trying to see this time as an opportunity. Check your daily habits and ditch the ones that cause constant worry and anxiety. To quote Newt Scamander from the movie Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them - 'It's my experience that worrying means you suffer twice".
We have more time to focus on ourselves and our own wellbeing. This is a very very good thing. If we can't go 'out' then now is the time to go 'in'. This is where our power is. Our mental choices are ours. Nobody can take them away from us. This is our true freedom. Choose what you give your attention too. Choose what makes you feel more optimistic.
For all of my arty friends just keep creating. It's good for you which is good for the world.
Yours in art, Cherie xxx