DEAR DEANNA: WHAT DO YOU KEEP FROM 2020?
“It seems like in the blink of an eye, a year has passed in quarantine. What can help me feel like this wasn’t a lost year?” — Alan
When Shelter-in-Place went into effect back in March of 2020, I was about to teach a weekend course on Ayurvedic Pregnancy. It wasn’t the first time I’d taught this subject, but I had to weigh a lot of things, not least of which was the huge number of unknown factors. Should I postpone in a few weeks when things would probably go back to normal?
Well, we all know now that things didn’t and still haven’t gone back to “normal”. And to be honest, I believe that particular “normal” will never come back again. We have now passed the one year marker on the pandemic in our country and I don’t know about you, but I almost can’t wrap my mind around how many events have occurred in that span of time.
Now that it seems like there are a few reasons to hope while I’m still going through the work of reconfiguring my practice and my business, I’m finding new ways to frame my outlook.
In some ways I was forced to simplify and in other ways, I had the power to make a choice.
So, the best way to make sure your 2020 wasn’t a complete waste is to examine the changes and make a choice. What will you keep?
Simplifying in some aspects is supported and well-received. In other respects, to simplify is to buck the flow of our current culture. Simplifying doesn’t just mean owning a few lovely things. It also means boundaries around our time or conscious choices around what we eat and under what circumstances.
It’s choosing not to veg out while we binge a show on the TV and scroll through Instagram on the phone in our hand. It’s only focusing on the meal we made for the time it takes to eat it. It’s watching our breath.
When you examine what you’re doing in order to discern how you actually want to spend your time, it’s your chance to redefine. Are you able to redefine what your weekend can look like? What does it mean to play? What works for professional productivity? Can you redefine entertainment? The fewer options you have, the more creative you must become. How are you getting creative with what you have available to you?
Finally, we have all gone through a deep lesson in patience. It’s known as a virtue and that’s not just for others. It improves our own emotional state and stress response to take a breath and recognize the need and ability to be patient. There is very, very little in most people’s lives that is so important as to be immediately urgent.
We all have the ability to respond within seconds to emails and texts, but it doesn’t mean we need to.
Don’t buy into the idea that you’re a failure or a bad friend or employee if you don’t respond within a few minutes or even one hour. This is an illusion that actually feeds the mechanisms of profit and fear. There IS time to breathe. Finish what you’re doing. Establish your “on” times and stick to them. Make sure you DO respond where appropriate, but you can take 24 hours to do so most of the time.
Take this interruption to the status quo as an opportunity to examine your own daily patterns.
Make a choice.
Take a breath and exercise patience.