Hello my darling, how are you? This last month has seen us witness a global pandemic escalate into mammoth proportions in a way that many of us have never witnessed before. 

I know I certainly haven’t.

And yet, in many ways, I have also felt blessed. I watched some as some of my colleagues impress me with how quickly they started streaming their offerings, almost as efficiently as the coronavirus impacted us on an epic scale. 

patty-kiks-covidMy response was more of a reluctant trudge as my 1:1 sessions and 6 month soul support program leisurely meandered their way to zoom meetings. It turns out that there’s nothing like a world wide impact to show me that my responses are built more for comfort, than for speed.

But to be fair, working as a celebrant or social worker in Child Protection for foster kids is considered frontline, and it’s taken a minute for me to adjust to how hectic these last 6 weeks have been. 

If there was any hesitant non committal person hoping to use COVID 19 as an excuse to bail out on a wedding, they sure didn’t choose me as a celebrant. If anything, those ceremony dates were bought forward in case Australia went into lockdown. 

The jury is still out on whether that was a smart move or not, as familiarity can breed contempt when you’re both working from home. One day you’re both looking forward to having dinner together, and the next week you accuse each there of blinking too loudly, while you both adjust to working from home. 

The hardest part about working with kids has been to remind them of social distancing, and in many  cases where we’ve worked hard to earn trust over time, telling them that they cannot sit on my lap right now has gone against the grain of my soul.

When words from our leaders were initially vague and laden with mixed messages, I watched my own nervous system became confused. I’ve also watched myself oscillate between extreme reactions with beach closures, initially feeling angry and indignant when surfers continued to surf. I used words like ‘entitled’, and coined phrases such as ‘lack of solidarity’, only to watch myself access the same local hidey holes to go swimming a week later. 

Hypocritical much? Yep. And I own it. 

And that’s the thing about confusion, anger or irritation, it’s always valuable, so long as it makes a special guest appearance in your nervous system, instead of having a starring role. As an individual that holds regular meetings with the different parts of your soul, you want to be able to give your shadow a turn to voice its opinion, you just don’t want it to run the show. 

If it does, it will have an impact on your nervous system that won’t be sustainable for your health, much less your growth. 

Anger is only as effective as the amount of self worth and power you have, and when I say power, I mean your ability to remain neutral and detached to a specific outcome. It also refers to your ability to assert a boundary with what you hear from someone else and how it gets delivered, as well as your capacity to hear another perspective that contradicts your own – without taking it on. 

Now, more than ever before, we are shown whether we have the capacity to stay grounded in our power while disagreeing with our loved one. The ability to part ways and harbour no hard feelings is tricky when you cannot actually leave.

Despite being the only person on instagram who has NOT baked banana bread, or bread, I’ve watched the COVID kilos pile on, as my button and button hole started social distancing from each other, I’ve been reminded of situations in my youth when I felt disempowered and ‘stuck’. Many of you have shared that you feel a similar sensation with your current living situation. 

This feeling started from our family of origin and then as we grew into adults, evolved into discussion of extremes such as opposing religions, views on vaccinations or even politics. To be honest, up til a few years ago, even these exchanges would have been difficult for me to vocalise harmoniously.  

This is a time when so many of our attachments, belief structures and inherited patterns – both as an individual and a society are being re examined.

We are all literally editing our story.

Some are wistfully wishing for what they shall do “when all of this is over”, while others have realised that prior lives and lifestyles will never be lived in the same way again.

Many of my therapists and mentors over the years have highlighted the importance of “being able to thrive outside your bubble.” Over the years, I’ve discovered that this is achievable through practice, relinquishing the need for perfection, embracing ‘mistakes’ as vital lessons and most importantly, being aware of what your nervous system needs in order to feel safe. 

Most of all, it helps to allow the activated emotion to find the time to come back to ‘neutral’, as never in the history of telling someone that is livid to calm down, have they ever calmed down. By remaining neutral, we click into our power as our neutrality helps us detach from a specific outcome – especially regarding someone’s changed behaviour. 

Many parents and professionals in the wellness are encouraged to ‘hold the space’ for their children or clients, and while this is a wonderful space to be in temporarily, it’s not sustainable if we don’t get a break from it. 

If we can teach ourselves to go into ‘sleep’ mode, we have the opportunity to lead by example by learning to remain grounded in ourselves, without the knee jerk reaction of fixing / saving or even enabling someone else’s process. 

Theoretically it sounds delicious, but is it easy to practice?

In times like this when our self regulating needs, parenting values and work ethics are in conflict with anyone who is sharing an abode with us, our nervous systems are more stretched, but we need to harness them more than ever in order to stand out ground, without feeling uprooted or off kilter by a different need, projection or opinion. 

I’ve joked about how divorce rates will go through the roof, but so will birth rates. Coronababies are already set to replace millennials which is bad news for someone like me who is part Amish when it comes to my technological aptitude. 

Oh well. At least I know all the secret local ways to access the ocean. There’s always that. And on a last note, my schedule has finally opened up a little more for appointments – thank you for your patience, and your messages of love – your emails always brighten my day! 

Patty Kikos