What the heck is the new normal?

For someone who had been on the fringes of life, the outsider, the little girl that always was little away from the crowd,  despite being popular) the scapegoat, black sheep, you name it, you get to observe yourself and think about life than most I’d say.

Why? Being outcast gives you plenty of opportunities to observe, be different and move through life to the beat of your own drum, – and believe me, you do to learn how beat to your own drum! I spent many years figuring out, who I was, what I was meant to do, who to be, undoing what expectations were thrust upon me and all the internal baggage that came with it. I’m not saying I’m all there either.

But when you follow the rules of the tribe, be it your family, tradition, societal, church or any other religious, collective norms and we all can see none of the religious groups is exempt from this virus…And yes it is not something that is happening over ther..somewhere thousands of miles away from us, another country and what we only see and hear on the news, but actually at our doorstep. This is why this has become everyone’s problem, issue, concern and we are all in the same boat.

In a zoom support group yesterday, the leader asked to write down where you are enjoying your daily activity. All of it was my answer. It hasn’t put a dent in my life, well yes it has postponed my plans to go to Portugal but has it?

I’ve learnt to adapt to changes and unexpected occurrences, so this is no different. It may be delayed, and who knows for how long. But I’m okay with that.

In the meantime, I’ve adapted swiftly to the no go social outlets,  but have taken to riding my bike most days and I have always loved to work out outdoors, my choice of preference and for years took all my personal training clients and classes all outdoors before Bootcamp or any other class was ever taken outdoors! We are talking circa 1993 -2005

You couldn’t do that so easily now with needing councils permission for classes as with through health clubs with health and safety issues. These were days up in north London, Primrose Hill, Belsize Park and Hampstead!  Glory days! Certainly not the normal then!

Back to the current issue

The universal truth is Nobody knows how long this pandemic and lockdown will last.

Is it going to be a marathon? An endurance test? More than likely for many. Like all things that take endurance, we must be where we are – with all of it, The emotions, the discomfort, the not knowing, and sometimes just as well, because our minds may not be able to cope with the reality of knowing.

I have one friend who is wishing her days away, back to normal. Normal, work-life? Normal to see work colleagues be around people, in real life? I can understand that, but in reality, holding onto to that will make the process a struggle and one that is enduring than one of ease.

Truth is we are in the terrain of the unknown. And as human beings, we like to know, figure things out.  Scientists and researchers thrive on normalising and qualifying data and proving everything.  

The other things is An act of God cannot be reasoned. 

As human beings, we want guarantees. We all know, especially if you’ve had a few years of life behind you, there is none. Never and never will be. 

  • We’ve fallen into the trap of sanctifying marriage as a guarantee of keeping dead relationships together.
  • We’ve grown crops and tended to our gardens to have unexpected weather to destroy and ruin all the hard work
  • We planned our holidays meticulously, and you find the airstrike or weather ruins your so-called ideal holiday.
  • You hope and pray for a child, and you can conceive or get a child with a defect.
  • You dreamt of having children and getting married and yet you find yourself in your ’50s with none of your dreams fulfilled. But off course, it’s not the norm now, is it? Is it?
  • You put a deposit to buy a house and find that there was an indiscreet clause that has you lose all you planned and dreamt of.
  • You had the security of a regular salary or income and now its all been suspended and nobody knows what to do.

You get the gist.

You come to a point and find yourself THAT Life sometimes is what happens to you. Many struggle at surrendering and trusting. After all, we are control machines.

Its also recognising where we have power and where we don’t. Fear is courted by our sense of powerlessness.

The normal was we got married by a certain age. The norm was men courted and proposed. The model was we lived in a society of heteros, and anything else was hidden and a taboo, and punishable.

We lived in times when cancer was rare and over the years, the norm. We live in times when divorces were limited and now filed in epidemic proportions. We live in times when marriage now is deemed not necessary to have and be accepted as and respected as a couple.

There is no normal.

