Stop and Search
Yesterday i had my first experience of being stopped and searched by the police whilst out in my car. It was a very strange experience and although i hadn't done anything illegal, i still felt anxious and fearful.
I was feeling a bit locked in and just needed to venture out a bit further than the usual street walks i've been restricted to. I wanted to not feel the overbearing, heaviness of concrete that i'm surrounded by, so i decided to take a drive to a supermarket that is in the next town (still within 3 miles though of my home in Ripon).
It was a lovely drive. The sun was out, the roads were quiet and it reminded me of a time when i was a teenager and my mum took me out for a drive over the Purbecks in Dorset. She had a convertible at the time and we drove with the roof down letting the wind rush through our hair.
The view over to the North Yorkshire Moors were so clear and i started to think about planning a long hike with Biscuit (my Cocker Spaniel), taking a backpack with a little picnic and a flask of hot chocolate! My adventurous imagination then kicked in and it provoked thoughts about a trip to Scotland again; finding those white sandy beaches with no footprints. Don't worry, i was concentrating on driving!
Soon enough, i drove into Boroughbridge, a small market town, and saw a queue of traffic which seemed odd as the drive over was so quiet. As the traffic slowly started to move forward i saw a police officer in the middle of the road stopping drivers. I was shocked and felt instant fear! I knew i shouldn't have driven to another town and now i'm going to be caught. The police can check from your car number plate where you live and they will know i have made a trip longer than i should have. I then felt guilt for my little need to venture out and satisfy a craving.
As i got to the police officer, window wound down, i was met with a friendly smile and asked the purpose of my trip; which was to go to the supermarket (i didn't say that i wanted to idly wander the aisles for food inspiration so i could relieve cabin fever!). This seemed to satisfy the officer and she handed me a leaflet outlining what 'essential travel' means. I thought i'd ask her whether the travel restrictions means that my trip to the Moors and Scotland are not allowed. And, funnily enough, no they are not! No travel by any means unless it is essential; by foot, bike, car, planes, boats, trains!
All of a sudden i felt more trapped than before i got in the ruddy car! I drove into the supermarket carpark and drove straight back out again to return to my local supermarket and shop without any guilt, anxiety or fear!
The idea of staying local got me thinking again of the importance of localisation and the Transition Town movement; a project i got very involved in whilst at university. Transitioning from being reliant and controlled by national and global externalities to becoming a local, independent community where you can reclaim the economy, spark entrepreneurship, reimagining work, reskilling and weaving webs of connection and support is not revolutionary, it's common sense! And, once again, we are faced with another crisis where life as we normally know it has collapsed.
There is still a lack of community in the UK and it seems that only in the face of a crisis will (some) we extend a hand to thy neighbour - why is this? Why do we feel the benefits of coming together, nurture a caring culture, support each other and then shut it out when things go 'back to normal'? Can we finally learn from this awful experience and really make a change?
I'd like to invite you to reflect on how to find balance between your head, heart and hands:
The Head: we act on the basis of the best information and evidence available and apply our collective intelligence to find better ways of living.
The Heart: we work with compassion, valuing and paying attention to the emotional, psychological, relational and social aspects of the work we do.
The Hands: we turn our vision and ideas into a tangible reality, initiating practical projects and starting to build a new, healthy economy in the place we live.
Although my touch therapy has been put on hold at the moment, i have taken this time to check in again with my values and relate them to the above TT prinicples. Reassuringly, i'm still on track, although i do display more of the heart, but i don't think that's such a bad thing! Living in a way that projects loving kindness fills me with warmth and i wish that feeling onto you too.
If you would like to re/discover your values, my sister Amy, founder of Elements of Wellness has put together an exercise to help you -
Until next time, from my heart to yours, stay local, stay kind & stay safe xxx