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One of the striking features of the current crisis is its insidious impact on our nervous system and our stress resilience.

The obvious effects of uncertainty and fear have been exquisitely combined with deprivation from essential ways to co-regulate our nervous system and feel safe: namely varied social interactions and playful activities…

With lockdown easing there is hope that we will be able to restore some equilibrium to our lives but after a long winter of somewhat boring, but predictable, reliability, you might find yourself caught in “Lockdown Freeze”; a feeling that is not helped by the many contradictory messages concerning the usefulness and safety of the vaccine solution eagerly awaited until now, nor by the divisive threats from our authorities should we choose to question the sudden loss of our liberties.

Our autonomic nervous system is wired to fluctuate from action to relaxation depending on the demands of the day. However, persistent stress can have similar effects to intense stress, and push our nervous system into a permanent overwhelm and hard-to-shake freeze response. This can lead to inaction, anxiety, and eventually, if we cannot find ways to mobilise ourselves again, depression.

The adaptability and flexibility of our nervous system is a measure of our stress resilience. Our ability to flow from inaction to action and eventually relaxation is intimately linked to the fitness of our autonomic nervous system. Like any other system it needs to be exercised through repetition and a variety of experiences each designed to develop either flexibility, strength, and core (inner) stability.


The following are ways in which we can positively exercise our nervous system:

  • Mindfulness (observation without judgement) improves self-esteem and (core) stability.

Tuning into the symptoms of our stress response, and recognising where we are on the “autonomic ladder”, gives us agency over our feelings, opening the way for understanding and eventually choice.
Ask yourself: are you in a relaxed and comfortable state? or triggered to action because you are feeling challenged? or frozen and apathetic because you are overwhelmed or/and gripped by anxiety and depression?
The more we tune into our body, and the many variations and physical hallmarks of the above states, the more we grow in awareness of what is the stable part of ourselves that is undisturbed by the vagaries of life’s experiences and is our “Spiritual Core”.

  • Vagal toning exercises specifically strengthen the neural circuits of autonomic regulation and wellbeing.

Those are described in a previously published article

https://www.annelisemiller.com/education/blog-articles/138-the-language-of-fear-and-re-framing-the-stress-response-by-activating-the-vagus-nerve

  • Playful activities and social interactions help develop autonomic flexibility.

Even if not yet fully possible, planning those will make a measurable impact on the neuro-biology of wellbeing. There are statistics showing that anticipating a holiday is often as enjoyable and uplifting as the holiday itself!
You can start by planning a visit to the museum, downtime with a loved one or a gathering with friends and family, and instantly prime your nervous system out of apathy. To think up new ways to connect with others and build enjoyable time in our lives stimulates positive imagination for possibilities and increases adaptability when faced with stress and difficult decisions.

  • Detoxification (from exposure to challenging inputs and stressful triggers) reduces stress load.

Not all stressors are beyond our control, in fact the majority of those are well within our control, but we tend to develop a certain attachment to them because they are stimulating in some ways and, to most of us mortals, no stimulation feels very dull indeed! When it comes to stimulation, it is about careful titrating between excess and lack.
Some stimulants/stressors are particularly poisonous and only the lowest dose is tolerable; often healthy substitutes are easier to implement than self-control!
Excess chemical stimulants such as caffeine, drugs and alcohol all have the potential to reduce resilience to stress, but there are many other behaviours with similarly (or perhaps worse) damaging effects: for example consuming violence (video games, films etc.), mindlessly listening to the news, poorly attending to sleep, repeatedly using destructive language, lying/pretending, etc.

  • Asserting healthy boundaries requires compassion, and makes sharing our stress-load possible.

The quality of our relationships is also what makes us adaptable. Exchanging, sharing (joys as well as pains), and connecting with others is a uniquely functional way to co-regulate our autonomic nervous system. The more we develop authentic and truthful relationships, the stronger our fallback network when we are stressed and challenged. This cannot be achieved without a sense of boundaries, the honesty to express our limitations, and the kindness to respect others'.

  • Self-nourishing activities, relaxation, guided meditations and breathing exercises all tend to the neuro-biology of wellbeing.

Autonomic regulation requires reflective time, as well as interactive time, to process the day and to restore calm.
Nourishing activities are defined by their wellbeing-enhancing effects; they include all forms of bodywork treatments, exercising, reading, practicing hobbies, love-making and expressing gratitude…😊


Thank you for reading this article, I hope that you found it useful!

