Updated: Apr 9
A mindfulness practice to quieten overwhelm, and celebrate the unexpected amidst huge, rapid change.
On the night before full moon we gathered for a magickal night of connection, sisterhood, sacred self-care and spiritual practice. It was the night of my first online sister circle, held in place of our usual monthly intimate in-person event, as a result of COVID-19 measures to limit potential contact and spread.
For each circle I hold, I create a theme, a meditation, and a reflective practice to support those who attend to delve deeper into their truth to find awareness, healing and loving support for whatever they are experiencing at that time. In this post I'm sharing what we explored together because what is medicine for one, is usually relevant and healing for others too. Here goes...
Our April 2020 circle theme was "Silver Linings". The theme came together for me, finally, in the middle of the day of the circle. Talk about last minute! Until then I’d felt exhausted, mind foggy, unclear, and crowded. I’d experienced a full range of emotions each and every day over the last couple of weeks since the full onset of government instructions to lock down and distance came into effect, and sometimes I’ve felt several strong emotions across the space of just an hour. So intuitively creating a circle theme and practice became just too far out of reach for my overloaded system. I decided a week ago to just let go and wait for divine guidance to arrive, so as not to force it, or wind up creating something not ultimately supportive.
When I first called in this circle, my intention was to be of service, support, and to bringing healing to those who came.
Beyond that though, the theme wouldn’t present itself. I did have faith that ultimately it would emerge when the time was right. On the morning of circle however, I felt no closer, no clearer. I’m sure that living in an upside-down world of a pandemic can do these things to you. Come mid-morning I began to feel a pinch of anxiety that I had only an afternoon remaining to create a theme, a meditation, and spiritual practices to explore in circle. What would happen if I didn’t, couldn’t? Surely now was the time if it was ever going to happen... But still experience reminded me to have faith that it would indeed work out.
Later in the morning before lunch I went and fed my baby in the dark of her room. In the pitch black, the silence and stillness, I allowed my mind to wander. She wanders best in these moments. All kinds of intuition, intelligence and divine creativity has revealed itself to me in those blissful still moments. And my mind did wander, thankfully. This is how the wisdom came to me so clearly today. When I emerged from the dark, quiet room, I wrote down all the wisdom that poured itself out onto my notebook, trusting, and knowing deeply that this experience is the medicine for circle tonight. Here’s what landed…
We’re now a few weeks into this pandemic.
Life has already changed: our routines shattered, the old rulebook torn up and thrown out the window. Our pace of life has drastically reduced by necessity rather than choice, even for those of us who quietly longed for slowness. Our old ways of living are gone. Our old measures of productivity are no longer relevant. Old values have been brought under question.
Maybe you’re currently living alone and have little outside contact with the world, or you are all cooped up together as a family. Or maybe you’re parenting whilst trying to home-school and run a business, or maybe you’re wondering whether you’ll still have a job at the end of all this. However it is, we each are experiencing the same thing together – yet slightly differently. We are each impacted in many ways, some the same, some not.
As we navigate such rapid, deep transformational change, we inevitably have good days and bad. The good days may be lovely, joyful even, but the bad days can be so bad that they really undermine our self-belief, our strength, our confidence in our ability to steward ourselves, and family and our business if relevant, through to the other side. The bad days can bring us to our knees.
The self-criticism has the potential to de-rail us, and to make us feel like failures if we don’t navigate it how we wished we could. Some days we are able to shrug it off and call it a day, and other days we feel our limit reached, pushed past capacity, and we can no longer contain the swell and turbulence of emotion waving back and forth within. I’ve had days like these. And they’ve been shitty. I’m sure I’m not alone.
A new normal emerges
With the shock of the situation each and every one of us finds ourselves in beginning to melt away, we’re finding that beneath what we knew, lies a form of acceptance, and also, of wonder.
As we begin to adapt and adjust, we are beginning to see glimpses of possibility at the new ways of living and being. Of what might change and never go back. Of what might be finally lost or left behind forever. Of how we might innovate, create or adapt for the better. Of our truest, deepest values and how we can find more alignment with them in our day to day.
I’ve observed how so many people are using this time to set themselves rather large goals, rightly or wrongly, such as lose all the weight and get super fit, meditate all the time, learn a new language, start a new business, read their mountain of books they’ve never had time to read before.
Goals it seems, are what is getting many people through. They may have the highest of intentions, but this is still measuring success by productivity and achievement. And in a pandemic, I’m not sure that’s either relevant or helpful.
Remember: you've done this before
Since we are all slowing down, like, right down, we have the opportunity to redefine what success in a pandemic looks like to us. And we can choose to shower ourselves with huge self-compassion instead of guiltily labelling ourselves a failure, if and when we fall. Because chances are, we will. Yet, we must have faith in our bones, and our female bodies and rhythms to fall, to die, and to be re-born. It is our way.
