The Christmas and New Year break of 2019-2020 was not what we were hoping for here in Australia.
The fires still burn as I write, with no substantial rain promised in the forecast. I write from a place of safety within this unfolding disaster, my life and home have not been at risk, for which I am very grateful. Some have lost everything and others still fight to save what is left as the winds and fire fronts change.
Today I write to those of us that are bearing witness to this event.
The past few weeks have brought with them a heavy sense of helplessness and sadness. Perhaps you have felt this too?
These feelings may seem big and deep. It is only natural to want to make the unpleasantness go away as soon as possible but I encourage you to resist the urge to turn away from them too quickly.
The mind and body try to make things as easy as possible for us to go about the world. Avoidance behaviours may look like numbing out with our favourite distractions like TV, social media or online shopping. But it may also wear a trickier disguise and look like burying our attention in work, or even excessive rumination on the fires and perhaps anger.
I invite you to pause for a moment and focus on the feelings behind the distractions and beneath the anger.
Let them have their moment in the spotlight within your body. And then let them spur you to take action.
Take a little step to honour these unpleasant feelings. Maybe it’s putting water out for the birds, making a donation or writing a letter to your MP (of support or constructive criticism) or maybe it’s turning off the news for 24 hours because your heart can’t take anymore.
In my work as a coach I encourage people to find their truest life, and this involves feeling the whole range of emotions, not just the pleasant ones. With this honesty we can better determine where our own values truly lie and take action to live a life that is aligned with our own values.