The Pandemic Pause

I have not written since January 2nd, 2020 at which time I was reflecting on the future, setting intentions and expressing wishes. Looking back at that post, my wishes for this new decade was for us to embrace our humanity, choose happiness, and to cultivate our compassion. Little did I know 2 days into 2020 what was ahead of us. Back in January, I was busy making plans: our annual vacation in March, planning when to see a play with my daughter Katie, mapping out events on the calendar and planning my workshops . The interesting thing about us humans is that we tend to have faith in our futures. We plan stuff and believe our lives will go as planned, for the most part. This year that did not happen. COVID-19 had other plans. There was no vacation in Florida in March, no Jagged Little Pill on Broadway in April, workshops were cancelled, no high school graduation for my nephew in June, and on and on.

Instead of boarding a plane for Florida in March, we headed to the Berkshire Mountains in Massachusetts where we have a family home to stay. We planned on getting away for a week or so; instead, we stayed almost 3 months quarantining there. The house we were residing in is on top of a mountain on 9 acres and it is very isolating. This was both the good news and the bad news. For almost 3 months, we saw NO ONE we knew. Towards the end of our stay, on top of that majestic mountain, I sat on the deck (see picture below) and pondered the time we spent there riding the wave of this pandemic. I was so grateful for the safe haven that we had to run away to. I deeply missed my people, my grown children, my mom, my sisters, and my friends. I was grieving for what had been lost, the lives, the jobs, the businesses, but mostly the lives. I was and still am grateful for what had been gained…family time, self-reflection time, the decrease of carbon dioxide emissions, recovery time for water and air, our pets having us home, our children having us around, and the realization of what is important. I was deep in the throes of self care, taking virtual yoga classes from around the world, conducting drop-in meditation classes for others, journaling, walking in nature. I was blessed and depressed all at once.

This year has had quite an impact on me. I felt outraged A LOT this year. I was awakened to the widespread inequities that COVID-19 exposed which are egregious. I watched with the rest of the country the killing of George Floyd and I felt both outraged and heartbroken. I watched the politicizing of wearing a mask and I felt disgust. I watched the protection of the nursing home industry and the failure to protect the elderly in the care of that industry and I was horrified. And let’s not even discuss the conspiracy theories, PLEASE! I was percolating with outrage. And this challenged my usual way of being, which is to show up with acceptance of others and choosing happiness for myself. Instead, I was judging, and felt justified, and once I traveled down that self-righteous rabbit hole I ended up feeling disheartened and lost. Was this Pandemic waking me up or placing me in a prison?

I know that my spiritual practices help me align to my inner serenity but I felt at a loss in the ability to maintain that serenity when injustice was all around me. If we are all ONE, which is what I believe, how can I choose happiness while others suffer? I want to be of service and if I am not aligned, I cannot be of service. And yet, I cannot reach alignment until I deal with the outrage, the anger, and the sadness I feel. Ahh, it all goes back to being with our emotions, feeling what we feel. I had a decision to make, a path to choose. I KNEW what I needed to do. I needed to create space, the pause button I teach others as a life coach. I needed to create the Pandemic Pause. It is where our power is, when we acknowledge and validate how we feel and get still enough to be in touch with our truth and then take inspired action. So, I continued the dance of my own inner work, the work with my emotions and thoughts, and my outer work, advocacy for those less fortunate than me: the elderly, people of color, and those disadvantaged in any way. The realization when we sit with our emotions is that they are NEVER wrong. What if I was not outraged? I have decided that in these remaining weeks of 2020 and especially leading to November 3, I will share my journey. And, I want to hear yours! I do not want to look back at this time in history and ask myself “What did you do?” and not be able to answer satisfactorily. I am working on my Pandemic Pause daily and from that space, taking the next right action. I want this year to be what I wished for January 2nd…. a year of embracing our common humanity, choosing happiness and cultivating our compassion.

I would love to hear what has awakened you this year, what has shifted for you, and what do you wish for?