Getting scared when lockdown ends
Having lived with our own individual version of lockdown, we can easily get scared at the big change of its ending.
“You have power over your mind – not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength.” Marcus Aurelius
Human beings are adaptable and are also strongly habit-forming. So if changes are forced upon them, like lockdown and then they can establish new habits and these work well (such that generally speaking they live a life where essential emotional and physical needs are reasonably well met) well then humans may be reluctant to change back. They will find that “I’m getting scared when lockdown ends.”
Is this you? If so listen to this audio and enjoy the full audio script that follows.
They will be focusing on the ways their lockdown life is agreeable and finding that when they recall their pre-lockdown life, their focus is on the problems, challenges and difficulties they faced back then and yes, they don’t like the thought of lockdown ending.
And of course is doesn’t help if you believe that their fellow citizens are a potential source of disease for themselves and their loved one – rather than a part of that great and miraculously complex web of connectivity that was the broadly healthy society and economy within which they prospered.
And yes, the fear of lockdown ending will stay alive and perhaps even thrive even if we know that it is fundamentally unsustainable. It’s not just that with lockdown our immune system is becoming less robust, but life is becoming too easy and soft.
You could say that we all can forget the fundamental truth which is that you need to “use it or lose it”. And then as the awareness of losing it become stronger, it is all too easy to hide away and lock away – to be getting scared when lockdown ends.
SCRIPT: Getting scared when lockdown ending
Eels in Tokyo zoo are having a hard time with lockdown and becoming really scared whenever they see a human, because they are seeing so few. But penguins at London zoo are doing much better, presumably finding that life has not changed too much. Would you say you were closer to an eel or a penguin?
I guess I’m more interested in the penguin rather than the eel and you should be too. But might you be a variant of the penguin who has adjusted to lockdown all too well and is fearful about going back to the challenges, temptations and stress of pre-coronavirus where your fellow citizen is your friend rather than a threat.
So, how have you dealt with lockdown and the prospects of its transition to a “new normal”? How many marks out of ten would you give yourself? How have your circumstances been and how well have you been able to get your essential emotional needs met? And how about this – to what degree has your life actually been fundamentally altered by the change? For many, lockdown has been transformational and very challenging while for others, life has carried on much as before and has been quite pleasant or dare I say it, extremely pleasant.
But as you ponder the next stage and how life will be as you have the opportunity to again engage outside – visiting, shopping, working, travelling, stressing, being challenged and engaging with the outside world and your fellow citizens?
Are you looking forward to this change? Or would one part of you prefer that the current situation however unusual could carry on? And is there a fear arising as you project disruption, noise, busyness and most of all, the personal challenge of normal life such that you would rather not have to deal with?
And so, are you scared when lockdown ends?
If so, what you can do now is listen to me as I slow down and calm down and you open yourself to being aware of some of those deeply held feelings of fear and discomfort as to what lies on the horizon. Are you aware of how easy it will be for you to completely let go now as you are listening to me? And as you let go and there is comfort and calm and you find that you don’t have to push and pull at all.
That’s right, deepening down and feeling heavier and heavier. Time is slowing and almost stopping and as time slows to an almost top you are free to be deeply the best that you are and the feelings of confidence and strength have there now.
Imagine you’re walking outside down a path and the further you walk outside along the path, that path can become steeper and narrower and there are boulders and rocks in your way. But then you notice something remarkable. Even as the path is hardening and there are more stones, crevices and bumps you find it easier. And the more you practice and the more you clamber and you can go steeper and steeper and move more freely and easily. Are you imagining that?
Right now you have all the time you need to build yourself up, to imagine using and doing and using and doing again and again. And whenever you choose you can rest for a little and you may even choose to come back to the safety and security of your warm home – before you move out again and that path is travelling higher and higher and you are stronger and stronger.
We all know that we can start with small steps and then bigger steps and bigger steps still and before we know we’ve moved a long way, don’t we? And it doesn’t take many days for us to feel the stronger muscles in our legs and our expanding lungs as we begin just get on with it. And how much better we begin to feel? You are more alive, more alert and fitter and stronger. And as you feel fitter and stronger and you imagine back to how it was before those first steps, you can feel so grateful that you took those first steps, can’t you?
For what you are doing is fitting in and restoring your place in that great and glorious web of the full life that we lead – that web of connections, of buying and selling, making and giving and taking and learning and creating with all of those many millions who fit into the infinite variety of the great web of our life.
Of course it’s nice for a short period of time to take a holiday and sit in the sun by the pool but after a time you can become too soft and too comfortable. You can become bored and listless. Can you imagine not being able to move at all, no longer calm and comfortable but trapped in softness? You know that you need to use it, or you will lose it.
And be excited about the opportunities and be accepting the risk from the challenge. After all you risk every time you cross the road but what do you wish to stay marooned on the pavement or the sidewalk? We now know that the coronavirus is just a infinitesimal small risk for most and only a visible risk for very few. So you are ready to throw over those shackles, step into the path and build up your muscles and resistance and be excellently excited and excited in the adventure.
Very good and now I will count down and you can return. 5 4 3 2 1
Do please listen to this again and again as you build up your muscles and regain your spirit.