The way I see it the COVID lockdown worked in our favor. Instead of feeling that something happened to us, I feel that something happened for us. I discovered many things about myself that I probably would not have realized had I not had the time to reflect. These are some of the lessons the pandemic taught me. Let me know if you can relate to any of them. Better yet, feel free to share what you learned during this time of isolation.
I noticed that in the early weeks of the shutdown, which in the United States began the second week in March, a lot of people went MIA. They simply disappeared. They became reclusive or turned to alcohol and drugs for answers. Some have found their way out. Others engaged private concierge physicians and lawyers to find answers and the rest are still struggling. I found this period to be a great time to gain strength.
One of my favorite sayings is, “this too shall pass.” Everything does. Nothing is constant other than change. If we embrace this truth, when each storm comes we’re better prepared. I believe that parents have a heads up when it comes to resiliency. As often as they’re tested by their children most of the time they spring right back up.
Resilient individuals do not easily get sucked into mass hysteria. I’ve learned to drown outside voices and surround myself around mindful thinkers. I don’t listen or watch the news 24/7 and, except for business, I spend a lot less time on social media than before the shutdown. When I feel my resilience ebbing, I reach out to masterminds in my community and remind myself of all the times I got through difficult moments.
PATIENCE AND STILLNESS
We all gave up something during the shutdown. Whether it was the inability to go to my favorite restaurant or shop at my convenience or having to stand in line, I didn’t die from any of these changes. In fact, altering my routine made me wonder why I rushed so much before.
The “new normal” reminded me that there’s always something positive I can contribute, even if it’s only a small gesture. We can’t know how showing someone appreciation, giving them an extra tip or just saying “thank you” may touch them. If we’re doing it from the heart and with loving intention, it doesn’t matter. We’ve planted a seed. I’d like to think we’ll all strive to be this way moving forward.
I enjoyed not rushing, keeping schedules or attending meetings though, I’ll admit, initially I was a little disoriented especially for someone who is used to the fast pace of the New York tri-state area.
I had many new and lovely experiences during lockdown. I found a massive (easily 30+ pounds) fresh-water turtle in a nearby creek and visited him/her on a couple of occasions. When I returned it lifted its head above the water as though to say it recognized me.
For some weeks I also watched a pair of wrens build a nest and feed their babies until they were ready to fly away. They knew I was there because on several occasions they’d do a song and dance for me. In my heart I knew this was a dance of joy that I was participating in such a beautiful development rather than a dance of warning or fear. Daily the parents perched on a rail outside my window and used it as a springboard to their nest to carry worms and bugs in their beaks to feed their chicks.
On the last day before the family left, I got to see one of the hatchlings fly out of the nest for the first time. I was close enough to notice his head covered in virgin downy and his bright pink little feet. They reminded me of shiny new shoes. How privileged I felt to witness nature this close in the still of the moment. It was an experience I would have easily missed during a “normal” day.
With few cars on the road and less emissions in the air our spring this year rolled out slower than usual giving plants and flowers the opportunity to display more vivid colors than in the past.
At the beginning of the lockdown, when we were all trying to make sense of what was going on, I used the extra time to learn new skills and advance in my profession.
I took several classes and workshops on numerous topics. Some courses for my license lasted several days and the material was grueling. Still, I passed the exams, received designations and became an expert in areas that few others dare to tread. I now stand out in my marketplace where there’s a lot of competition.
I believe in learning new skills and disciplines throughout life, not for the sake of titles, degrees or to impress but to better understand other points of view and to expand my way of thinking. It’s one of the reasons I love to travel. I love to experience new cultures and make global friends. Travel has opened my heart and made me more compassionate.
I’m happiest absorbing new information well knowing that I get to choose what I put to practice.
This period of quarantine taught me to be a selective consumer of online content, though most of the adventure was in navigating and sifting through a lot of online rubbish. I watched documentaries, multi-cultural and historical material. Not always but I “fact checked” many of the programs I watched. I know, pathetic, but I enjoyed the challenge and I learned a lot.
The greatest part of working from home was the ability to teach online and help people keep momentum in their businesses. I received a lot of satisfaction teaching neophytes how to use video conferencing, placing ads online and helping people transition their business from brick and mortar into the digital space.
The shutdown allowed me to reconnect with friends that I’d lost touch with. I spent time listening to adventures they’ve been on and catching up on years we’ve spent apart. We’ve all come full circle and reached similar conclusions about life.
