I was doing ok, and then I realised that the next time I see my Nan’s wrinkly old face and grey-blue eyes might not be for months and months from now, and I cried.
This is grief.
I wasn’t doing ok, and then my kid told me that “Tomorrow, I’m just going to wear my undies all day, Mummy. Nothing else. And you’re to call me Captain Underpants, ok?” I smiled and kissed the top of his sweaty little head.
This is bone-deep love.
I was doing ok, and then a woman standing close to me in the bread aisle at the supermarket coughed really aggressively and loudly, and I backed away. And then I felt bad for backing away. And then I worried all the way home about whether she unknowingly had Covid-19 and now what if she’d given it to me?
This is anxiety.
I wasn’t doing ok, and then I read an article that air pollution in London has fallen so dramatically since the capital’s Covid-19 lockdown, that monitors used to measure toxicity are alerting the data collectors to possible faults with the readings.
This is a silver-lining.
I was doing ok. From the kitchen window, I watched as my kid, full of joy and excitement and ease, ran around our giant garden. He is safe and secure and has no idea what’s going on in the world right now. And then I thought about the millions of children in the world, isolating in chaotic, unloving, unsafe homes, and my stomach felt heavy.
This is concern. And guilt.
I wasn’t doing ok and then a client emailed me and asked “How are you, Liz? You’re probably supporting everyone else right now. Is someone supporting you?”
This is empathy.
I was doing ok, I was out on a soul-soothing walk, listening to my favourite podcast, when I noticed a guy walking towards me with a dog the size of a horse. I crossed over the road because I was scared of his dog. The man gave me a bemused look and I realised that he probably thought I had crossed the road because I didn’t want to be near him. I wanted to run after him and explain why I had behaved that way, but then I figured that that would be a weird thing to do, and anyway, we’re actually supposed to keep a metre apart from people, whether they have a giant scary horse dog or not, right? Or is it 2 metres. I don’t even fucking know anymore, it’s all got very confusing.
This is all-over-the-placeness.
I wasn’t doing ok, and then I called my Nan and she told me that she was running out of teabags. My Nan drinks 875 cups of tea a day (or thereabouts), so running out of teabags is A DISASTER in my Nan’s world. I called her again the next day and she gleefully told me that one of her carers had just dropped some teabags off at her house, despite it being her day off. She didn’t have to do that. But she did.
This is kindness. And gratitude.
I was ok, and then I had a couple of potential new clients decide not to go ahead with coaching, due to the emotional and economic uncertainty of the world right now. And I understood their reasons. But I also panicked. Because I have bills to pay and food to put on the table for my family. If I can’t do that, then what?
This is fear.
This is life.
This is what it means to be human.
This is so incredibly hard, isn’t it?
And yet all I can do, with my ping-ponging emotions, and all you can do, with your ping-ponging emotions, is soften.
And allow my emotions in. To observe them with curiosity. To try not to judge or react or declare a state of emergency in my own mind.
In a coaching session yesterday, a dear client said, “Before all of this, I often felt desperate for the world to just stop. But now it has. And I don’t know how I feel about that.”
I nodded my head.
Neither do I.
But I know that I must feel.
All of it.