As I am fast approaching my Rendezvous with my conscience, scheduled for some time between the end of February and the beginning of April, I am frequently being asked the crucial question “will I be taking THE vaccine?”

It seems that the answer is a moral issue and that refusing vaccination an act of careless social cowardice.

In this world of uncertainty, more than ever, we are looking for simple, unequivocal answers to our situation. One of the notable features of this crisis is how increasingly divided we are becoming. The greater the fear the stronger the views… whether those are about the necessity to sacrifice all remnants of enjoyments in life to the God of lockdown or about the conspiracy that drives our governments towards a worldwide “technocratic dictatorship”!

It seems to me that if there is an answer at all it is in factoring in the grey areas and in recognising that fuelling divisions is what weaken us; no matter how strong our views might feel, in this context of partitioning (the very function of lockdown), rigid views only give us the illusion of strength.

Flexibility, tolerance of different perspectives, and compromises is what will keep us from unreconcilable divisions and wars… there is only but a thin line between conflicting individuals and conflicting nations!

Our governments may be failing in their willingness to nourish dialogue, promote different scientific views that include health promotion in their measures and in so doing are increasing divisions, but nothing is stopping each one of us from responding in a measured way to the various pressures.

Unfortunately, there is no one-answer-fits-all. Ultimately our choices should be just that…a choice not a mere reaction to social pressure, fear, righteousness, or ignorance.

The first step to choosing is recognising that, despite the pervading admonishment for isolation and an ambient scent of repression, choice is an embedded condition of our human spirit and is independent from circumstances even if circumstances limit choices.

On her way to Auschwitz and certain death, (by all accounts a desperate situation with no obvious choice left), Etty Hillesum grasped at that very essence of Choice when she vouched to actively keep connection with her faith, no matter the fear and horror, and wrote: “I shall try to help YouGod, to stop my strength ebbing away”.

Intrinsic to our nature, choice is less of a birth-right than an endowment of responsibility, a fact that we would rather forget than measure. In truth, keeping track of the consequences of our daily choices is untenable which is why it is tempting to dissociate from the concept altogether and be lured into delegating responsibility while applying soothing solutions to cure anxiety… the list of beguilement is terribly long indeed!

So, what are the considerations that will influence my choice aside from personal circumstances (such as the need to travel) which may well end up being the decisive factor in me accepting to be injected with a slightly dubious cocktail of mRNA and PEG (Poly-Ethylene-Glycol)?

Fundamental beliefs about health

Mine lies in the fact that I view health as the experience of life managed rather than a state of being or the absence of disease: health is the criteria for my daily and active commitment to life affirming practices, thoughts, relationships, foods, drinks etc.

This implies that I take full responsibility for my health rather than make the government, the environment, or the NHS responsible. I may suffer symptoms or require medical intervention, but I also accept that I do not control my life’s outcome only my inputs through the informed choices that are available to me. To inform ourselves thoroughly and critically is the most health affirming act available to us.

A vaccine could fit into a life affirming choice but not without also fitting with individual Values and Needs.

Values

In theory we may well share general values such as love over hate, respect of our neighbours and the preference of health over disease but in practice what really does guide my choices when faced with challenging options?

I respect my neighbour, but would I sacrifice my health for someone else? The answer to this would entirely depend on who it was, how vulnerable they were and how much of my health would have to be sacrificed to significantly protect them!

The idea that vaccination is a civic act simply does not stand. Just like lockdown, it implies that we are spreading the disease with equal amounts of risk and that we hold individual responsibility for causing Covid19 related deaths. This is obviously not true; the virus is the cause of death not the vector! Nonetheless we are required to lockdown and sacrifice our life in equal measures regardless of age, state of health, living conditions, education or means!  

A modulated approach cannot be lawfully policed, but if we are to come out of lockdown free from the heavy burden of resentment, this should not be the reason for casting blame; we are in Lockdown because governments have declared it so without meeting opposition and for no other reasons!

Needs

At present, I have no personal needs to vaccinate against Covid19; my risks of dying from it are too small to factor in. Statistically I have far greater risks of dying from breast cancer. I may want to protect a vulnerable loved one but evidence that vaccinated individuals are no longer carriers are sorely lacking... in fact it would appear the opposite. I may recommend vaccination to my vulnerable loved one but if they are very frail the possible side-effects are lethal enough and statistically significant to put this into question. 

