Updated: Jan 25
While the country is in hysterics about fuel shortages, I went through my own little process with it. When I first heard it on the news, I didn't think much of it. I chuckled to myself and thought "here we go again, another reason for people to be afraid".
Incidentally, I was on my way out of London to see a friend (about an hour and a half drive with a quarter of a tank left). I thought coolly that I'll just pop into a petrol station when I get there and be fine for another month. I sat down to lunch with her, when she got a call from her partner who was panicking about possibly not getting home. She decided we needed to get up at once and to a petrol station. As we passed the first station that was empty, I felt my anxiety creeping up.
Yup, I fell victim to the mass panic that was sweeping the country in these hours. And at the very same time I was pissed off. I was annoyed at my apparent lack of ability to stay calm. For all those who know what anxiety feels like, it is super scary and, when reaching panic attack levels, feels like you will die - possibly an exaggerated response to no petrol. However irrational this response seems, the physical symptoms of anxiety are never random. They originate from somewhere and have meaning.
So I did my thing, took deep breaths and tried to bring my mind into a meditative state. I surrendered myself to the universal forces (as I like to put it), and allowed my mind to believe that I am safe, I am held and I will be guided...I am ok!
It worked, and within minutes I was relaxed and filled up my tank (see what I did there? :)) Full of resources for myself and my car, I drove back to London.
From that moment, I have hardly used my car, got on to my bike and walked whenever possible and found happiness and joy in the fact that I was moving, not in queues for petrol stations and traffic resulting from them, not even caring for using my car and being forced to do something good for the environment every day. I've always been a 'glass-half-full' kind of woman so this sort of approach comes easy to me.
And in these past days, leading up to the moment I am writing this down, it became clear once more. This is just another moment of us having to let go of the idea that we have it all figured out. Our world is so incredibly fragile. In the past years we have been shown time and time again, that our systems can fall apart so quickly. We are dependent on systems of life that can be taken away from us in the blink of an eye. And yet, we find ourselves so desperately wanting to hold on to them. They are the only way we know how to be safe.
But with all the events of the past years, I believe we should surely begin to understand that our systems are not keeping us safe at all. They are keeping us trapped in a mindset, which at the slightest signs of a crumbling wall, goes into panic mode.
It is time that we open up our minds and truly "go with the flow". This has been such a popular and overused phrase in the past decades but in truth, we are only able to go with the flow within our enclosed swimming pool. As soon as we dip into the natural flow of a river, our chill-factor seriously diminishes.
Having said that, our fears are not without purpose. We are given these tools for a reason. They are meant to signal us when our lives our threatened. The thing is, that in modern times our lives aren't usually physically threatened at all.
Still, we are best off not brushing our feelings away in denial. Instead we need to learn to ride the currents of a natural river. We need to be wisely cautious yet with calm spirit, and above all, remember to enjoy the ride!