Melting into the flow
Of February: “Groundhog found fog. New snows and blue toes. Fine and dandy for Valentine candy. Snow spittin'; if you're not mitten-smitten, you'll be frostbitten! By jing-y feels spring-y.” ― The Old Farmer's Almanac
Happy February! And the new month means that I have a new image on my computer – it’s the snowman pictured above and it's making me grin every time I see it – you can just click on the image if you’d like to download it for yourself. The days are also becoming noticeably longer – with dusk now happening after 5pm and only 46 days to go until the spring equinox :o)
So, how are things with you?
January carried with it a sadness, mainly due to people being taken too soon by the virus and daily death rates feeling like a blow to our collective heart, not to mention losing the wonderfully inspiring Captain Sir Tom Moore only yesterday.
However, it's now starting to feel like there is far more light infusing our journey through this pandemic – just the fact that we’ve now vaccinated over 9.6 million of our most vulnerable is wonderful news. Plus there are 2 more vaccine candidates ready to be scrutinised by the regulators, both of which are highly effective against the virus and the new variants.
However the most excellent vaccine news, as the New York Times put it on Monday is: “All five vaccines with public results have eliminated Covid-19 deaths and have also drastically reduced hospitalisations.” Just pause for a moment to fully absorb this statement – a world in which getting Covid no longer carries a risk of serious illness or death, what a happier place to be heading towards. You can read the full uplifting article here – it’s the perfect counterbalance to the "doomscrolling" we can end up doing especially where the current news of new variants is concerned!
And if that’s not enough to buoy your spirits, we also currently have the planet Venus over our skies, bringing beauty & love. This makes it the perfect week to seek out the beauty in our lives – be it the beauty of our work, the beauty of our home, the beauty of a sleeping animal or child, not to mention the beauty of the natural world of which we are but a tiny part. So my suggested activity this week is to wear a jumper of a beautiful uplifting colour and to put a plant or flowers or object of beauty in a place where you will notice and admire it every day. I’m wearing an old favourite as I write this – a jumper in my favourite shade of yellowy green and I’ve moved a pot of pretty succulents (that have survived my benign neglect style of houseplant care!!) onto my desk where I can see it right now. What will remind YOU of the beauty in the world this week?
Behind the scenes in my treatment room
Now the eagle eyed among you will have noticed that I didn’t send a newsletter last week and that was because time literally flew by as I got to grips with a bunch of new software apps.
I’m actually thinking of these apps as a bunch of beautiful spring flowers, as eventually they will all work in harmony and be as pleasing to the senses as a lovely bouquet. In the meantime I need to keep this visualisation in mind while learning how to get each one to work efficiently! Maybe Venus can help me really appreciate the beauty of each one – as each piece of tech represents hours and hours of love and care from the developers, only for users like me to come along and immediately point out all the flaws in their beautiful bloom!!
Anyway, I’m progressing well in using and starting to integrate these bits of software with one another, but it sucks up hours of time and becomes totally absorbing and immersing. So if you find yourself with too much time on your hands and you need a diversion, then give learning a new piece of tech/software a try – before you know it the day, the week, the month, the whole of lockdown will have flown by!
My tech flower of the week is Canva – a beautiful dusky pink rose in my flowery bunch. Canva is great fun once you learn how to use a few of its many tools – it’s fabulous for creating beautiful graphics, be that a virtual (or printed) personalised birthday card for a friend or for quotes and images on social media. There is no limit to the colours or pictures or styles or fonts you can use – yes I admit I’m addicted!! And it’s completely free to use (unless you want to create complex headers and logos) so well worth a go if you fancy being digitally creative.
"Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself." ― Rumi (13th-century Persian poet)
The carpeting of snow we were treated to last week got me thinking (as well as getting me outside to make a snowman with my 14-year old, I love the fact that snow brings out the inner child in all of us!) In Traditional Oriental medicine, the season of winter is associated with the water element and in Jin Shin both of these are represented by the index finger. So as you read on, you might like to hold your index finger (photo below if you want to check how to hold it).
Now we know that water is absolutely essential for life, that it is the largest constituent of our body and of our planet. Water is also associated with cleansing, allowing us to wash away the daily grime we accumulate physically as well as emotionally (through our tears). However like everything else, we need our water element to be in balance, because too much water can literally bog us down and put out our fire – our spark for life.
The state which water is in also has a big influence on us and in the winter, water is often around in its solid state - as ice and snow – beautiful to look at but often outstaying its welcome when we want to get out and about without risking breaking a limb!
Now our index finger is also the finger to hold when we feel nervous or fearful. So by holding this finger we can acknowledge and then release our fear – be it fear of the virus, fear of the future, fear of there not being enough vaccine, fear of there not being enough toilet roll …..
There is also that well known acronym of FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real. In Jin Shin we think of fear this way – of being a distorted view or misperception of our life and it also gives us a lovely way of observing and acknowledging this emotion and then allowing it to melt away – by simply holding our index finger.
Or as I’ve decided to think of it: allowing the sunshine to melt away our snowman of fear!
So yes I want you to consider picturing fear as a snowman – I know I know – we love snowmen and we’re not so keen on fear! But bear with me for a moment, because for one, thinking of fear as a snowman means we are no longing fearing fear itself. Also while we often love to build and gaze at a snowman, if that snowy blob hung around all year, he might start to outstay his welcome. Especially if he’s in the middle of our garden because now the bulbs planted under him are unable to break through the surface and bloom.
Whereas if our snowman is allowed to follow his natural rhythm, he will slowly start to melt as the sun shines and the temperature warms up. And over time as he slowly melts, he is watering the ground beneath him, nourishing the soil in which the dormant bulbs are poised, waiting until the time is right to start to sprout and grow and peak their leafy heads out of the ground.
So I would suggest that there is a time and a place for snowmen and the fact that they are often fleeting is part of their charm. What if we thought about the emotion of fear in the same way – there is a time and a place for it (as it keeps us safe), however if it lingers around there is not enough space for other things to blossom and bloom. And if we picture fear as a snowman then we free ourselves from tensing up at the mere thought of being in a state of fear.
Where am I going with all this you may well ask! Well it’s because we are putting ourselves into the state of fear many times over the course of a typical day – every time we activate the fight/flight/freeze response of the sympathetic nervous system – also called the Stress response. Now if we come out of this state fairly quickly and easily, no harm is done – fear can be just another cloud of emotion passing through our inner sky.
The trouble comes when we stay stuck in this stress state for any length of time, as it then affects us physically and mentally. Mentally we start to look at everything through a lens of lack – lack of going out, lack of seeing friends/family in person, lack of money, of food or natural resources – not much fun to be had in this state. Physically when we get stuck in fear, we often start holding our breath and not fully exhaling – which in turn means we can’t then fully inhale (we can only let into the lungs the volume of air we’ve just let out). So now we are in a place of shallow breathing which ironically reinforces this state of fear.
However, there is another way – we can allow ourselves to slowly melt just like a snowman in the sunshine. Instead of literally being stuck like a solid lump of snow, our fear can melt away into a liquid that flows out of us easily and readily taking with it all the stress and tension. As the 13th century Persian poet Rumi put it “Be melting snow. Wash yourself of yourself.” – how perfect is that!
So try holding your index finger and allow yourself to start melting back into the flow of life – allowing life to flow through us as we in turn flow through our life. Breathing out fear and breathing in joy – what could feel better!
If you'd like to listen to an audio guided meditation about holding your index finger, then all you need to do is subscribe to my newsletter where I put all the free audio and video meditations.
Here’s to finding the beauty in our daily lives this week.
With warmest wishes
Melting like a snowman. Melting into the flow.