There do appear to be some benefits in vaccinating the not frail but statistically vulnerable individuals aged between 60 and 80, but crucially the nature of the virus and the speed at which it mutates means that a vaccine will only have a limited time efficacy and will require yearly shots. Already the results from Israel are disappointing showing that 17% of people in hospitals with Covid19 have already received one shot of vaccine

But, however relevant, the risks must be evaluated relative to the benefits…

Risks versus benefits

Life is a risky business; our nervous system has evolved from a primitive freeze response faced with predatory encounters to an extremely sophisticated system of conscious and subconscious perceptions, neurological feedback loops and complicated interactive communications with others; all for the sole purpose of measuring safety while expanding our consciousness and experiences of life. This level of complexity means that it can easily go wrong!

The proof is in the general malaise affecting us all; questions we never asked ourselves before are becoming daily struggles… “is it safe to step outside my front door”; “do I really need to make a trip to the shop and encounter another human being”; “can I trust my best friend”; “am I safe enough to visit my own mother who needs me”; “am I putting my family at risk by going to work”.

We are overwhelmed; a vaccine could provide a reliable solution to our pervasive sense of insecurity and may justify the calculated risk of an injection with limited safety data and time-limited efficacy...

Perhaps the decisive element in all this lies in our Faith.

Faith

Whether agnostic or religious, Faith concerns all of us because at its most fundamental it fathoms our relationship with Death.

Until Covid19 our Western Societies were enjoying a substantial stretch of peaceful times undisturbed by deathly wars and lulled by the steady increase in life expectancy. This made the shock of mortality all the more traumatic when those numbers and pictures started to flood in back in March 2020.

I wonder how many of us are still suffering from the trauma and are feeling permanently unsafe? We all must face up to our mortality at some point but only to feel the more alive from it. Tragically, shock and trauma have a way to freeze us in fear and death and corrupt our life. Recovery needs connections not isolation.

Faith gives meaning and purpose to life. Without a faith, Death dominates our life; either by triggering strenuous denial of our mortal condition or by inducing gripping fear to engage with life.

My routine spiritual practice is based on acceptance (of Death and all that I cannot change) and surrendering (to something higher than me which is organised and influenced by my choices).  My decision(s) will aim to be congruent with my beliefs about health, and fit with my values despite the risks. 

In the words of Etty Hillesum

“Ultimately, we have just one moral duty: to reclaim large areas of peace in ourselves, more and more peace, and to reflect it towards others. And the more peace there is in us, the more peace there will be in our troubled world.”

Faced with great peril we rallied, made selfless sacrifices and triumphed against death and disaster… all thanks to the God of Science and from the comfort of our own home.

I dream of a Christmas tale with an edifying story, the expected happy ending and just enough magic to make it credible.

Nine months on (and just in time for Christmas!) we are given THE solution to the current threat: a vaccine against Covid-19!
Quite what the threat is seems unclear, and varies considerably depending on your perspective, but it is affecting everyone’s life.

We all long for a return to a more “normal” life where planning ahead is possible, enjoying the company of friends permissible and singing carols an act of goodwill instead of a risk to human life.

So what can be said of the “Novel Vaccine” against a “Novel Disease” in those unprecedented times of global “Pandemic”?

THEY WERE PRODUCED VERY QUICKLY

Because a vaccine takes on average four years to produce, the usual techniques were not applied for the Covid-19 vaccine.

As a reminder the two main current vaccine types are:

Inactivated vaccines which contain inactivated, but previously virulent, micro-organisms that have been destroyed with chemicals, heat, or radiation.
Examples include vaccines against polio, hepatitis A, rabies and most influenza.

Attenuated vaccines which contain live, attenuated microorganisms. Many of these are active viruses that have been cultivated under conditions that disable their virulent properties, or that use closely related but less dangerous organisms, to produce a broad immune response. Although most attenuated vaccines are viral, some are bacterial in nature.
Examples include vaccines against the viral diseases yellow fever, measles, mumps, and rubella, and against the bacterial disease typhoid.
Attenuated, or live, weakened, vaccines typically provoke more durable immunological responses. But they may not be safe for use in immunocompromised individuals, and on rare occasions mutate and cause disease.

Spurred by the sense of urgency from the current crises, enter new, and potentially game changing, technologies.

