Enduring the Long Haul

Enduring the Long Haul

On COVID, Waiting and Self-Care

Have you been holding your breath, waiting for COVID to be over?

On March 17th, the San Francisco Bay Area’s first day of shelter in place, I celebrated my 40th birthday not at a restaurant eating good food with friends, but in my own dining room on zoom drinking wine, promising a rain-check, and wondering what the next few months would bring.

Surely, I thought, we’d be done with this all by June.

So, we hunkered down and hid, waiting for the storm to pass. But June came and went, and between protests, re-openings and creative 4th of July celebrations, COVID began fading into the background of our lives.

Things were starting to look up. And we were ready.

In fact… we were starving for normal. For social connection. Physical touch. A breath of fresh air. The return of a feeling of physical safety in our bodies, hearts and minds.

Surely, we’re done with this now… right?

We were ready. And we were wrong.

What I’ve found over the past nearly twenty years of teaching and exploring personal transformation is that

the human ego can’t wait to get things back to normal –

even when “normal” isn’t really all that good.

Today as I sit alone in my apartment in Oakland California, I am contemplating the question: “what else?”

To be more specific: what else is needed for the United States of America – and human societies around the globe – to come out of the COVID pandemic (whenever it does finally end), even better off than we were before it started.

I’d like to know:
  • How can I fully surrender to what is happening right now, rather than resist, ignore or fight it, and learn what lessons it has to teach?
  • What does it look like to use this time as an opportunity to upgrade what hasn’t really been working after all?
  • And what does that mean specifically for me personally, the organizations I am a part of, and the clients I support?

With unexpected the rise of our curve in California and other states that felt proud for keeping it all under control, my looking is that it’s time to double down and commit to the path that COVID – and the recent eruption of long-standing racial tensions – have been insisting that we stop ignoring –

That it's time for us to use the tools we have (and create new ones as needed) to solve the critical problems that have made our individual lives (and our society) a whole lot less-than-optimal.

In my book Guts & Grace: A Woman’s Guide to Full Bodied Leadership I open the introductory chapter with a provocative question –

What if your last crash and burn moment was a “purposeful adjustment” to ignite your evolution re-set the trajectory of your life?

Truthfully, I’ve been shy about this chapter.

I’ve been hesitant to tell my potential clients and friends that “things getting worse before they get better” might be a normal part of the path to healing and growth.

But when I look at the world around me today – and witness people even more gripped by the FEAR of COVID than by the disease itself – I see that this perspective is both helpful and needed at this time.

If we truly take the longer view, and hold that this pandemic has something to teach us, we might just be able to get grounded enough in our own presence and curiosity to start truly learning.

Taking the longer view of the pandemic may also mean that we have to get more creative with our safety protocols and agreements, to ensure that they are healthy, sustainable and love-based, rather than unconscious projections of the fears we don’t yet know how to move beyond.

For example:
  • If you are living alone and going crazy starving for touch, while waiting for the world to “open up”, it may be time to explore options for physical intimacy that feel safe and meet your needs.
  • If you have aging parents who have been sheltering alone and far away for fear of contracting COVID, and you sincerely worry about not seeing them before they die, it may be time to get braver and more creative about how to create live connection opportunities now.
  • If your mental or emotional health is in shambles and you can’t focus on work, it may be time to hire a therapist to do the deeper healing work you’ve been avoiding, or work with a coach to design new resilience practices that help you to ground.
  • If your organization has been neglecting the creation of policies or protocols that make it possible for you, or people like you, to thrive, it may be time to gather a group of colleagues and challenge the status quo with an unusual or innovative solution.

In other words…

it may be time to stop settling, and make a sustainable change.

Taking any one of these steps will help put you back in the driver’s seat – behind the wheel of your own life and in creation (rather than reaction) mode.

The more that each of us as individuals choose to participate with and learn from the pandemic, rather than resist it,

the easier it will be to see what it may have to teach us this year.

2020 has been both a terrifying and exciting year of transformation so far.

We have NO IDEA what’s in store next.

But the truth is… that’s always been the case for humanity. We never really know what's in store next. We are not gods, and we do not ultimately control it. But we grasp and cling to what’s comfortable so automatically that we often forget it.

Are you willing to take another deep breath and ride this next wave together?

It might be your best bet for health and sanity in the months to come.

If you would like support to build resilience, sign up for this free 7-day challenge, the Joy Workouts!

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