How can I make some parts of this COVID experience beautiful or at the very least useful? I seem to be in a contemplative mood today. I don’t know if it’s the full moon or that summer has just ended (I am writing this on September 2nd). We have been living in a COVID world for almost half a year now and I’ve been reflecting on all that has happened in our lives this year. How has this transformed me? I sit trying to make sense of all the little parts that make up the whole and then questioning the point of doing so.
“What’s up?” my husband asked me. “You seem unsettled today…and you are sucking your teeth.”
Yeah the sucking my teeth thing, it’s a true sign of overthinking or over-stimulation. He knows me well.
“I can’t really pinpoint it exactly,” I shrugged. “I’m in some sort of weird mood.”
“My guess is that the last few months have been quieter than you prefer and now life is starting to gear up for you again.”
That may very well be true. I will be starting a new job soon which involves a new routine, new learning and new environment. However I feel my energy is more connected to it being about a cycle ending and wondering about what I may be bringing into my next beginning.
I gained a few things on a psychological level over the last few months. Crisis and chaos has the ability to reveal the good parts and the not-so-good parts about ourselves. On the positive side I have a greater sense of gratification and stronger sense of self. Through some difficult 2020 experiences I had to learn new ways of soothing myself being I didn’t have my usual distractions on hand. Meditation, affirmations and reflection started to become my go-to’s. It was difficult at first because all around me was an impending doom of some sort; in the world or in my world. Watching the news didn’t help either being the media is deficit-based and focuses on drama and conflict. And the world is a little pissed off right now. I had to figure out a way to thrive and find peace in the midst of chaos and uncertainty. I imagine everyone is trying to do the same.
I am a bit of a free spirit flittering here and there doing multiple things because I love the stimulation it provides. COVID anchored me to one spot frustrating me at first. Then I began to realize the importance of family, home and domestic life. My foundation had some cracks that needed addressing. The demands of the outside world had to wait in order for my family and me to sift and move through some things. It’s not yet where we all want it to be but we were all able to huddle together and talk freely about our uncomfortable issues.
I’m also one who likes to be two steps ahead of everything because I have this notion it can prevent mishaps, delays or crisis situations. COVID showed me I had very little control. I began to develop some clarity around letting go. I have been noticing a lot of discussion on social media about awareness, which COVID revealed many things to us as a society we haven’t noticed before. There is more to the world than we know. For me specifically it wasn’t just about an awareness but more of a coming to terms. I mean this in the context of my own little world and I don’t mean it in a totally accepting way but in a “so-now-what-do-I-do” kind of way. As for my influence on the world or the collective I believe that every little good makes a difference even though we may not see the true outcome of it. Do it anyway. A smile to a stranger can change his or her day. My husband had that experience when he held the door for an elderly man smiling at him. The old gentleman told him that it made his day and commented on my husband’s big smile (this was pre-masks). Such a simple thing kindness can do. It’s especially needed in these times.
COVID gave me an opportunity to get rid of what doesn’t work and opened me up to discover what can work. Letting go is really hard for me when it comes to control. I am intelligent enough to know control is fear based. But in my defense in my profession when things go bad it is really bad because it usually means a child has been harmed (or put in harm’s way) or died. That can keep you up at night. However, I am rewiring my irrational belief I can control everything. COVID and my husband’s cancer this year gave me that. A new word has come into my daily mantra, surrender. It’s still a work in progress.
David Bayer , author of the book Mind Hack, said we can only be in one emotional state at any given time; to be in an empowered state (of joy, curiosity, excitement, peace, calm or passion) or a primal state (of anger, frustration, boredom or fear). You can’t be in both at the same time and what puts you in either one of those ways of being is your own thinking. I prefer to operate from a powerful state of being rather than one of fear. Feeding my need to control only reinforces more control. Control is a primal state. In order to feel less panicky about stressful situations I had to think and behave differently. So I started putting more focus on creating meaningful experiences by seeking out more creative and fun opportunities instead of putting most of my attention to negative and unwanted things. You can argue this is still control (in that I am controlling only what I can control). But I can tell you the panic in my gizzard is almost gone and I am back to enjoying life more and more. This isn’t exactly easy during these crazy times but it’s necessary to maintain my sanity. If three parts out of ten in my life are going right I am going to be grateful as hell for those three and capitalize on them.
This is what is rolling around in my head today. That, and fall is here. Fall brings change. I am changing with it, improving and growing even if it’s just a smidge more than last month.
Now back to my original question, how can I make some parts of this COVID thing beautiful or at the very least useful? Oddly enough, I think I already am.