DRIVING IN THE DARK - finding serenity in uncertain times
Updated: Feb 3, 2021
When it’s impossible to plan ahead because there’s a global pandemic messing everything up, it can feel like driving in pitch darkness with only the beam of the headlights visible in front of you. You just keep driving, taking it one moment at a time, and hope for the best.
These are times that are inviting us to live life in a new way. Instead of planning months ahead and being reasonably sure that our plans will come to fruition, we are being given the opportunity to embrace living moment to moment. It can feel scary, it can feel strange, but I believe it’s also a beautiful thing.
I have never experienced living life so much in the moment as now. With England in an indefinite lockdown, my plans for permanent residency frustratingly uncertain and long term plans at present impossible, there is nothing left to do but embrace the moment.
That’s not to say I haven’t had any freakouts. I have. But I am learning more and more to embrace the serenity of acceptance. I have no way to control these things; but I do get to choose how I respond.
I did not come all this way to be anything less than happy. So I choose to be happy – and it’s easy. I am ecstatic that after close to two decades of being in love with England I can finally say I live here. I choose to take exquisite joy in walking along the spectacular Thames, exploring the magnificent parks and getting to know the many different birds. It may seem strange but walking through my favourite parts of London – even though many of the places I love are closed – is still a thrill. This is a city I have always loved, and I love it no less for being locked down.
But I didn’t set out to gush about London. Here is a brief summary of how I am finding serenity even while driving in the dark:
Mindfulness: Losing myself in things I enjoy
It’s easy to say ‘be mindful while washing the dishes’, but for me, mindfulness comes easiest when I’m happy. When I’m doing something I really enjoy, I find I can lose myself in it. I also happen to believe that when we love doing something it’s worth doing it as much as possible -
provided it’s practical and salubrious.
Perhaps it helps that some of my favourite activities are also calming by nature, such as walking in nature and reading. Still, anything that you can lose yourself in joyfully I believe is a great pathway to living in the moment.
Naturally, when we’re talking about mindfulness and coming back to the present moment, meditation deserves a mention. I re-embraced it during the last year and have found it immensely helpful. Whether it’s five minutes, half an hour or anything in between, I find it helps me re-centre, gain clarity and find a deep level of relaxation.
Sometimes to get my thoughts clear I just need to write them all out. I find a nice quiet spot to sit, usually outdoors at the park, and write listening to the birdsong. I write down everything I’m thinking or feeling, and by the time I’m done, I always feel better.
Letting go of expectations
This is something I am doing a lot these days, and perhaps you are too. In these uncertain times, when plans can change at the drop of a hat, all the ideas we have about how things ‘should be’ need to be re-evaluated.
This can be a good thing. Sometimes when we let go, things unfold in ways that are better than we had originally planned. New opportunities or possibilities present themselves that wouldn’t have otherwise; or perhaps we have a shift in perspective. Sometimes what life plans for us is better than we could have dreamed up for ourselves.
One way or another, I don’t think that being open to wonderful possibilities is ever a bad thing.