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Mindful living for COVID-19 lockdown

A mindful living during COVID-19 lockdown

It is coming into Day 4 of the Movement Control Order in Malaysia. To most working Malaysian, the past 2-3 days have been busy running errands and sorting out the outstanding issues be it related to work or home. Perhaps as the dust begins to settle and we have more time at home, thoughts may creep in - what's next? How am I going to live through the next 10 days at home, lockdown?

Perhaps many of us will be busy with the social media, keeping ourselves occupied with all the latest on COVID-19 and the debates around it.

However, in doing so, there may be one most important thing that we could have missed:

To be more present with ourselves

For some reasons, we try to keep ourselves busy all the time. Perhaps, some of us might feel guilty and unproductive to do nothing. Some of us feel restless and can't sit still. Our mind is always craving for something more. There's uneasiness deep inside if we do nothing and we can't seem to pinpoint the reasons. We continue to look for something to do next, continue to distract ourselves into the next moment and the next after. We have forgotten to live in this moment called NOW.

Perhaps, it is time for us to explore another way of living, which is simply being here, being in this moment now and begin to notice the little wonders around us that we tend to overlook in our usual busyness rushing to work, to send our children to schools. Do you notice the birds chirping outside? Do you feel the freshness in the air, the stillness, tranquillity and peace when you consciously noticing the first breath in the morning? The way our young children live and we once used to be a long time ago. Get out from our head and go into our senses. Noticing the sounds, the smells, the sights around us.

Maybe it's time to listen deeply to ourselves too. All you need is giving yourself a PAUSE and be still. Listen to our needs and wants and are we living those values? What it is that we really want rather than what we thought we want? The elusive 'inner peace', would you have a glimpse of that now? Is it true that we need to do a lot of chasing and fixing for the peace and ease that we are yearning for?

Some of us may feel a deep sense of exhaustion and tiredness too. Are you willing to give yourself the rest that your body needed so much? Will you allow yourself to rest deeply and do nothing given this opportunity now?

Once you are well rested and that may take a while or days; then you may ask yourself what it is that is best to take care of yourself now. Perhaps, to finish reading the books that you bought few years ago? The movie that you wanted to watch long time ago? To exercise, to play games, to made art, to cook, to meditate, to pray, to sing & dance, in short to let us live in the flow of the moment, whatever that we are doing, be in it. And open our heart and mind to this very present moment right here right now. Feel it. Sense it.

Perhaps, for some of us, we will meet our shadows within, the one that we are avoiding and distracting ourselves from which give rise to a tinge of sadness or anger or fear. We may grieve our losses. And that's fine. That's the moment of healing. Finally we get to connect ourselves back to our heart. The joy will emerge later. Give yourself all the time you need. Trust that you can hold it.

When we begin to live mindfully and with openheartedness, healing begins from within. When we cultivate the courage to face our vulnerability, we gain the inner strength and resilience. Once the danger passed, once we all come together once more, then we begin to think differently, see new possibilities, to have the courage to set new priorities and made new choices. When we pause, we heal and the earth will heal too.

Remember, this danger will pass too. Ground yourself to this present moment NOW and you will begin to see the reality rather than merely the worst case scenario that your mind conjured up for you all this time.

Being mindful too that we have adequate clean drinkable water, fresh fruits and vegetables as well as nutritious food to keep us alive and healthy. And that most of us could have meals at home together with our loved one. Many are still working hard to keep the food on our table.

Also to acknowledge that there are many out there, those front liners, e.g. Doctors, Nurses, Pharmacists, Medical supporting staffs, Police and Enforcement Officers, Maintenance staff are at the battle front to protect us while leaving their families at home. Remembering that in our heart and mind too.

Last, I will end this with the Serenity Prayer, "God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference."

Stay home and take care of ourselves, that's the best thing we can do now.


Ko Teik Yen is a practising clinical hypnotherapist and Mindfulness based Therapist at LCCH Therapy Centre @ Pantai Hospital Kuala Lumpur and The Mind Faculty, Mon't Kiara that deals with patients and clients with stress, anxiety and depression on daily basis. He is also the author of the book, “Parenting 2.0 – Empowering Moms and Dads in raising responsible, respectful, resilient and resourceful children in the digital age.” He is the Senior Lecturer and lectures regularly at London College of Clinical Hypnosis and accredited Mindfulness Teacher for UK Breathworks.

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