May 29-31, 2021
As North Carolina, and Orange County even more so, begins to emerge from lock-down-mode; as I am moving back toward having indoor, in-person yoga classes again after almost fifteen months of Zooming almost all of them; and as many of us are starting to feel more confident and easeful moving about the outer world, some reflection is certainly in order. How each individual acted or reacted in relation to the pandemic and all it brought with it reveals information and insight only into that individual. The last year provided a unique mirror through which to view ourselves; we’ve never viewed ourselves through that mirror, and (please, God!) we hope to never have that mirror to view ourselves through again! (Right?) How we were in and through this challenge and its demands sheds light on who we are, what we believe, what we fear or don’t want to see, what we value and what we don’t. That’s a short list which I’m sure you can make much longer. What are two things I forgot about?
I had the luxury of viewing Covid mostly as an opportunity, and yes, some of it was a pain in the ass. (I now feel like I’m opening my third business in a year!) But for many others it was death, or a tragedy, or a threat to life either directly from the virus or from the circumstances that came with it as loss of job or home or food; for the super-financially wealthy, it was a windfall and great way to amass more unneeded wealth; for others it was something to reasonably or unreasonably fear, something (else) to hate or resist or ignore, a minor or major annoyance or inconvenience, an ordeal, or a source of heartbreak or depression or ongoing future health challenges or poverty. Another list that could go on!
For me it was a sabbatical—what a blessing!—something I had been feeling the need of for years (and would never have taken), and so even though I am the main homeschooler of our sixteen-year-old, it was still more relaxing than that PLUS my over-full teaching schedule of before. Since I personally hope to learn the lessons of it so I don’t have to do it again(!), especially as my life appears to be moving back to something more approximating how it was pre-Covid, I am really trying to keep in mind the personal lessons that I got from it, primarily that I don’t want to be teaching quite as much as I had been before. Though writing that, it seems to be an easy thing to keep in mind and accomplish, but… I know myself. Have you ever had a New Year’s resolution before? How often have you kept it up all year? Do you even remember your Resolution from this last New Year’s? Exactly, so I’m partly writing this for myself, not just for you. 🤔
This could be a very short blog: Did you learn any personal lesson from your unique experiences of the last fifteen months? Did you learn something of personal value and meaning? If no, seriously?!!! What were you doing all those months? OR, if no, REFLECT AND LEARN THEM NOW!!! Hopefully the opportunity is quickly passing! (Don’t make all of us go through another pandemic so that you can learn what you needed to learn but didn’t!) If yes, please join me in maintaining the remembrance of them. (Potential end of very short blog)
Because we are creatures of habit, we may “want to go back” to the previous life/world, but really, given what happened, do you really want to go back to the old normal? Do you want to go back to the exact same life you had pre-Covid? For some, I’m sure that would be a blessing to have that opportunity, but I’m thinking that for the majority of us, that would be a curse. That would be us simply being stuck and stagnant, unable or unwilling for whatever reason to actually move forward in our life in the way that was best for us and for all others.
Sure some of the old we would like to recover (How about in-person yoga with a community of people able and willing to see, love and support you over weeks and years? Hugs anyone?), but how much of the old really wasn’t serving us? I’ve made changes and added supportive things in my life that I intend to continue. I’m less intent on reading “the news” of the world; I am more dedicated to my personal reading and study; I more committed to “stretching” my continuing education beyond what it had been before; I made a better “office” situation that allows me to more easily focus without distractions from others in my house. My sadhana has deepened, partly from the deeper need to connect Inward more deeply as one tangible way I could help the world when I couldn’t be actually with people.
I admit to being an introvert, which you wouldn’t necessarily know from my job, but without that quality, I wouldn’t be able to do what I do. So for me, having an excuse to not be so out in public was much easier than I’m sure it was for others. My life situation, once the transition to Zoom was made, allowed me to be able to eat and pay the bills for all these months without worry. Our kids are older and thus easier than if they were younger. I didn’t actually know anyone personally who died of Covid. I have a strong spiritual practice and felt the Grace of the Divine and my spiritual Teacher all these months. I, as many of us, actually COULD live in lock-down and survive OK. (HUGE THANK YOU to all of you front-line workers and others who kept the outside world going for the rest of us during this time!) All this is to say, again, that I had the luxury of being able to have enough ease in the situation to reflect and learn from it, and I don’t want to diminish anyone’s hardship who had a more difficult time through it all for any number of reasons. But many of us—most people reading this, I assume—did actually have the chance to learn, and that’s what I’d like to acknowledge and encourage.
If you are still on the fence about this idea, WHAT IF, as I’ve been saying for weeks in Yoga practice, WHAT IF this (whole Covid-thing) is (was) exactly how it’s supposed to be? Or, what’s one thing you can be genuinely grateful for from the Covid? There’s gotta be SOMETHING, one thing, one little thing even. Is there a potential lesson for you in that one thing?
To end, and to state the obvious, as I’ve said many times before, the future is unpredictable and things change! If the Covid didn’t teach us that, or “hammer it home,” what will? Yoga practice, and actually living our Yoga, is partly to acknowledge the undying Truth that we live in a constantly changing world and to get very comfortable, compassionate, loving and joyful within that Reality. The only way to do that is to have a Base, a Ground, something more Permanent (feeling), and It’s to be found Inside. We come back to that again and again. I hope to see you very soon.