I have some major concerns over this current global lockdown, as I have voiced at length in the following articles.

Despite my concerns and hopes that people will stay vigilant to certain manipulations I believe are taking place, I also believe that humanity is receiving what may turn out to be a much needed wake up call and opportunity to heal.

The Global Wake up Call

Let’s face it, very little about our modern way of life is sustainable. Every institution that our lives are based on are built around an economic model that requires constant economic growth in order to survive. This, however, is impossible to achieve because nothing can grow endlessly. As well, as the economy apparently “grows”, so too does inflation, meaning that the value of a dollar falls lower and lower each passing year. So, as inflation grows and daily life also becomes more expensive, most wages remain the same, meaning that in order to maintain our lifestyles we must work even harder and longer!

Eventually the cost of living often becomes too much for people and they find themselves caught up in debt. This causes even more stress and tension, and means that they must work even harder and longer than before! This leads to the modern world we know today (well before the coronavirus lockdown that is), whereby our busyness has simply become normalised. In fact, the busier you are the more successful you are deemed to be. This can be seen in the very common modern day greeting of “how are you?”, “Oh I’m so busy at the moment, it’s crazy! And you?” “oh my god, me too! I haven’t even had a moment to think straight lately”.

The stress of our hectic paced lifestyles means that we rarely if ever slow down and nurture ourselves. This causes us to seek tension releases through artificial pleasures and addictions such as alcohol and drugs, binge eating, pharmaceuticals, Netflix, sex, and many other things. It also means that we live our lives in a constant adrenalin and cortisol fuelled state of fight/flight, which can seriously compromise our immune system and damage our overall health.

Our past paced lifestyles also rarely give us a chance to slow down and focus on the things that are truly important to us. I don’t know about you, but if I was on my death bed, I wouldn’t be looking back over my life regretting all of the money I could have made if I’d worked harder and sacrificed more. I would be thinking about all of the people who I cherished the most, such as my family and friends. If I regretted anything it would be the time I wasted with them because I wasn’t really present and was thinking about work or stressing about petty things. It would be all of the things I wish I would have said when I had the opportunity. All of the creative and artistic passions and talents of mine that I never explored because I was always “too busy”. All of the sunsets that I didn’t fully appreciate, and all the times where I could have smelt the fresh air and flowers, but was too lost in my own swirling thoughts to even notice.

Many people do in fact die with these regrets as well as many others, and it is a sad and familiar story. I believe this happens so often because during our lives we become so easily swept up in the mechanical and heartless beast known as “society”, and we sacrifice our humanness in the process.

“In Western civilization the interior life of the individual, with all its richness, finds itself relegated to a minor role in existence. Man is so caught up in the toils of mechanical life that he has neither time to stop nor the power of attention needed to turn his mental vision upon himself. Man thus passes his days absorbed by external circumstances.
The great machine that drags him along turns without stopping, and forbids him to stop under penalty of being crushed.”  Boris Mouravieff

Shadow Work

Another thing our chaotic and fast paced modern lifestyles rarely if ever allow us do, is to take a pause in our lives and do some deep inner work on ourselves.

I believe that we are all wounded and traumatised in some way or another, albeit to differing degrees. These wounds and traumas largely drive our behaviour and how we view and relate to the world, but in our society, it isn’t okay to be wounded and vulnerable. Instead we must suck it up, put on our contrived social masks and appear “happy, confident and successful” to the world, and keep ploughing forward at our usual reckless and unsustainable pace.

But as I learned the hard way, this way of living always inevitably leads to addiction, suffering, and pain.

This is because when we deny and avoid certain parts of ourselves, we create what Carl Jung called the shadow. This is the part of ourselves that we are blind to because we have suppressed and rejected it so deeply. It is also the part of ourselves that blocks us from being wholly authentic to who we truly are.

When we deny and suppress our shadow, it becomes extremely destructive in terms of how it controls our behaviour, and it also drains much of our precious energy. The only way to heal the shadow is to confront it and bring its dark elements into our conscious awareness. This can be a very scary, painful, and vulnerable experience, simply because the shadow contains the very things that terrify us the most.

We must, however, eventually find the courage to confront our shadow if we ever wish to be whole, as the shadow is an integral part of who we are. To do this we need to give ourselves space, compassion, a nurturing environment, as well as plenty of support.

How often does our modern beast of a society provide us with these conditions? I would say very rarely, if ever, because all it cares about is continuous productivity and efficiency. If we are not producing or consuming, society sees us as useless and expendable.

Despite this, time and space to heal and work on ourselves are the very things our souls have been yearning for. And now, here we are, due to the most unusual of circumstances, with all of the time and space in the world! What this means is that whilst the current lockdown will bring hardship to many, it also provides us with a fantastic opportunity, which is the time and space to focus on our own inner healing.

All of the fears and anxieties being triggered within us right now, are parts of our shadow coming to the surface. They represent the wounded and vulnerable parts of us that we have always used our “busyness” to avoid, and they are being brought to the surface in order to be healed. We have the choice right now to confront what arises within us, breathe into it, be present with it, and bring it back into our wholeness. Or we can project our shadow externally, and deny ourselves this opportunity for deep inner growth that we’ve been granted.

Shadow work on a day to day basis

Shadow work is about having the willingness to sit and be present with whatever emotions and feelings arise in the body, without judging or resisting them. Someone who avoids shadow work does the exact opposite, and is constantly seeking for ways to distract themselves and avoid any situation whereby they will be forced to be alone with their emotions and feelings.

Even in lockdown, with most people unable to socialise and work, and with most people staying indoors, there are still many ways we can distract ourselves and avoid confronting our shadow. We can stay glued to the daily news updates, TV programs, Netflix, gossiping, the internet, family drama and conflict, and any other similar activities or scenarios.

There is nothing necessarily wrong with doing some of these things on occasion, but if they become habitual and we rely on them to numb and distract ourselves, they do nothing to support our inner growth.

This is our chance to be gentle on ourselves, to be vulnerable, to connect with our family, and to have some much needed solitude and space. Right now is our chance to do the inner work we have been putting off for so long, and to confront and heal the deeply stored fear, sadness, anger, and rage, that many of us have unconsciously stored within our bodies. There really are no more excuses.

P.S. – I explore this topic and many other related topics in much more depth in my newly released book ‘Free Range Humans‘, please subscribe below to receive the first 3 chapters for free.

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