The Art of Lockdown Cocooning
A key aspect of creating transformation in your life is a deep reconnection with the natural world, taking our cues from Mother Nature and slowing down to her pace. What reveals itself when we do this is wonderfully transformative, but it takes faith and patience to walk this path and in these days of technological instant gratification, patience is fast becoming a lost art.
But what if we ‘hack’ that perspective? In the Jewish culture, this tradition was reflected in the practice of ‘Sabbatical’ – where once every seven years, land-workers were able to take a year off, because it was recognised that for them to be as healthy as the land they tilled, they also needed to lie fallow. Nowadays, when do we ever give ourselves time to properly rest, beyond the snatched fortnight of a holiday – let alone a Sabbatical?
In these transformational times of Covid-19 lockdown, we have the opportunity to lay fallow, to slow down and focus on our inner transformation
Exactly what a caterpillar does within its cocoon during pupation before it becomes a butterfly. Okay – so most of us still have to work and we have families to support and houses to clean – but this invitation is not about being absent for a year, or even a week, it is about carving out a niche of time on a regular basis throughout the month and beyond – where you create a cocoon for transformation to happen.
This is how you do it.
- Announce to your family and friends, or commit to the process in writing via your journal, that every Thursday evening (or whatever evening, or timeframe that works best for you) for the next three months (or however long you can realistically commit to this), you will be cocooning.
- Enjoy the raised eyebrows and disbelief. Insist that during this time, you should not be disturbed – barring an emergency.
- Create your cocoon. If you share a bedroom with another human being, is there an alternative space you can use? If not, then be ready to pack down your ‘pod’ after each session. If you have a shed or summerhouse or a spare room, then mark out your territory! Your pod should be small and cosy, dark and sumptuous: collect drapes to hang and soft, furry blankets to snuggle in; have plenty of cushions to curl into and even hot water bottles at the ready if it becomes cold. You may like to hang golden fairy lights above your head to remind you of the stars. As it is with our animal cousins, even though your pod or den is likely to be inside, it should feel connected to the outside, so you might like to play the sound of a river or the ocean or the wind in the woods on your smartphone – there are many nature sound apps to choose from – or you may prefer silence. Light some incense and a candle, for nothing is quite as soporific as flickering candlelight. Bring into your pod anything that helps you to truly relax.
- Admire the beautiful space you have created just for you.
- At the appointed time, wear only loose-fitting comfortable clothes and no shoes. Crawl into your pod space and ensure you have at least an hour – preferably two or three – when you will not be disturbed. Set a gentle alarm on your smartphone to rouse you out of your contemplative state at the time you choose.
- Nestle, rummage, squirm. Get comfy. Then begin to slow…
- Focus on your breathing: in, two-three hold… out, two-three hold… Slower: in, two-three hold… out, two-three hold… Slower still: in, two-three hold… out, two-three hold… in, two-three hold… out, two-three hold…
- Relax and tune-in to the silence or the nature sounds. Keep breathing slowly.
- You may fall asleep or you may just breathe – but do absolutely nothing else.
Sounds easy, doesn’t it! But, it’s surprising how long it takes our chattering minds to become still. If you’re adept at meditation, you may easily be able to slip into a contemplative state where you become still within, but if, like many of us it is difficult to ‘let go’ of the busyness of the day, then cocooning may take a bit of practice. Do stick with this practice, because how often do you truly allow yourself to do nothing? Watching TV, reading, darning the kids’ socks, writing the shopping list, having friends around for dinner – this is not doing nothing.
Cocooning takes us beyond meditation into surrender. And what are we surrendering to? Our own natural rhythm and tempo that exists in every cell of our being. We were born with this instinct and we have learned to cover it over with the busyness and noise of modern life.
If any insights come to you during this time, then write them down after the session so that you may ponder upon them, but cocooning is all about true relaxation at a fundamental level. It asks nothing of you except commitment to letting go.
Lorna Howarth is a writer and publisher based in North Devon. She is co-writing The Soulistic Journey with Genevieve Boast, which will be published in October 2020.