In my desire to bring value to the world, I got out of my comfort zone and joined several new social groups during lockdown. It’s wonderful making new friends, hearing their stories and sharing our skills. These new communities have been eye opening, thought provoking and mostly humbling.
I longed for physical contact with friends during isolation. Social distancing, touching elbows or locking ankles just doesn’t give me the satisfaction that holding a hand, hugging or kissing does. As long as I can remember I’ve loved leisurely conversations sitting around a table with friends while sipping a cup of coffee.
I would have fit right into the Parisian cafes of the 1920’s where masterful writers and thinkers met on a regular basis. These were community gathering places to discuss current issues and exchange leading edge ideas. Great books, paintings and social change came out of this time and I have the same sense about the new communities I’ve joined.
There’s a wonderful energy exchange that takes place in physical proximity to others that can’t be duplicated over a video call. One of my closest friends says that I will be remembered for coming up with great ideas and solutions over a cup of latte.
Quiet time at home helped me to identify what’s is truly important to me, what I want most in life and how to get there. I created a list of items I’ve yet to achieve. The list keeps me on track, motivated and focused. It’s a process or modus operandi for my personal life. In order of importance, these are my daily priorities:
- Reflection/Meditation/Mindset/Alignment with Source
- Healthy foods
Why these three first? If I don’t take care of my body, mind and soul how can I be of help to others? These practices give me peace, harmony, joy, balance and set the tone to how I interact with the world.
- Family and friends
- Profession, Money
- Travel & Acquisitions
When I make the first three practices a priority, the second three flow to me with ease.
Shutdown reminded me how important it is to connect with my Higher self. I spent longer periods of inner quietness during lockdown. When I was stressed, feeling fear, distracted or disoriented, meditation gave me clarity and calmness. In meditation I get answers to problems I struggle with and ideas flow with ease.
I was concerned about keeping physically fit during shutdown. I started drinking more water, wearing less or no makeup, going for walks, enjoying nature and eating far more fruits and vegetables than ever before. Thanks to Zoom and live classes, I practiced Ashtanga yoga more. The combination of long slow posture movements tied to the breath creates intense inner heat. The practice burns out toxins through the sweat. The thinning of the blood improves blood and lymph flow, nurtures the body with loads of nutrients and keeps dis-ease at bay. I challenged myself in ways that tell me I’m only as limited as my thinking.
Whether it’s a massage, stretching or something as mundane as a mani/pedi when I pamper my body, I feel rejuvenated.
Of the many lessons I learned during the pandemic, the greatest is to not buy into mass belief. Weather hoarding out of shortage fear or blindly following the news, I’ve become a selective consumer of information.
Knowing that a handful of media companies control the news, I realize it’s in their interest to put out “consumable material.” Alarmism and exaggeration sell. Transparent and truthful journalism disappeared some time ago.
I can find data supporting opposite sides of any topic. So how do I know who is telling the truth or which side is right? I don’t. The best thing that I can do, in addition to due diligence, is to stick with my gut feeling.
There’s huge scientific evidence to support the benefits of going with your instinct. Numerous books have been written on the subject. Blink, by Malcolm Gladwell, is one of the best books on the subject. We all have a built-in guiding system that hints at what resonates as true. It’s always right. We have forgotten how to rely on it in this noise-filled world. Meditation helps to tap and refine the skill.
I’m not an anarchist, I’ve always respected the law and I’ve never seriously had doubts about authority. But, I’ll admit that, recently I’ve begun to question some leadership practices and the misuse of power.
Just because someone has a title or wears a uniform does not give them green light to abuse their position. I’m not one to keep quiet when I see an injustice. How I express my disapproval is my right and I will not pass judgement on how others speak their voices. We all want to be heard, we all have the freedom to choose how and we all have the right to peaceful co-existence. But we also all have the responsibility to speak up.
I learned that I can live happily with very little. I’ve always been a minimalist and, on a couple of occasions, new guests have asked if we just moved in. I decluttered considerably during isolation. I threw out and donated many personal and household items starting with those that I hadn’t used in over one year or had stored in boxes.
It feels great to lighten my load. My possessions are meaningful but I’m not my acquisitions and they don’t rule my life. They’re merely an expression of what I like and they don’t define who I am.
The quarantine gave me time to think about people who have transitioned. What do I remember about them? It’s not the things they owned or left behind but how they made me feel. The greatest lesson the pandemic taught me is to use speech, communication and expression to help people see a brighter vision for the future. It’s as certain as change.
I’d love to hear what lessons the pandemic taught you.