Apr 15, 2021

2020 was wild roller coaster ride most of us had never been on. When we were sent home to work and quarantine in March of last year, I didn’t have any idea what the year would hold. It began with an onslaught of anxiety. My family had just experienced the unexpected and early death of my father. We were plunged into the depths of grief and grappling with social distancing restrictions that made me fearful to touch or come close to my mom. There were times I didn’t know how I would get through to the next day, or ever feel joy again. I know many of us were faced with our worst fears this past year and many of us lost loved ones. My heart goes out to all those grieving in this moment. We are so rarely provided the space we need to grieve properly and I wish that for you.

The news was so dramatic in the way the pandemic swept the world. Even the scientists seemed to be baffled by the spread of the virus. People were contracting the disease, suffering and dying from a lack of knowledge on how to treat the virus. I remember being shocked to hear doctors were reporting people dying without much help from the ventilators. Yet, the US government was holding press conferences on how to get more ventilators out to the states. It was as if for the first time, no one could help us. Not scientists, doctors, politicians, our families. No one. We were on our own to study and learn how to make the best possible decisions for the health of ourselves and our families.

As time went by, I was working at home, and grateful to have been able to keep my job. I worked an eight hour day in the comfort of my own home without all the stress of having to get ready, pack a bag and rush out for the morning commute. Instead, I got up at 6 a.m. and explored spiritual practices. I read, meditated, walked on the ocean, got presentable from the waste up and logged onto my devices. Having a solid two hours of time for myself in the morning was a novelty. Starting my day unhurried and in contemplation changed the way I showed up to work. I felt more clear, calm and focused.

I also found I had extra energy reserves the societally imposed boundaries of social distancing. I had few social plans on the calendar and no intention of making any. I felt free to just be. Free to create my day from whatever arose in the moment. I was released from the cultural expectations of society as I was given an easy out for any plans that tried to sneak onto my calendar. The amount of stress and topped off with grief was so unbearable to my system, I needed to stop everything and slow way down. It became my number one priority to stay isolated so I could see my Mom once a week. Safely seeing her and keeping us safe physically, mentally, and emotionally were my only intentions.

As the months went on, I began feeling more grounded and centered than I had ever felt in my life. I found I finally had the energy to take some classes and explore my new found interests. I took a Buddhist meditation course and got more involved with my sangha. They had moved all their courses over to Zoom, so I was logging on with them twice a week. I took a leadership course and enrolled in a coaching program. Suddenly my life looked really different, and I wasn’t mad at it! I liked the boundaried space I had created for myself with little obligations. I also liked that my home felt like a sanctuary for my healing and I was being allowed to stay in that space and heal. My connections now were with like-minded people of integrity and we were learning and building the life of our dreams together.

Now, coming out of quarantine and looking back, it felt like dream time. We had space and time to explore a new way of life. To find stillness and drop into being. Now, I know we all spent that time in different ways and many suffered due to lack of resources and access to proper healthcare and resources.

In talking to colleagues, I’m seeing some similarities in regards to a rise in creativity. While taking a walk break with a colleague after not seeing each other for a year, she shared with me how she had spent her time. She started yoga again after a twenty year hiatus. She took up knitting and created mini clothing for dolls that she sent to family members. She enthusiastically showed me the photos of her creations. I was struck by the changes in her. I felt different and so did she. She went on to show me her indoor plant collections and we laughed at missing them now that we were back in the office. I know we will adapt to having to go into the office for work, but there are parts of that life I don’t want to go back to. So, how can we take what we have learned and integrate the lessons into the next phase of our lives?

Here is my list of lessons learned from my year of rest:

  1. Boundaries are important to maintain integrity.

  2. Establish a health routine, one you can maintain.

  3. Some form of ritual, prayer, mindfulness, and gratitude practice is essential to weathering the storm. Be grateful for what you have today.

  4. Creativity requires unfocused, unstructured time.

  5. Cultivate a soul tribe. These are people where the energy flow is reciprocal. Both give and both receive.

  6. Spend time in nature. Nature restores the bodies energy frequencies.

  7. Contemplate impermanence. We will die too, and if we lived through this, how will it inform what we do next with our lives. Let’s live with urgency.

  8. The importance of feeling emotions such as grief. Let them up and out. Feeling is part of being human and we cannot choose to just the positive emotions. There is joy in truth and allowing emotions to flow and exists as your present reality.

  9. Ask for help from coaches and therapists. I am a coach because I have been coached and I understand the transformative power of coaching. Don’t delay. Get clarity now.