As we experience overwhelm, grief, rage, sadness, frustration, and so much more, as and when it comes, we have a choice. We can choose to orient back towards love, pleasure, joy and gratitude. We can choose to shift away from fear, back towards love.
When all the structure and rhythm we had before has disintegrated, we can be reminded how to face our own true north by choosing to celebrate small pleasures, the simples things, and the silver linings. We can choose to seek out love and self-compassion, instead of fall into the spiral of despair.
Choose Pleasure. Simple pleasure
Many of us are on lockdown or are isolating at best. We’re stuck at home, and by now it might be starting to feel uncomfortable, frustrating and claustrophobic. And the big pleasures, as I call them for this purpose, that is the more extravagant or planned ways we might automatically have thought to pursue pleasure even a month ago, are quite possibly now out of reach to us.
We now aren’t able to holiday, or gather with friends for a night out, or even spend a day with extended family. There’s no day trips to visit galleries, museums, or other family attractions. No dinner and movie dates. Even the beach is off-limits for some of us! Intimacy may be way off the spectrum of what feels good right now. And so, it becomes a devotional practice to turn to face and meet pleasure in times like this.
It's in the little things
When we don’t have our big pleasures so readily, instead we have to be more mindful, more conscious and more intentional about finding pleasure. We do still have the simple everyday pleasures we can turn to, because little pleasures are plentiful.
From the quality of the sunlight, the beauty of nature, the scent of fragrant flowers, or oils, or perfume. The sweetness of hugs. The pleasure of rubbing your own neck. The feel of silk across the skin. The texture of your bedsheets. The heat of a shower. The smell of your morning coffee. The freshness of fruit, or the crunch of home-grown produce. The pleasure of silence. Pleasure is all around us.
Full Moon illuminations
In planning circle I also pondered on the moon, because she always has wisdom to share. And she did not disappoint. I considered how tomorrow night is full moon, and how in her full glory the moon shines her celestial, divine light down upon us, illuminating everything so clearly as she does. Isn’t it incredible how her silvery light rains down on us in our darkest times? How it’s such a gift that at full moon it is possible for us to see everything for what it truly is: the light and the dark, the helpful and the unhelpful. The possibilities ahead, and what we can leave behind. That quiet time in Freya’s room today showed me that in our darkest times, we have the moon to thank for reminding us to notice and be thankful for our silver linings. To have faith in the light.
Mother Mary's Wisdom
So then, synchronously, this afternoon I pulled a card for us from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Deck by Doreen Virtue. I received ‘Mother Mary ~ Expect A Miracle: “Have faith that your prayers have been heard and are being answered.”
Message From Mother Mary:
“Faith is the light that illuminates your pathway. Without faith, the future looks very frightening. That is why it is essential for you to take whatever steps are necessary to keep your mind and heart filled with faith. Please do not give up hoe on yourself or other people. Keep the candle of faith burning within your soul., as that one small inkling of hope can eradicate the darkness of despair. Be the light that eliminates someone else’s gloomy hopelessness as well. For as you make others stronger, it strengthens not only yourself but the entire world.”
Various Meanings Of This Card:
Let go of worrisome thoughts. Keep your thoughts positive. Notice and follow any Divine guidance you may receive. Pray. Engage in spiritual healing.”
(taken from the Goddess Guidance Oracle Deck by Doreen Virtue)
Activity: Journal prompts
These swirling thoughts and combined inspiration got me thinking...
How can we celebrate the small pleasures and the silver linings to help us find our true north again, when all feels so unstable?
What silver linings are you beginning to notice, as we uncover our own new ways of being?
I'm going to leave you with the invitation to to consider this for yourself, too...
Closing your eyes now, getting still, can you notice any wisdom coming up for you? Spend some time now pondering what this means to you, what arises, what thoughts and feelings? It might feel really clear, or uncertain, or blank, even. Maybe you have a feeling, or maybe the wisdom is yet to land.
Taking your journal, write down whatever thoughts, feelings, images, emotions, colours, or other experience comes through for you as you ponder what silver linings have revealed themselves to you, and how you might orient back to simple pleasures over old measures of success.
How can you integrate these insights into daily life, in the most self-compassionate way you can?
And let me know how you find this - I always really love to hear your perspective, your wisdom, since we all have slightly different takes on life. Remember, what is medicine for you, is probably medicine for many others too, so I'd love you to leave a comment below...
Charlotte holds sacred circles monthly online, and will resume in-person circles after things settle down post-pandemic. Subscribe to receive your invitation to upcoming circles, free meditation tracks, and wisdom