When I moved into this cozy, third floor apartment nestled in the canopy of ancient maple trees I was going through a major change in my life. This sweet, little place proved to be the balm my soul needed. It was full of light, equipped with a clawfoot tub, and even had a tower room for me to paint in. I wanted to share my gratitude with my landlord and started including a note with my monthly rent check describing the little pleasures his place continually bestowed on me. I witnessed a Pileated Woodpecker up close and personal, watched baby squirrels come out at dawn each morning to play in the trees, and of course luxuriated in the before mentioned clawfoot tub under the eaves. He would leave me voice mails thanking me, citing that he only usually heard from his tenants when there was a problem. In one of these messages he playfully called my apartment an aerie, and it stuck.
My hope is that notes from the aerie may offer some tools, practices, and insights to help us navigate this extraordinary time together. Soul growth is a communal endeavour, and although we might be separated physically, we are never truly apart.
surrender to what is
I have rewritten this essay so many times over the last two weeks that I’ve lost count. Why? Because the choice of topics has been rapidly multiplying and so many of them are rich fodder that I kept trying to cram too many of them into one piece. Finally I heard from deep within, Keep it simple, Martha. So I’ve decided to begin with perception, something each of us has the power to transform and is the foundation to how we experience our life.
We humans tend to be creatures of habit, and are thereby very attached to our routines both in thought and deed, so when they are suddenly ripped away from us we feel fearful, and we rail against the changes and stubbornly focus our attention on the time when our lives will return to “normal.”
They won’t and they can’t.
We can’t un-experience something. We will be changed, and since this is a global experience, the world will be different, too, and from this vantage point we can have no idea what it will all look like down the road.
What we have is the present moment.
It’a all we ever had.
We can cover our eyes and put our fingers in our ears and try to ignore it, but each moment is going to unfold whether we pay attention to it or not.
By relieving us of the business-as-usual routines that filled our waking moments and frequently kept us in a state of automatic numbness, the pandemic is giving us the space to see that WE are the creators of our moments. This is a gift that can remain with us long after the virus has run its course.
Now I’ll admit that being present doesn’t always feel good, but I have learned that resistance is a contractive act that increases suffering and makes it near impossible to receive the gifts we are being offered.
Accepting what is is an expansive act and the key to inner peace. It allows us to be present and open to receiving the guidance and love of our soul, and in fact the whole universe, even when we are experiencing emotional or physical pain. This dramatically alters our perception of each moment because we come to know that we are always loved and supported, and we are never alone.
So where do we begin?
How about this:
How do you respond to being told that in the best interest of everyone you must stay home? Do you perceive your home as a haven or a prison?
I’m betting that there is a whole myriad of emotions, thoughts, and reactions that are bubbling up when trying to answer these questions.
To enhance our ability to accept what is and transform our perception, here are a few simple suggestions on how we can make our homes feel more like a peaceful haven that supports our wellbeing.
Don’t let the soundtrack of your home be the constant rant of TV or radio news. Things are changing so rapidly that the information is obsolete in an hour or two. Check the news once of twice a day and you will know everything you need to know. If you enjoy having background sounds here are a few suggestions that can support your peace of mind:
- Beautiful Nature Sounds: You don’t have to go outside to benefit from the healing and calming benefits of nature. Listening to natural sounds soothes our nervous system and increases our ability to focus. I am very partial to water sounds of all sorts like ocean waves, babbling brooks and rain (I must have half a dozen versions of rain bookmarked!), but I also love the uplifting effects of birdsongs. Try The Silent Watcher channel on YouTube for high quality options. I’m listening to Enchanted Forest as I write this.
- Solfeggio Frequency Music: Sound is healing and transformative for us and music based on the ancient Solfeggio frequencies are brilliantly effective at this. Different frequencies focus on different issues including releasing fear. If you would like to learn more about them click here. YouTube is filled with thousands of options in many different styles. Try this one that contains all 9 frequencies to get you started.
- Play music you love or take this time to discover new music that lifts your spirit. May I suggest French Cafe music with its gypsy violins and accordion while you cook? You can create your own music playlists on many sites like Pandora, Spotify and Amazon.
Everyone needs some solitude each day to feel calm and centered, and being at home 24/7 with family and housemates may have affected your ability to get the quiet time you need. Obviously if you have a room of your own, be it a bedroom, studio, office, she shed or man cave, use it! If not, you can make an agreement with your partner for each of you to have scheduled, uninterrupted, alone time each day in your bedroom. Everyone benefits when we feel rejuvenated and calm.
Find the beauty in your home. Do you have a favourite place you like to sit? Maybe it’s where you most like to have your morning coffee, read a book, or take a nap? If not, create one, two, three or more of them! Make them beautiful with things you love and enjoy them more often.
A simplified, clear home is a haven. It is restful to the mind and spirit. Take some time to clear any clutter and remove any worn out or unloved items. If you’re not up to doing the whole place, start with a room and see how it feels. Small steps are powerful and more sustainable.
Look at us! We are consciously creating our experience of staying at home.
Staying home right now is an important and powerful contribution to the global community, and by doing it from a place of grace we raise the frequency of the collective. That is an invaluable gift.
To all of you who are offering your skills and energy to caring for the sick and keeping our basic infrastructures up and running, I send you my most heartfelt gratitude and love. You are courageous souls and the angels that walk among us.
From my heart to yours,