In beginning to slowly move back from our collective experiences with illness, pain and loss into the more routined concerns of our life, we would like to contemplate with you some ways in which we can connect earnestly with the many delicate emotions we have been confronted with since the rise of the pandemic. The unprecedented gravity of the global Covid-19 outbreak and the complex realities that it has accrued over the last couple of years have impacted all of us acutely. As we continue to trace our steps into learning how to be with the virus and our related feelings, these are some ways we think can gently lead us toward the path of healing and offer balance.
1.Understanding that we may all respond to crises and loss differently
We all experience pain, fear and loss differently, and our expression of it is often as novel as our experience. Some of us may feel emotions as anger, grief, tension, anxiety, and/ or confusion quite sharply while some may naturally be a little more composed through it. In other moments we may withdraw inward in silence or look to share and voice our distress with a person or by engaging in a physical project. Whatever our (and another’s) nature or disposition of responding to adverse conditions, we think it is essential to be mindful of the fact that there are not (and cannot be) any one or two correct ways of articulating them. Each nuance is truthful in its own right, and has the potency to reveal great depth of our human experience that we must be faithful with.
2.Giving light to and accepting our pain
To experience pain and to accept our pain are distinct subjects. Whereas the former arises of its own accord, the latter is an undertaking that requires conscious exercise at our end. Accepting our pain can feel overwhelming, confusing and agonising to us upon occasion as it is difficult to foretell apriori what we may see or be met with if we look at it squarely. At such a time, it is valuable to have our friends and family who can support us in going deeply into our feelings, or to partake in grounding practices such as writing, moving our body, savouring a warm dish we like etc, if we are by (and with) ourselves. Though such services and spaces cannot by themselves lead us into acceptance, they can brace us when we are organically ready, yet hesitant or afraid to allow it. Allowing that acceptance, whilst fearsome, can bring us closer to feeling safe in our challenging experiences and we encourage you to try to do so slowly.
3.Being mindfully present with our pain
Our pain has a unique language of its own that can show itself intimately when we look at its delicacy. One of the ways in which we can understand this language is by sitting silently and feeling the physical sensations in our body to our (emotional) pain. What is the texture of our pain? Does it feel cold, hot, dense? Is the pain moving downward or upward? Are you able to locate if the pain is centred near the head, chest, solar plexus or elsewhere? At an emotional level, we can ask what primary or central emotional form(s) our pain has. Is it felt as sadness, horror, anger, emptiness or something else? Is it a pure(ly physical) feeling and hence unnamable? Is there hardness to it, or does it feel a little soft? Questions and reflections such as these can prompt us into recognising and being with our experience more completely and honestly. But being with our pain can also involve characteristics other than observing it in quietude – such as while doing everyday chores or at work.
4.Identifying what we need for our healing
As we listen to our feelings and perceive their truths, we will gradually be able to discern what we need to be able to soften our distress and heal. Perhaps we need to take some kind of action, rest, or meditate, or do something ‘constructive’ or ‘wasteful’. We may wish to channel some memories of a loved one we lost in this time, find ways to bid them adieu in manners we previously couldn’t or that are personal to us, or just sit and stay with our pain till it runs its course. Maybe we want to be associated with social services related to providing relief to Covid patients or engage in healthy dissociation through watching television or reading a novel. In as much as we don’t abandon our pain (or our selves) when it displays itself in its rawest forms, we believe that whichever paths we feel are authentic to who we are, are worthy to pursue for finding healing.
5.Seeking assistance through therapy and other professional practices
Our processes and needs may differ through this and other like periods, and consulting a therapist or professional to speak with about our pain or experience(s) can be invaluable. While the above noted ways have been personally instrumental for us at IKKIVI to practice, we are not trained in the diverse and holistic techniques that a professional in the field can entail, and advocate for such an approach if you may be thinking or wanting to pursue it. Please take our listed methods upon yourselves if you feel ready, or in the presence of a loved one, or a practitioner to receive guidance from. Therapy can provide a safe space and articulate structure to express and integrate our emotions, and we think that it is important to destigmatize and normalize talking about our pain in such environments.
The newness, unfamiliarity and effects of a disease at such a vast scale are such that we may find ourselves learning how to be with and in its presence all together again each day. As stepping back into the everyday discourses of our lives can feel uncomfortable through such a time, we believe it may be favourable to enter into them with matters that feel more simple to partake in – both in our homes and at work – as well as to evenly pace ourselves and extend as slowly and swiftly as you like.