No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path.Gautama Buddha
Yesterday one of my community reached out to me, to ask for ‘Any help you can give the souls that have been stranded in alien places due to corona virus… I know it’s a worn out message but we are all suffering and needing guidance.’
I’m not going to address the basics here – those essentials of having registered with your government consulate, and of securing shelter, food and safety until you are, finally, able to come back to your own country. Instead I’ll address the situation of being stranded, in a strange land, and with no certainty about when your situation might end.
The very first thing I recommend is to dig a little deeper inside yourself, and do an audit of where you are and how you are coping. Be honest with yourself. Recognise that this may be a survival situation for you, emotionally, mentally, spiritually – let alone financially or from a position of personal safety. That’s not an over-dramatisation. We are living in times of great instability. Recognise the truth that in uncertain days we will crave the comfort of home. Familiar faces, familiar places, familiar routines, and beyond that – the thing people often don’t think about – the safety that ‘being home’ gives you. Energetically, when you are in a familiar place, you know the lay of the land and it gives a greater sense of safety because you know what to expect, where to get help and how to operate within that environment. It gives you strength and advantages you don’t have when you are in an ‘alien place’.
Secondly, work to find your inner strength and stoicism. It’s there, inside all of us. It’s only revealed to us through true hardship, so you may not realise it’s there inside you, ready to be drawn on in times such as these. Remind yourself that somehow you will get through this. Keep up a flow of supportive inner self-talk, encouraging yourself while still giving voice to your feelings. Journalling can be a great tool for coping by allowing a space for you to put your bottled-up emotions and thoughts down onto the page. I have always found journalling to be a comforting support in difficult times and for managing overwhelm and loneliness.
You’re a stranger in a strange land. One day you’ll look back on this time in your life and understand just how crazy and unsettled and world-changing this era has been – but you are living through it RIGHT NOW. The sense of being alone and disconnected from your usual safety net and familiar environment can be used to your advantage. You’re effectively in your own modern Vision Quest, your own modern Mystery School. You can use this time to reveal the deeper you to yourself, and to get clear about who you are, what matters to you, and what your next steps will be, once everything changes to your favour again and you are finally able to return home. If you treat this as a spiritual test, you’ll find a way to connect with your inner wisdom, and to strengthen self-awareness and intuition. Soul work is the hardest work you can do, and also the most valuable. You can come out of this time in your life with a deeper understanding of yourself that gifts you wisdom, maturity and emotional stability.
Some of my fondest moments, now I look back, are of times like these, when the Universe gifted me the strange and rich experience of being displaced and unable to get back to familiarity. So much of myself has been revealed to me during these times, and so many of my best ideas have come from living through those circumstances. I’m not saying it was fun. I am saying it was worth it.
Thirdly, find a way to build connections where you are. Online connections can be sanity saving, but nothing beats real connection. Humans need to belong. Who can you say hello to, or smile at, even if you don’t speak their language? We need to see a friendly face, to know the rhythms of the land, to have a small corner of the world feel more like home, even if it is only a temporary thing. Give yourself permission to stop fighting your current circumstances and instead allow yourself to create a small sense of home inside you, and in your immediate situation. Let that be symbolic if necessary. Whenever I have travelled or lived away from home I have always taken my crystals and oracle cards with me in s small bag, so I could maintain my regular spiritual practice. I travel with Vegemite. Sometimes the thing that has helped me get through a hard day, far from home, has been vegemite toast and a cup of tea, when everyone else was eating the food of their homeland, or a windowsill where I placed a flower or leaf or rock from my daily walk.
My next coping tip is to find something to do. Perhaps you can draw or paint or write. Knit or sew or research or learn. Maybe you can keep a diary. Not for the world to see – just as a tool for you to navigate this time. Create some simple routines. Settle in, the best you can, in the middle of all the uncertainty.
Don’t forget your imagination. You can use it to escape your current circumstances for a short while. (Books and movies are good for this too.) You can also use it to focus on future projects or desires, for when your circumstances change. Allow yourself to think about the POSITIVE things you will do when you get home, and look forward to them.
Finally, do what you can to live in the now as often as you can. Don’t torture yourself thinking about all of the things you are missing, or how unfair this is, or that this is not how you would have chosen to be doing life. Chronic illness has shown me that this is the fastest path to a breakdown. Don’t torture yourself. It won’t change anything and it will do you real harm. Look around you. How can you seer this extraordinary time in your life into your mind? Let it become hyper-real, like living in a dream or time-travelling. Get out of your thoughts and into the moment. Pay attention to the small details in every situation. Pay attention to your soul’s whisperings. Let the Universe talk with you and reveal to you the wisdom within you, and the gifts of this strange time.
Eventually, this will all be over. Remind yourself of that often, without needing an end date. It helps. You’re not alone, even if you are by yourself. You have yourself for company, and you are a wonderful companion.
You’re in my thoughts, prayers and meditations. I’m always here for you. All my love, Nicole xx