In the case of Covid-19 the main laboratories that have announced positive results from their as-yet unverified trials are: 

  • Sanofi (in France), who joined forces with GlaxoSmithKline (in the UK), to produce a vaccine that uses the same technology as one of Sanofi's seasonal influenza vaccines coupled with a boosting substance (an "adjuvant"): squalene issued from the fat of sharks – and other Cetacea.
  • Moderna, and the Pfizer/BioNTech collaboration in the US who are using a new technology to create a messenger RNA (m-RNA) vaccines.
  • AstraZeneca the U.K. pharma giant, in partnership with the University of Oxford, and the Russian laboratory Gamaleya who are relying on a replication-deficient adenovirus vector to produce their vaccine.

The Sanofi vaccine uses a recombinant DNA technology called: Baculovirus Expression Vector System (BEVS), a technology that produces proteins found on the surface of SARS-CoV-2 (spike proteins) by editing the DNA of a baculovirus (a type of virus affecting insects). The modified baculovirus is then used to infect designated laboratory raised insects and the resultant spike proteins harvested from them. The vaccine is produced by combining those protein fragments with the adjuvant squalene. The immune system is expected to react directly against the floating spike proteins. This, however, seems to be somewhat difficult to predict in any reliable way without multiple trial and error which might explain why the more recent tests results are essentially disappointing and Sanofi has requested more time to perfect their vaccines.

It is not a new technology, but it has produced controversial vaccines in the past. Those include the HPV vaccine and the Hepatitis B vaccine.

Because the vaccine contains fragments and not the whole virus it is possible that the immune system will not recognise it or produce a weak response that will need many re-inoculations, with the additional risk of exposure to the adjuvant. In the case of squalene GSK has already had to face lawsuits in 2009 against its squalene-containing H1N1 vaccine which was shown to have caused narcolepsy in 100’s of cases.

Another point of controversy with this type of technology is with respect to the fragments themselves that are not guaranteed to be configured correctly. The chain of amino acids building the protein could be sequenced correctly but folded in an inappropriate manner that could potentially lead to unpredictable results.

The greatest advantage of the messenger-RNA technology chosen by Moderna and Pfizer is the rapidity of production (no need to cultivate viruses) and therefore low cost involved. A possible drawback is the logistics of distribution requiring a very cold supply chain (minus 20C to 70C).

This technology consists of incorporating an RNA mediated message into our cells via a liposomal (tiny fat) capsule to instruct the cells to make SARS-CoV-2 spikes, to stimulate the relevant immunity against it and therefore inactivate the actual virus should we encounter it. A remarkably clever idea for its simplicity and precision.

The adenovirus vaccine technology currently being tested by AstraZeneca and Gamaleya uses a genetically modified and replication-deficient adenovirus. Those adenoviruses have had their DNA hacked to incorporate the gene for the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein. Those GMO vectors instruct our own cells to produce the spike protein required to activate the immune system.

AstraZeneca (in the UK) has chosen an adenovirus issued from the chimpanzee as their GMO vector while Gamaleya (in Russia) is using one of human origin for its aptly-named vaccine Sputnik V (sputnik means traveling companion in Russian - clearly these scientists are not devoid of humour!). The Sputnik V vaccine is already being used in Moscow on masses of human volunteers. The next few months will be crucial in evaluating the safety of this GMO technology.

Whatever we think of the pandemic, its political implications, vaccination as a whole, and the fight for freedom of choice, looking at the facts objectively can only enhance our ability to choose wisely.

In the words of St. Francis de Sales
“Never be in a hurry; do everything quietly and in a calm spirit. Do not lose your inner peace for anything whatsoever, even if your whole world seems upset.”

 

"Philosophy teaches us to feel uncertain about the things that seem to us self-evident.

Propaganda, on the other hand, teaches us to accept as self-evident matters about which it would be reasonable to suspend our judgement or to feel doubt.”

Aldous Huxley

 

A simplistic view of the measures taken to counteract the effect of the SARS-CoV-2 virus might give the impression that they were meticulously organised based on unquestionable “scientific evidence”, and necessary because we were dealing with a super-virus with unfathomable power for destruction.