What am getting at here? Things like in nature will take and have its cyclical turn, and even nature has a force to destruct unexpectedly.

There are lots of theorists out there that will give you their pennies worth about the truth on the economy, virus and whether it is contagious or not.

NO one really knows.

Most new things came out of a need that becomes apparent as time goes on.  And too with this.

We are all going through the dark night of the soul. The COVID-19 A path where it is an initiation into it.

Let’s not call it the New Normal. Let’s not call it anything. Let’s just be with what is and allow for whatever it to emerge. That’s because none of us can imagine right now what that will like nor have I ever conformed to ‘normal standards’. It is a spiritual call. 

We are in the early throes of change. Most of us are aware of whatever reason and remember Source, Great Mystery can be very unreasonable – this is happening for a breakdown for us to rise. It may be how you show up, in the community, in your immediate family, with your friends who have been out of sight but now you reach out to them.

My flesh and blood who has not spoken to me in 2 years, – I have not bothered to break her spell, contacted me with words of concern and advice to rush out and stock up, as there was going to be lockdown. Without wanting to buy into the panic, I appreciated her call out of the blue. It meant a lot to me.

Having spent years in solitary exile, where I recall thinking then – fcuking hell! If I died..nobody would know. Indeed no word of a lie. I’d be one these sad person that had rotted to death, and the only thing that would alert people was the stench of my decaying body.

I never the bought into the whole, security, conformity, treadmill work, the corporate world working for security only ‘That’s normal’ – Isn’t it how we were raised? For me, my work had to have meaning.  To do what I loved. I taught holistic bodywork classes and private clients, but a the time, after several changes in places of living at the time, I was unable to resurrect the momentum and a regular income. Online is not as we know it now. I also wasn’t into the coaching model back in those days as it was all outward achievements of goal attaining, GROW model and such like.

When I did reach out and address the need for the connection it felt like I was putting upon, and most of my friends or family would say, ‘Oh but you are survivor, really strong! I thought you are okay’…Yep. I am that, I had to be. I got to be more resilient, resourceful and continued to find beauty in all things and love life.  I turned to the Big G for comfort and Angels, so I did not feel too on my own or abandoned. But I did at times, of course. I cried and felt isolated in a city. Wondered where my life was and had gone as I knew it. – ( long story and for a book someday)

I took solace and comfort from words found in phantom friendships on my bookcase and reasoned that they were here for me, despite the fact it was a one-sided affair. So I know what it is like to live in isolation. I also know it is an opportunity to connect with my spirit and as an opportunity for spiritual growth. I always had a deep trust that all that happened to me was to serve me ultimately.  To rise to the occasion it offered, even though I didn’t know what lay ahead.

I couldn’t tell you why I went through that or why I had to go through that, but I did and had to. And almost by magic life eventually and organically changed.

Normal is what we get accustomed to. On the one hand, there is no normal for me. I have as long as I can recall worked from home, freelance over the last few years online, on the whole, apart from the, as and when clients to cook for, coaching in person, and my regular slot of readings I offered externally. So I have gotten used to the unstructured days and trusting what needed to get done does, doing what needs to keep myself well, healthy and thriving. This is ‘my normal.’

I was hoping and planned to move to Portugal to set up a home from home retreat last year – a nourishing stay for those that needed respite from their chaotic or lost world. and for myself and my then partner to set it up and be with a new tribe and community.

While in the throes of planning that new life in Portugal, my relationship ended abruptly. In essence, it took me months to reconcile and grieve the loss of ‘that normal’ despite deep down knowing the break up was right. That itself the whole process can be isolating – especially if you are not seeing a therapist or a counsellor. The way my relationship turned out was not sustainable.

Just like we are all collectively recognise the life globally has been operating is not and being called to question in every way.

