COVID-19 has shaken up the entire world. Literally. Everything is topsy-turvy. With rules and regulations changing and shifting every day, life quickly feels whelming. COVID has been a challenging and uncertain season, with many people taking on new kinds of roles and responsibilities and re-negotiate many, if not all, aspects of their life. Changing work environments and navigating new online platforms, figuring out how to take care of, educate, and entertain kids and extended family, spending more time with loved ones (for better and for worse), and not being able to escape in the traditional ways that our culture so enjoys creates for an interesting new reality.
Further, this has been a time of loss and fear for many people facing illness and death in its many forms. For those grieving the loss of a loved one or struggling with an addiction or an abusive relationship, being forced to stay home alone or with others is not easy or safe but is instead feared and dreaded. I do not want to downplay the seriousness of the situation or the harsh realities that it has placed on many people. My heart goes out to all of those who are struggling to make ends meet right now or facing circumstances more significant than they can control. For those of us who are fortunate enough to be still standing, it is our job and our responsibility to look out for the people around us and offer support in the ways we can. COVID is a worldwide pandemic which means it will require worldwide healing and collaboration moving forward.
Now, turning to my own experience, this worldwide pandemic has been surprisingly positive and healing for me. And I do not think I am the only one. Yet, there is some severe shame around claiming that I have enjoyed this season and that there is part of me that does not want it to end or for life to “go back to normal.” There is shame around claiming these realities because, this season has been, and continues to be, so difficult for so many. Please hear me when I say that I do not want to downplay anybody’s experience, pain, anger, or real fears about navigating into this unknown future. I do not have answers about any of it, and I never will pretend to. What I do have, however, is my own experience, strength, and hope; I have the lessons that are unfolding around me and the daily practices that are continuing to guide and shape me. It is important to highlight these realities and lessons in hopes that they inspire someone, instill hope in someone, or maybe, allow someone else to feel like it is okay to be okay right now. So, here are 3 of the lessons that I am learning during quarantine.
1. Every day, we have a choice
While we cannot always choose our circumstances, we can choose how we approach each day and each moment. We can choose to lean into what feels good and life-giving rather than what is life-sucking and draining. We can choose to turn off the news, drink more water, go on a walk, write, draw, meditate, move our bodies, drink our favorite beverage, be grateful, and cultivate joy.
2. Energy matters & you have to put yourself first
So often, when the world was fully operational and moving full speed ahead, days would pass without me having spent more than an hour in solitude with myself, indulging in my own company. It was not until quarantine, when we were asked to stay home and refrain from our busyness, that I finally caught my breath. Wow! I am learning how much I need this space to breathe, think, create, and re-charge. Our culture tells us we need to go, go, go, but as I tune in, I realize how important it is to slow down and be. This simple shift is life-changing, healing, and grounding. It feels like I am meeting myself for the first time, and, hey, I think I am pretty cool!
3. Dream BIG but take it a day and a time
We are constantly creating our future with each decision and each moment. Don’t be afraid to dream big and play with lofty goals that seem outside your grasp. There are so many groups of people coming together to support each other around various passions and aspirations! We are all given the same 24 hours, and we are all capable of greatness! Don’t get stuck focusing on the enormous, scary and daunting dream, but ask yourself: what can I do today, right now, that moves me just a milometer closer to that goal? You can choose to stare at a tall mountain forever overwhelmed by its greatness, or you can choose to take a baby step and start the climb. One foot in front of the other. One day at a time.