Astrid & Irene: Doing things differently

Astrid & Irene

Can we change the way we do things? And how can we bring about that change? We’ve been seeking the answers to this in Flow for years.

We’ve published plenty of articles about hectic modern-day life, and how we keep soldiering on, on automatic pilot. We’ve written about the fear of missing out that creeps up on us when we’ve, once again, been scrolling through a timeline full of pictures of friends doing fun things while we were having a so-so-Sunday. And about the stress of planning the perfect travel route through Asia or the US. About our inability to stop running madly from work to social appointments.

So far this year, we have all been forced to make new and different choices, and we’re finding out there is actually plenty that can be done differently. We can have meetings with groups of people via video links. We can go on vacation close to home. And an evening in our backyard enjoying a new and adventurous recipe we tried out might be as much fun as an evening spent at a food truck festival.

And so we are seeing something beautiful emerging in the face of all the stress, fear and sadness of this difficult time. The automatic pilot has been switched off, and we are making more conscious choices. Since we did a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction training course twelve years ago, we’ve known how beneficial that is. It taught us to look at our own automatic reactions and patterns and to become aware of what was going on inside. To make a distinction between thoughts, emotions and behavior. To stay in the present more often instead of just living forward and backward.

In this Flow you will find lots of insights that come from mindfulness. Stories about celebrating differences, about failing, about empathy for yourself and others, and the importance of doing things consciously. As mindfulness guru Thich Nhat Hanh says: ‘The best way to take care of the future is to take care of the present moment’. And that’s what we’re going to do in this current situation: be present in the now and see what life brings. At the same time, we’re really looking forward to the day when that one thing we really miss can be done again. Something from previous times, which really can’t be done in any other way: being close to someone else, putting an arm around someone, comforting someone with a hug, greeting someone with a kiss. We’re looking ahead to doing these things again, but in the meantime finding ways to live in the here and now.

  • Slow down with our beautiful new issue 38. With lots of extra stories for this new time.

Text Irene Smit & Astrid van der Hulst  Photography Danique van Kesteren