One of the early ‘live’ on Facebook was some advice from a fellow coach. I heard her talk about structure and how important it was. I disagree. It’s another form of rigid streamlining…structuring, and it is precisely the structure that we hold onto. It is what holds you. Something about being in the moment. Greeting each day with new possibilities, knowing that things need to be achieved or get done. Don’t get me wrong there are times structure, when I worked in Schools as housemistress it was imperative for structure but also too much doesn’t allow for inspiration and creativity. It creates rebellion and soulless lives.

I recall having to serve detention to a bunch of teenage girls for misbehaving badly in the dorms. Ordianlrlty they would be sent to the headmaster’s office then filed into structured detention. Instead, I decided to take the matter in my own hands-on the following Saturday morning they were sent to the portacabin by the halls of residence on the grounds. Each child was asked to pull out an angel card from the pretty drawstring bag. I asked them to each take their place by a desk where a pen and paper lay. They had 20 minutes to write what message or word meant to them, or brought up for them. They were to sit there in silence and do the writing.

When the time was up, I asked each of them to bring their chairs into a circle and their sheet of paper. What came out that ‘unnormal’ detention was the most heartwarming and bond-forming these girls experienced at the school. Tears welled in all our eyes as each girl read out loud to the group what their message was.

One girl came up to me said, “Miss that was best detention ever! Thank you so much.” I hope I taught those girls that day we don’t have to always do things the way things are done, and things can be done differently, but most of all these girls got an insight into each other souls that day, that they would otherwise have not.

It is how people try to normalise things. It gives us comfort. A sense of control. How about free falling instead? And see where it lands you? This time is precisely the opportunity to do so. 

Our only lifeboat is ourselves. No amount of toilet paper or food in the cupboards is going to make you feel safe and secure. No amount of yoga classes or HITT classes you do either. Yes, it will make you feel better, perhaps, but security and safety come from the depth of ourselves. No one is exempt from possibly contracting the virus nor dying at the end of the day.

Naturally, one tries to hang onto the old and what it knows. We all do that. It is our anchor.

Norms do not exist any more than it ever did. That happens whenever we lose something or someone that is important to us or what we are used to. We also know once something breaks, it cannot go back to how it was – a bit like Humpty Dumpty.

We need to build our legs to uncertainty. We need to develop our collective mindset to become inwardly resilient and in our sovereign. To move forward within the broken patterns and structures.  The only way is to go inward and connect with your soul, your rhythm, your power, your truth. We cannot do that on our own. We must call on Source and ask for Grace.

Get rid of the should do’s have to’s and whatever keeps you, hostage. I mean, of course, we need to comply with the measures that are in place to quarantine and contain the virus. I know some will be working from home. Some are no longer earning, have no means of a job, and their job is not translatable at home. Wherever you are on the scale of fear, anxiety, denial, rule breaker, or moaner…there is nowhere for anyone to go but in their literal internal homes and our inner core. 

You may feel the pressure to function as normal and operate as a business as usual. But it is a bottomless pit. Because no one can tell you what your normal to be, and right now, how long anything is going to be. There are speculations out there, but that’s okay…it’s part of the course, to want to be guessing, and listen to predictions.

Everyone is having a different experience. Be discerning to what you let in. Through following the herd in what we hear and put in our minds is the virus itself.  There are viruses everywhere if we look at it metaphorically, and if we allow envy, negativity or anything negative, it becomes virus-like.

I know people who are pining for their loved ones because they live on the other side of town or not anywhere in the near vicinity. I know of someone thriving because she is out in the countryside and is living the life of freedom and living on her own terms. She’s overlooked the fact that currently, she no longer is having to navigate the terrain of coupledom under the same roof as her hubby? That can be liberating in itself.

So right now there is no new or normal. Our normal is always a passing thing. It’s ever-shifting. It is subjective and personal. 

Perhaps like most Londoners or a city person, we are more tolerant of each other now and acknowledge each other with a greeting. That would be good to ‘normal’ to keep. Hopefully, this lockdown will be long enough to realise the importance of the other or human connection and kindness.

Will this all stay on? Will people go back to their selfish and ignorant ways? Once this is all over?

