I sit in the circle on the wooden floor, gathering around the white burning candle with another four humans. Holding hands.
Our hearts are open. Our minds are peaceful.
The quietness fills in the space, while the frankincense scented air is still holding the mystery of what has just happened. The time has stopped.
No one wants to leave. We are all suspended in a timeless space, and, for a fraction of eternity, our souls are finally home.
WE ARE ALL ONE.
An hour later, I turn the cold metal key on the wooden door’s lock. I feel a tear appearing under my left eye as I am leaving the space, locking the magic in there.
I know that I am going to return and reawaken it for another group of souls seeking their way back home. I am doing it for myself too. That way, for a couple of hours in a month, I’ll feel NORMAL.
I am on a busy street in Covent Garden, London, making my way through the noisy, silly laughs of the drunk corporates entertaining themself with 5-6-7 beers at their Friday night drinks.
The street lights are shimmering weirdly. The air holds a strong petrol smell.
My head starts aching, I feel butterflies in my stomach and my heart starts pounding. I lean on a cold grey wall as I am about to faint.
I don’t want to walk through all this!
I breathe in deeply. Breathe out. And again. Breathe in, breathe out. Countless times to gather my energy back into the body. I activate with my mind’s eye the little protection crystal I wear in my bag, so I can keep walking to the tube station.
Was the ceremony, the beauty, the stillness, the peace, only a dream? How it all disappeared in seconds?
A rubbish bin felt loudly spreading its content on the pavement: empty beer cans, sandwich packages and used plastic bottles featuring a natural smoothie brand, that didn’t seem enough concerned with the environment to switch to glass.
Under a dirty wall, a homeless man sleeps in his own urine, in a small shelter built from a few cardboard boxes and a used duvet.
As I walk to the train station I see a beggar collapsed on the pavement, rock hard, with a cigarette still burning between his fingers. I know he moved onto the Fairyland that night, where someone could at least offer him a soft bed and a hot meal.
I burst into tears.
I feel I am walking through a dark portal, that takes me from the magic of a timeless ceremony into the hell-chaos of a surreal film scene.
Unfortunately, this isn’t a film.
It’s Covent Garden, London, UK. February 2020.
I don’t want to go back to normal.
To be honest with you I am beyond irritated to still receive emails in my inbox, from people in the spiritual / wellbeing community that keep referring to these times as strange, weird, tough, challenging, and suggest that I should learn to build resilience, that I should learn to cope, and that for every reason I should just be very excited to get back to normal and restart working with people in-person.
I don’t need to build resilience. I don’t need to cope. I finally found my peace, my stillness, and my flow.
I am happy like that.
I don’t want to go back to normal. And I won’t. I don’t even think that was normal. Not for my introverted heart though.
I am dreading to even imagine how it could be to travel again to get to Central London, in a suffocating train, with heavy bags on my shoulders. To be forced to activate my protection crystal any time I get into the tube. To close my eyes and imagine that I am not there. Then to walk through the crowds of people, deal with all the noise and the busyness of city life.
To make so many mental efforts to preserve my energy and be able to hold the space for those who’d take part in my classes.
Then after everything has finished, to take the train back home and arrive exhausted, with my head pulsing, and my mind all over the place. To need two glasses of red wine to only be able to sleep.
Don’t get me wrong I LOVE to teach and hold the space. I love every single moment I spend with my people.
But it’s the commuting, the busyness, the overwhelming energy in the city that drains me more than anything.
Thanks to the pandemic I actually realised how much this affected my energy. Just before the first lockdown in 2020, I got ill twice, immediately after teaching a practitioner course in Covent Garden. I was in bed for 3 weeks and for 1 whole week I completely lost my voice.
Wasn’t it a sign that this lifestyle was terribly wrong?
Is it only me? What do you FEEL?
Think of the last time when you travelled by tube to get to the city centre to work.
Weren’t you already tired at arrival, after you spent travelling 40, 50 or 90 minutes, squeezed on crowded trains, breathed the suffocating charcoal particles that irritated your nose, and smelled the body odours of people around you?
Then with your energy reservoir half empty, you had to work for the next 9-12-16 hours, in a soulless office, as if you just started the day, without even questioning how tiring was the whole experience of simply getting there? So that at the end of the day to get home empty, with no energy left for yourself?
Now think of the last time you attended a spiritual circle, a course, or a nice play in the same city centre, on a weekend day.
Wasn’t all the quietness, the peace, the contentment you gained during the event itself half lost when you had to take the train back home?
Now think what if after a year of slowing down and getting into a new routine you’d ever want to back to what it was?
What do you feel? Anxiety? Overwhelm? Panic?
Like you don’t really want to go back to what it was, right?
You’d rather prefer to stay at home, wake-up peacefully, enjoy your mornings, your evenings and your quieter weekends. You’d rather spend more time doing what you like, perhaps read a book, write, learn something new, make a piece of art, meditate. Or have a meaningful conversation with a friend from time to time. Or make love.
So if you want to preserve this new lifestyle, why on Earth you should be going back to ‘normal’?
You are right to not want to back to normal. The pre-pandemic era was NOT normal.
This is the new normal.
So instead of forcing yourself to do what everyone else is doing when we come out of the lockdown, why not try to find ways to keep the freedom, flexibility and balance that you just gained?