Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on unsplash.com
In recent months, our world seems to be in a permanent state of crisis. There’s a global pandemic, people have lost their jobs and incomes, there’s civil unrest in several countries. In the US and elsewhere, Black people and their allies stand up to demand they finally be treated equally and fairly. Don’t even get me started on the climate crisis and the acute emergency it creates in certain nations that are quite literally sinking into the ocean as we speak.
There were a few common themes in the conversations I’ve had in recent weeks. My paying clients, but also friends and Wild Spirits I simply chatted to all said that they feel preoccupied and overwhelmed. Many find it hard to concentrate on their work or even their passion and their joy. Others are simply exhausted from the struggles and the emotional burden of what they’ve been going through. Almost everyone feels like it’s not the time and place to prioritise their passion and focus on joy.
Let’s try and unpack this subject, because there are many different layers to it. I call them the 7 truths, and like Salome’s veils I’d like to peel them off one by one.
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1. Being joyful doesn’t mean you don’t care
Let’s get the big one out of the way first. Depending on where you live in the world, you may witness different injustices and raw suffering. It’s hard for a compassionate human to look the other way, and thankfully, that’s not what’s required.
It doesn’t help those who are suffering one bit if you suffer along with them. You can be an activist if you want to, or sign petitions, educate yourself and others, and still have joy in your life. It’s not all or nothing. In fact, your being joyful contributes to improving things, so it’s the opposite of being selfish (more about that later).
2. Examine your underlying beliefs about passions
There’s a subtle judgment in our thinking that times like these don’t leave space for passions. That’s the belief we all have soaked up from our society all our lives and which has taken root deep in our subconsious. It’s the belief that passions and joy are trivial things, luxuries, which you’re only allowed to pay attention to once the “important tasks” are done.
You may not consciously believe this, but trust me, you have internalised it on some level. Rather than denying it, it’s far more constructive to become conscious of this fact, and openly oppose the belief by deliberately doing what lights you up – even if you have to nudge yourself.
3. Certain things will take over your time temporarily
This is something the multi-passionates/scanners amongst us are experts at already. The rest of ye can learn from us: There are always times when certain things take over. If you have a new baby, you’ll spend most of your time and effort on that little human for at least a year or two. When there’s a global pandemic, it’s bound to soak up a lot of attention and emotional energy.
Muti-passionates usually have one or two dominant passions at a time, and we all need to learn not to feel guilty about the others during those times. It’s what it truly means to “go with the flow”. The trick is to allow the dominance of one theme, whilst still gently reminding yourself to do other important things as well. If you will, it’s learning to successfully multitask without driving yourself nuts.
4. You need to preserve your energy
If current events or a cause you believe in take up a lot of attention, it’s easy to lose yourself in it and completely overdo it, especially if you are a caring person and/or personally affected by what’s going on.
Wild Spirits tend to care deeply, so I’ve had a lot of conversations recently with folks who are exhausted, physically and emotionally. To avoid having this happen to you, or to start bouncing back if you’re already there, the first step is to remember your basic physical needs. Make sure you eat regularly (and reasonably well) and sleep regular and sufficient hours. It’s amazing at the difference these things can make after only a few days.
5. You need Self-Care and downtime
After the emergency rescue of No. 4, you need to go a step further and remember that you’re not a machine. You need time to recharge. After all, you’re no good to anyone if you’re burning out or having a breakdown, physically and/or emotionally.
Remember to take time away from everything, even those you love. You need times when nothing is required of you. This could be rest, a walk in nature, a bubble bath, an evening with a book. Also make sure to stay away from media – including social – during those times. It’s of vital importance to switch off regularly, in the literal as well as the figurative sense.
6. Connection is more important than ever
We’ve been told to isolate, but that doesn’t mean we need to be lonely. In some countries we’re allowed to meet friends again. Use these opportunities to connect, have a heart-to-heart, deep conversations in person, hugs. If you’re still in lockdown, reach out to people via phone or Skype/Zoom and if you live with family or a partner, make the most of that, too. Rather than just living next to each other, be sure to have meaningful conversations as well as fun times doing things you love together.
Joy in 2020. Photo by Noah Silliman on unsplash.com
7. Your Joy in 2020 can help heal the world
Lastly, understand that you contribute to the healing of the world, not only by actively participating and getting heard, but also by your energy. This is why it’s important – not just to you, but to everyone – that you consciously take time to focus on your passion.
When your soul is lit up, it’ll radiate the highest possible vibration, joy and love. Look around you: isn’t that what the world needs most right now? This does not mean to spiritually bypass and ignore the very real issues at hand. Like I said before, it’s not all or nothing. You can be responsible and active and do your part, and still find time to connect to the joy of your passion or passions.
In fact, it’s not just possible, it’s necessary. This is our task right now, and it’s not easy, but learning it is possibly the most important survival skill for 2020. Not only will it help us survive, but it’ll make us thrive, and that energy helps to heal the world.