There has been much about generosity in tipping, and giving to the homeless, stopping offering a kind word, paying a Big Issue man £10.00 without the magazine, just because: My neighbour and many others dropping off food to another. People risking lives on the front line and in our immediate communities serving our shops so we can still buy groceries.

The ‘new normal’ – norm being Chambers dictionary defined, as a rule, an authoritative standard…a type, ordinary – to conform to normal standards.

We are certainly no longer in ordinary times but birthing I hope extraordinary ways of being. 

We can do that only, when we embrace where we are now, what we feel, and flow. You can’t just stay positive all the time, and it’s not real. You have the right to feel your anguish, have concern for those you love.

Check-in with yourself where your feelings of fear are coming from. It is yours?  Or is it suddenly from all the media footage you have been exposed to?

We are all still at the adjustment stage. 

If you can create your own rhythm, time and ways of being, within the confines you find yourself in. Be mindful of what you are buying, and see if you really need so much or can you do without? It has been reported that refuse companies have spoken of noticing much food wastage! Can you improvise? Get creative? And be less wasteful?

I believe this escalation of the virus is so we can become more conscious of the path of defining the self. The self that no longer depends on systems of having to conform or be part of something that doesn’t fit.  It is a time of the personal as well as collective growth.

My interest and work have always been about personal as it is the personal self that we bring into the collective whole. Without a healthy, wise and mystical self, how can we show up in our familial relationships, at work, in love and all the work we do? How can we make a change?

So much of peoples life has been framed from the outside, what I ought to do, who I ought to marry, what would people think of me? Our sense of worth navigated with things, children, a home, the expensive car, false nails, false power and leaders. ( By leaders I’m not talking about the apparent governments either) Maybe it’s a time to become more self-governing.

Stop listening to all the bull shit out there. Stop buying into false guidance and getting hijacked by these virtual groups that don’t nourish you. They may feed your need for distraction, yes, but is it really nourishing you?

The number of people advising without even the expertise on the subject is quite commendable if only to get their rates up on Youtube or take advantage of the times and feed their ego.

Why not spend time with yourself? Or be part of something that is really nourishing?  I guess like it’s going toward what you know and what you attract.

It is my biggest wish, whatever your take on the ‘new normal’ is that you have the spark in you to be vulnerable, courageous enough to allow the opportunity for this sacred slow downtime to be just that. And in that, you might emerge more in touch with your essence and get to know the self and discover while we are one and part of the collective that every one of us will be processing this change in our own ways.

We must have patience with all of this, the how long, the not knowing, allowing for whatever grief or emotion may take hold of us, whenever it arises. To perhaps reach out and touch someone, extending ourselves beyond the screens, by phone and voice. Accumulate self-understanding and of others, offer strength all the while replenishing our own.

Gain strength from nature and from our core self. If you find you watch others from the outside viewing families and couples, a mother and child, as at least they have someone in real life to touch and hold, know this too will pass.

There will be something better to come out of this, even though we cannot know what it is or may look like. This is life as we have never known it, but it is life with all its mystery.

All we can do is take each day as it comes, one foot in front of the other, move forward as we can.

Go inward and take time out, use the time well. Be productive by all means, especially if it is serving others, during this time of fear, uncertainty and possible pain.

Practice some form of regular spiritual practice, to keep yourself and to be guided to what you really want, as well as to keep on an even keel  – Spread your inner light without being subject to the darkest times or moment, and be open to the unknown.


Blessed be, blessed be, blessed be.

Rafah x

© Rafah Sabbagh 2020


If you are experiencing any core issues in your life do contact me for a private session or sessions. I offer bespoke sessions according to your needs and issues. I also offer relationship coaching with or without your partner and Family Mediation Coaching

Copyright (c) 2019 by Rafah Sabbagh. All rights reserved. You may quote, copy, translate and link to this article, in its entirety, on free, non-donation based websites only, as long as you include the author name and a working link back to this website. All other uses are strictly prohibited.


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