  1. Organisation was, and still is, far from meticulous or coordinated. In the initial phase the focus was on hand-to-nose/eyes transmission. Masks were discouraged while panic buying of hand sanitiser became essential. This came out of the assumption that SARS-CoV-2 behaved like the flu virus. It was later agreed that aerosols were the most likely main transmission route, yet masks are still looked upon as less relevant than handwashing and distancing. This is not just illogical, it is impractical: In a normal life situation, wearing a mask is a lot easier than keeping a 2 metre distance, even when aware of distancing and the strict handwashing protocol!
  2.  
  3. The “science” behind the measures is based on ONE statistical model (from Imperial College London) which was never openly challenged by other models. Yet, in order to create a statistical model it is necessary to make numerous projections and assumptions. Projections are based on actual figures gathered initially, but without much perspective, such as how quickly the virus was spreading, while assumptions are necessary in terms of human behaviour and the elusive starting date of CoV-19 with patient zero. It is now fairly well documented that SARS-CoV-2 was already amongst us in late 2019 and that patient zero was not, as was assumed, in January/February 2020. This changes everything about the rate of spreading, the number of immune amongst us and the mortality rate. Yet, the initial model has not been revised and we are continuing to release lockdown based on the assumption that only a small percentage of us are immune and a high percentage of Covid-19 sufferers die. 
  4.  
  5. After a short appearance that started in January 2020, Covid-19 was dropped off, on March 19th, from the list of High Consequence Infectious Disease (HCID) on the Government’s website. For reference, lockdown in the UK officially started on the 26th of March, a fact that puts total lockdown in question: an unprecedented measure with extreme consequences! Lockdown measures were taken to control the rate of hospitalisation and reduce demand on limited life-support facilities but it was later agreed that delaying invasive oxygen support was more effective. Even at the most critical time of the pandemic, at no point did the NHS run out of ventilators. This is despite a current shortfall of 7100 apparatus below target.

Was total lockdown necessary by the time it was put in place?
Was continuing with it, for over 12 weeks, worth the damaging cost to our human psyche and societal fabric?
Was the “science” even accurate?
Did “The End justify The Means” in this social experiment?
Or simply demonstrate how easily our personal agency can be hijacked and manipulated!


Going forward we have acquired solid information about:

  • Viral transmission: The main dissemination of the virus is through aerosol. Those are tiny droplets which are formed and expelled when water or body fluids are under pressure. They stay in suspension for a number of minutes before settling. Under certain conditions, the lighter droplets can evaporate quicker than the time it takes to settle and they remain suspended for longer. When coming from a virus carrier, aerosols carry viral capsules that can settle on surfaces. Those can be picked up and transmitted from hands to nose or eyes. But, if you are on the slipstream of an aerosolised viral sneeze, they can be breathed directly into your lungs and bypass immune tissues in the nose and throat.
  •  
  • Viral load: This is a fundamental concept to contagion. A few virus particles will not be enough to mount an infection. Additionally the load threshold varies considerably from one individual to another depending on their immune resilience. Also relevant is the site of delivery. The skin and gut lining are more impermeable and resistant than the lungs which are designed to absorb small gaseous molecules straight into the bloodstream. It follows that viral loaded aerosol breathed directly into the lungs will more likely lead to infection than any other method of picking up the virus.
  •  
  • Contagion and asymptomatic carriers: There is much debate about SARS-CoV-2 and its exceptional power to survive, travel and replicate leading to theories about this super virus hiding where there is no symptom and making those asymptomatic carriers potential super spreaders.
    This theory is in fact an amalgamation of two different situations: pre-symptomatic (not yet aware of symptoms because very mild) and asymptomatic (never develops symptoms).
    Viral load spreading is greatest at the beginning of symptoms when the immune system has not yet started to organise its counterattack. Those symptoms start as vague and diffuse and are often un-detected until the 2nd or 3rd day, yet those first three days are the most contagious.
    Pre-symptomatic and asymptomatic are not the same. Asymptomatic carriers have been shown to be very low spreaders while the pre-symptomatic that is not yet fully aware of the problem can be particularly contagious especially if he shouts, sings, sneezes, coughs or has diarrhoea.
    Being vigilant really means being attentive to how we feel and our symptoms, even if they are mild.

    For reference, the following symptoms are associated with Covid 19:

    1. Temperature
    2. Fatigue
    3. Upper respiratory symptoms including sore throat and runny nose
    4. Loss of taste and/or smell
    5. Rash
    6. Skin symptoms akin to chilblains (red/swollen or discoloured extremities)
    7. Diarrhoea

    Fatigue or/and low-grade temperature with or without diarrhoea seem to be the earlier symptoms.

  • Aerosol formation and settling time: Those will form when we talk (the louder the more aerosols produced), puff and pant, sneeze and cough.
    Toilets are another area where aerosols are rife especially when flushing with the lid open.
    The larger droplets settle in a few minutes. The lighter/smaller ones can float for over an hour depending on conditions. The virus has been shown to survive for up to 72 hours depending on surfaces but this doesn’t make it likely to be contagious for that amount of time because viral load is such a critical factor in infection and virulence outside the host will diminish over time.

