Seizing the Day, and the Value of Repetition

Seizing the Day, and the Value of Repetition

Its August 2021, and in Brisbane we are back in lockdown, perhaps for a few more days, perhaps longer. So this post is about uncertainty, and the value of repetition. Originally I was thinking about repetition as it relates to yoga practice. However, when we are have limited options, as we do currently, repetition seems like something to be endured, in every aspect of our lives.

Same house, same people (if you are lucky),  same breakfasts, lunches, dinners, same chores, same walks, same limits...except this time, the limits are greater than ever before. And at the same time, we are coping with massive change - one day we have a holiday planned and the next day we don't. One day we are looking forward celebrating a birthday, the next day its only happening on zoom...one day we are excited about the Ekka, the next day its cancelled, and so on. Most of the changes are for the worse. Things not happening. Things being postponed. There are so many disappointments.

 

So its not surprising many of us are struggling with sadness and grief. Not to mention the anxiety of daily life in the seemingly never-ending, indeed escalating, covid-19 pandemic. This means remembering the risk of infection every time we walk out of our house, down the street, or to the shops; remembering to take our mask, and our phone for the QR app. Asking ourselves, is this trip really necessary, or could it be avoided?

Managing this level of risk, with a very real, but invisible threat, is very stressful. Its hard to cope with so much stress on a daily basis. And, weirdly, sometimes repetition can be helpful. When its scary outside, in busy places like schools, shops, or city centres, it can be reassuring to know that some things haven't changed.

Children know this best, they usually love repetition and routine. The same family members, the same pets, the same breakfast, the same bedtime story. Changes are often scary. For children, routines and repetition make them feel safe, because they suggest life is predictable.  The loss of routine is destabilising. And living with constant change can make us very insecure. 

So what are some helpful things we can do, repetitively, to make us feel safe and secure? Here are a few ideas: 

1. Being in nature, whether its your backyard or a bushwalk. The Japanese have a phrase for this - 'forest bathing'. This is Toohey Forest, near where I live... 

2. Regular, healthy, home cooked meals, which if you enjoy it, can provide a creative outlet. And then, there is comfort food. Mine would be macaroni cheese...

3. Creative practice. We usually think of creativity as innovation, but its also the repetitive nature of making things, which is very rhythmic and reassuring. For me, my preferred creative activity is slow stitching...

4. Exercise, which can become repetitive, but which is so good for our physical and mental health. I have lots of options, so when I can't go to the pool, for deep water running, I can do yoga or body pump at home. Or walk my dog...

5. Being in the moment, mindfulness, or 'seizing the day'. Appreciating each activity, each day, each moment, each breath. Because honestly, things will probably change again tomorrow. In the meantime, stay safe everyone.