Throughout my life I have collected a number of different mantras. Holding on to them, chewing them over, letting them sink in and become a familiar space I can return to when times are difficult. They have ranged from the ancient Persian adage, “This too shall pass”, to the not quite as ancient Yorkshire adage, “It’ll be reyt”. I have a band on my arm that reads “It’s ok not to be ok. Have hope.” I even have Romans 8:28 as a tattoo on my arm, a reminder of hope and promises. These small soundbites have been markers on my journey, helping me to be grounded in times of chaos. They have been the words that have helped me to stop, collect myself, and carry on when everything else cries out to give up.
You will all probably be aware of the second lockdown we're currently going through in England, and the unsettling uncertainty that it brings. I have done the very British thing of having it as one of the three key points of conversation with people I have spoken to this week (the other two being “Isn’t it getting dark early” and “This weather, eh.”) Each person I have spoken to has expressed some form of worry or anxiety about what the next few weeks to months will hold. We will need to dig deep into our reserves, find a new personal resilience and strength, and push through these next few months and weeks a day at a time. Personally, I already have a mantra ready to focus on to help me through.
It was a few weeks ago that I came across it. I was driving for work, the shift had been going horrendously. I was stressed, I was running late, there were personal issues as well, and I just wanted to roll over and give up. As I was driving along I spotted a banner hanging outside a church and on it were the words “Be Strong. Have Courage. Don’t lose hope.” As I zipped past the words caught my eye and I immediately started to mull them over. What does it mean? What does that look like? Are they an instruction or a request? I have spent the last few days breaking the mantra down and holding it up to the lens of the next few months.
Remind yourself how far you have come. Look back down the mountain and see how far you have come. You were made for this, you can do this. Find the energy for that next step, dig deep, breathe, and then push off. Keep your head up, shoulders back and marching onwards. Be a support for those who need it, and learn to lean on others when you need it. Share your strength with the world and allow the world's strength to be shared with you.
Be defiant to the voice that says ‘Today is too hard, go back to sleep.’ Face the day with a new fire in your belly that will stand up for yourself and for others. Take that first step out of bed, blast your anthem of defiance on the speakers. Turn to the voice that tries to drag you down and say “Thank you, but I didn’t ask for your opinion.” Roar like a lion if you have to, but find that energy in you that looks to the challenge and says “I was made for this.”
Don’t lose hope.
Hold onto the spark inside, keep that smouldering wick going. We each have a spark of light and life in each of us, and we need to nurture it. Allow yourself to treat yourself. Plan something each day that will make you smile, even if it’s running a bath, or eating a nice snack. Reach out to friends and family, remind yourself that you are connected and loved. Remember “This too shall pass.” Hold onto that little voice inside that says “Soon, we will be out of this soon.”
So, my friends.
Don’t lose hope.
Written by SCM member Edward Cox. Check out Edward's blog.