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Holding On In Hard Times

By Bernie Bell

I nearly went there yesterday.

What’s happening in the world, in Britain, in our lives, gathered into a wave, which nearly caught me and took me, spiralling down into the whirlpool of “What’s the point?”

But I stopped myself.

I sat down, did deep breathing and relaxation exercises, and HELD ON.

I held on to the positives – calmed my mind in time with my breathing.

It’s hard, though, when you constantly struggle with the dark wave, then more stuff turns up, to add to its strength.

It’s hard to keep your head above water, and to keep on treading water.

But – you have to. Well, you don’t have to – it’s your choice – but it’s worth having a go.

Go on, have a go – go on go on go on go on go on go on go….on.

Hold on.

Here’s my breathing /relaxation exercise – I hope it helps…

If feeling anxious, un-settled, etc……………..

Pause, take some deep breaths, in….and out….in…and out…in….and out, deep breathes.  Then, say to yourself….”Relax, be calm, let all the tension, and all the fretting…….. fade away……..just fade away….relax, be calm….and let all the tension, and all the fretting………fade  away.

Keep repeating this, along with deep, slow breathing, fitting the  breathing to the rhythm of the words, and the rhythm of the words to the breathing.

Then, start at the top of your head, and relax each part of your body.

Relax your scalp, imagine your scalp, relaxing, the tension easing, relaxing, then, down, past your eyes, nose, and mouth, relaxing your jaw and then your chin. Down….over your neck, then your shoulders, arms,  hands and fingers.  Then….your chest and upper back, your tummy and lower  back, relaxing, easing, relaxing, letting all the muscles, ease and relax, and the tension, slip away.  Then, your hips, your thighs, your knees, then your shins and calves, and your feet and toes.  Just relax, all the way down your body, whilst breathing deep breathes, slow and steady.  Then, pause for a while, just Be-ing…..breathing……relaxed, at ease…..then………

move on, to  doing something else, preferably something pleasant!

This is something you can do, anytime, anywhere, when needed, to relax yourself and to distract you from what is happening.

Another approach, for you when/if you get anxious……………..

Again, pause, stop yourself, and……………………think of something pleasant, detach yourself from the action you were about to do, and think of something else, strongly.  Something pleasant, or interesting – to distract you.

Here’s another thing I do – I get relaxed, then I take myself somewhere …one favourite is as follows –

There’s a place with a lake, and by the lake, a hill with trees on it. It’s a fine day, I walk round by the lake, then up the hill, through the trees, dappled sunshine through deciduous leaves. I arrive at a cave, and I go in. There is a fire there. I sit by the fire, and look into the fire, and out through the entrance of the cave, to the landscape beyond, and I …just…am there. Sometimes, characters turn up, unbidden – one time, a small furry thing, something like a wombat. Another time, a big, sort-of crystal shape, with facets, with a face in it – sounds worrying, it wasn’t –  it was the face of a man I used to pass when walking to and from school. He was a hermit who lived in a cave on Shipley Glen, and he’d….walk.  He wore sandals, and a brown, sack-cloth sort of garment, in all weathers. He had long hair and a beard.  He walked, and smiled, waved at people – and he turned up, in the crystal shape, just, smiling.

Your choice, and experiences, might be different.

The main idea is to distract you from your intended, anxious, action, and take you to a pleasant action, to something which you like to do, and which feels good.

Hold on.

wild flowers Hoxa Head Bell

wild flowers Hoxa Head credit: Bell

4 replies »

  1. I wrote that a couple of weeks ago.
    Since then, in the last couple of weeks, I find that I value my life more than I did.
    It was a struggle, all time, to deal with how I felt, and I often felt that I wouldn’t mind ‘stepping off the wheel’. I realised yesterday that I now value my life more than I did. I hope that I don’t step off the wheel, not for a while yet anyway – and that I don’t get pushed off the wheel either, by that feckin’ virus!

    I’m holding on – not so much by the skin of my teeth now. I don’t know why this should be so – maybe seeing what is happening to others, and hoping that it won’t happen to so many others, makes me value my life more too.

    Maybe sheer defiance in the face of that feckin’ virus, comes into it.

    I don’t really know, what I do know is – that I’m not wading through treacle, at the moment – I’m …..stepping a bit more lightly through this world, and hoping that others get the chance to do so too – the chance to live their lives, and I’ll….live mine.

    Defiance – sheer, bloody minded, smallbear defiance.

  2. You’re a gift, woman, you really are. Thank you for this post, I really needed this today. These feelings we’re experiencing right now, they’re natural. Our brains aren’t hard-wired for ‘global.’ Humans are tribal creatures, global just doesn’t register. So, subjecting ourselves to a constant flow of traumatizing breaking news is only going to cause us to short circuit, both mentally and physically. We need to keep things small and close…our family, our friends, our coummunity. Break it down into mentally digestible bites, what do we really need to know in order to help ourselves and others….and just. let. the rest. go.

    My place would be Torrin…on the Isle of Skye…in winter…18 yrs ago…walking home alone along a single track road… listening to Secret Garden’s ‘Duo’ on repeat on my Walkman… the air chilled, a faint mist creeping along the ground, the dizzying smells of burning turf and damp pine…and those hills…. those magnificent, silent hills, silhouetted against the dying light…the gloaming, one of those rare moments when we mortals experience enchantment… a glimpse into the Otherworld, not quite day, not yet night…where nothing is what it seems, and anything is possible.

    Thank you for reminding me, Bernie. I will dig out that CD and let it take me somewhere beautiful today. 🙂

    • “I’ve got food in me belly, and a licence for me telly, ain’t nothin’ gonna bring me down, not today, oh no” – Paulo Nutini

    • I turn on the BBC 6 o’clock news – just to see if there is something I actually need to know about. Then, I turn it off and watch ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. That’s my approach to the news – need to know basis.

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