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39. Finding the familiar

As lockdown eases some of us may be wondering why it is that this week feels rocky, rockier than perhaps the last few have been, even in the face of all the hard news. The psychologists amongst us will know that our preferences for the familiar are hard-wired, even random shapes are preferred if we have seen them before. So, this week sees yet more changes in the unfamiliar, altered routines maybe, new freedom, a new set of worries, new rules, new social etiquette to learn.

Lockdown has felt familiar, we have gotten used to it, so coming out of lockdown can also feel unsettling. Changing the way, we work and come together can feel unsettling, we like and know our routine, but new routines have brought us comfort and reassurance too.

We can also use our mindfulness practice to support us. Shifting attention to somewhere neural in the body, abiding here so that it becomes familiar – the feat, the seat, the hands or the breath – somewhere for you that feels safe (often called grounding practice) can be hugely settling when we feel displaced elsewhere in the world.

When we feel unsettled we can place our attention to a part of our body and make that place familiar, when we do this it affords our mind a bit of a break too from all the worries that often circulate.

If you find yourself feeling unsettled, here is a short practice for you to play around with. Let your body guide you on your needs on where best to settle.

A little afterthought that sits with me after listening to a podcast by the Yogi Sadhguru on the topic of fear, 'Take the 100 things that you have feared, probably 99 of these things have never happened. Your fear is always about that which does not exist. You cannot fight or overcome that which does not exist. We can overcome something that exists…you cannot overcome that which does not exist, you just must give up that effort. Enjoy the fear, after all it is your making. You like horror movies? You say no, but you are producing them, it's just they are not making money is all'.

What type of movie can you create for yourself today? I am thinking of a gardening programme where all my courgette plants grow and thrive! It is way better than reality at the mo.

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