I anticipated to fall, hit rock bottom, and camp in the pit of self-pity anywhere between 5 weeks and 5 months. And I had my most sensible rescue remedy in place (the alternatives are vodka or chocolate): a Yoga Challenge. This one was going to be 42 days. It would shift my focus to the future, give me a sense of control and take the sharpest edges of my grief.
When all else fails and all hope is lost, do a yoga challenge. And I knew that when I went through the gates, returning from my holiday, I would feel like I had failed. Most of all myself.
Except that’s not at all what happened.
Yes, it was the most emotional week in years. And the most significant one. A month ago I was uncertain about an unfinished book, melancholic over an unavailable man, and unsatisfied with my inability to let the past go. And now? I found love, can let the past rest and see the book simply needed these six years to receive its proper ending.
But instead of a personal drama, a far bigger catastrophe took place: flight MH17 had departed from Schiphol just hours before mine arrived. And when it was shot down, we all saw that abyss of despair, gaping right in front of us. Like many, I was glued to my tv, even switching to BBC News when the Dutch news had stopped because it was the middle of the night. I was feeling awful. A numb feeling, overwhelming and unclear.
Today I wondered what I could blog, or what I should teach. Most people in class will be in the same position as me: they are not directly related to the victims and are caught somewhere between the virtue of empathy and the trap of second hand trauma. And it was then that I realized I had the answer right on my wrist:
Keep Calm and Carry On
A watch I had bought in London to mark the beginning of a different time in my life.
Keep Calm and Carry On originated in the second world war, although it was never brought to the public. The prints were discovered in 2000 by owners of a book store, who started selling and reprinted this reassuring poster.
If you need to be rescued from the thoughts in your head, to be released from haunting images, if you need guidance in these troubled times: Keep Calm and Carry on.
*) If you prefer 21 smaller series (f.e. for a 21 day Challenge) you can check my original blog 21 weeks Tara Stiles here.