Self-Expression and Creativity (6 February 2021)
Empowering and Implementing Choices ( 6 March 2021)
Dr Kala Mistry, convenor of this informative four-part series on Embracing Isolation, reviewed the previous presentations (Being Alone; Isolation or Retreat and Taking Care; Valuing Your Wellbeing, aired on 5 December 2020 and 6 January 2021 respectively) and highlighted the spiritual-holistic perspective of healthcare shared by The Janki Foundation. This was followed by four presentations to an audience of 100 viewers.
The first speaker in Being Alone; Isolation or Retreat, Deirdre O’Toole, related the moving story of her own three-year journey in dealing with immobility and reduced cognitive function whilst living in isolation. She explained how the essential ‘you’ is powerfully positive and much deeper than any one single feeling when dealing with physical and psychological challenges. She described how her use of in-depth self-analysis and self-help courses coupled with support groups, ultimately helped her achieve healing through self-compassion. Deirdre encouraged people in a similar situation to learn to find a place of peace within themselves.
Reena Raj then explained how empirical, evidence-based positive psychology has demonstrated that practising gratitude can increase positive effects on mental and physical health.
Reena’s practical tip for people was to write out three good things that had happened on a particular day. She also suggested writing three letters of gratitude to oneself or others over a period of 8 weeks, the idea being that self-expression and creativity enhance mood and reduce feelings of loneliness.
The next speaker, Sharon O’Regan, spoke of the three pillars of resilience— motivation, problem solving and visualisation—and how they enable us to be fully engaged in the process of ‘living intentionally’. She explained how creativity was about discovering new things and changing old habits, how, for example, dance, breathing exercises, and mindful movement can stimulate the heart and how hydration is good both for your brain as well as creative processes.
Dr Astrid Bendomir, the third presenter, explained that the planet and adult human beings are 70% water. The work of the Japanese businessman Masaru Emoto explored the molecular structure of water and how it is affected by human consciousness. Astrid shared powerpoints showing the differences in water molecules after being subjected to thoughts of love and disgust. A second set of powerpoints depicted eight perfect water crystals, reflecting positive states of human consciousness—gratitude, beauty, love, happiness, wisdom, harmony, love for family, love for humanity and truth. Astrid pointed out that our internal molecular state could indeed reflect self-care as expressed in our daily life. Ultimately, how we care for ourselves and others is healing. Having an daily inner positive conversation and using innate states of human positivity in our thought’s words and actions, can help us to embrace a new pattern of thinking and promote our sense of wellbeing. Astrid suggested that being patient with oneself and practising listening to one’s inner voice in solitude are powerful tools in self-care and self-healing. Simply stated, inner positive self-talk supports wellbeing!
Empowering and Implementing Choices was the final webinar of the Embracing Isolation series and the participants—Kala Mistry, Astrid Bendomir, Mina Bobdey, Maggie Parle, Suja Chandran, Sharon O’Reagan (and, even though they weren’t present for this last session, Reena Raj and Dierdre O’Toole) — by now seemed like old friends and wise colleagues offering us final words of advice and support.
The messages were ones we may have heard or read before. Often though, for reasons of our own, we choose not to listen to or believe them even though, at our most sceptical, we still know deep down this advice to be true. What did the speakers have to say to us?
Be kind to ourselves; listen to our inner voice gently and without judgement. Observe oneself; it’s a very human characteristic (but unfortunately not a very helpful one) to take the good things for granted and to dwell on the bad. It takes effort to reverse this but it pays dividends to do so. Focus on the good things. Exercise the body and nurture our often hidden creativity— both of these cannot be over-estimated— and enjoy doing them without judgement or self -criticism. Self-compassion is especially helpful when faced with negative memories and situations, as is maintaining social connection. All of these are stepping stones to building self-esteem.
At this seminal moment in history the Embracing Isolation series presented us with an informed and informative opportunity to ask ourselves two fundamental questions: what memories, beliefs and behaviours do I need to hang on to, and which ones can I let go of? The answers to these questions may be the difference between our thinking of lockdown as a prison, or experiencing it as a time of personal liberation.
Sources of Further Information
Recordings of these sessions are on our Lectures page under “Events”.