The most critical aspect of contagion is suspended aerosolised viral particles followed by hand to nose from infected surfaces.

This has led me to put in place the following measures to ensure your security and comfort:

      1. Pre-screening of all clients and therapists before coming into the clinic. Advising to stay home even if symptoms are mild.
      2. Obligatory masks for everyone. Those are available at the clinic.
      3. Hand-sanitising on arrival and throughout the day
      4. Air purifiers in the rooms during treatment for on-going aerosol elimination: those are equipped with HEPA filters (to filter larger particles), UV (shown to kill germs, including viruses) and an ioniser (shown to speed the settling time of aerosols).
      5. Ventilation protocol between treatments.
      6. Longer cleansing time between treatments to ensure that all contact-surfaces are cleansed; those include the toilet area, door handles, chairs, handrail etc.

Despite its confusing mortality rate and the greater threats from global warming, famine, diabetes and autism, Covid-19 has mobilised energy and deployed worldwide actions never seen before in human history.

Estimates of the average death rate for Covid-19 range between 0.1% (based on the control group provided by the Diamond Princess Cruise ship) and 0.5% . 

For reference, the autism rate in the UK in 2013 was estimated to be 1.1% and current projections suggest a doubling of reported cases by 2023.

Yet autism mobilises virtually no funding and no interest from governments or the WHO.

Interestingly, statistics about compliance at the start of lockdown showed that it did not correlate with the level of discomfort imposed. Poor, overcrowded quarters did just as well as the affluent ones, while people in the countryside did their best to resist the urge to seek fresh air and other healthy pursuits with equal determination. Regrettably, this much civic mobilisation was offset by the (minor!) side-effects of increased domestic violence, suicide and alcoholism but the near 100% increase in the demand for food-banks, although regrettable, was largely waived against the obvious benefit: we stayed home and we saved lives! an easy slogan to chant to the cadence of weekly self-congratulatory clapping which could be heard resonating all the way to emergency rooms across the land.

What strikes me the most about the current crisis is that, although the measures imposed may have brought us together and even given us a sense of united purpose at first, ultimately, it has accentuated differences between those who have and those who have not; I am not only referring to financial wealth, but physical health, mental resilience, spiritual faith, social support networks and access to basic rights such as clean water, fresh air and nutritious food.

Those who have will undoubtedly come out of the trauma better off than the less fortunate amongst us.

Predictably, economic necessity is catching up with the severity of the measures imposed; political solutions now have to juggle the obvious contradictions between the initial deadening messages used to get us to stay home and the necessity to break the lockdown to recover essential life-supporting income.

While the conditions of our release are being crafted to reconcile the dread of the outside world with our human needs for exploring and connecting, the younger population is feeling the strain of an open-ended social sacrifice essentially aimed at the elderly.

The time has come to step out of fear into our future but strict adherence to the rules has been replaced by confusion, and mistrust of social interactions whenever venturing outside the safety perimeter of home.

As I am preparing to return to a semblance of pre-Covid life and planning my post lockdown practice, I am confronted by a few home truths:

  • Extreme uncertainty is forcing me into the present. Uncertainty is one of the hardest things to accept. The brain is wired for action and finding solutions to problems: survival depends on it. When faced with uncertainty we can rebel and fret or we can let go and let God (trust). We all have an individual tolerance threshold for inaction. The ultimate surrender is when stress is so great that we can neither fight nor flight and we freeze. For the past few months, un-able to look forward to those punctuating events we need to create fresh memories, we have been flirting with our freeze response and we had to dig deep into creative resources, trusting they will keep us safe. Practising peaceful surrendering has helped me become more present.
  • Mental resilience is as much about cultivating healthy thoughts as it is about physical care: the connection between discipline and self-care has been brought to me into sharp relief in those chaotic times; nonetheless self-mastery is the foundation for meaning in life no matter the level of confusion and pain. There is no small victory when it comes to those acts of discipline and self-care!
  • Love casts out Fear: Fear has become the new ruler of our lives and added a layer of social suspicion I find profoundly disturbing… yet the love that has also poured in to support me is nourishing my hope that love overcomes no matter the level of unrest and discord around me. Love in action heals the wounds previously made by our fears and I am not short of opportunity to practise love in action at the moment :-)

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