As we see glimpses of what life might be like Post-Pandemic, do you find yourself wondering what this world event and crisis has really been about. Now granted, I am the type of person who believes there is a reason for everything. Over the years I have grown to understand that this strategy allows me to move on easily and not brood about the past.
Taking this approach, I find myself looking at the last 14+ months and examining what I and others have learned, checking in with my observations. Here is a little of what I have witnessed.
Friends/colleagues who were unhappily pursuing a business idea, a business which while profitable had long since become challenging, had to close the business. Sometimes it takes a significant event, like COVID, to give people permission to make a decision that was long overdue. In that same vein, colleagues of mine who were business partners where the partnership was not working very well and where they were unable to have the important conversations, were forced to face one another and be truthful. When the ball drops as we say, everything is laid bare.
Family members where both parents were working and commuting, where their two teenage daughters were involved in a bevy of extracurricular activities and where life was breathless (my judgment), were stopped in their tracks. Their jobs, while preserved, became home based, their daughters home-schooled and all activities that could be went on-line. Yes, it was drastic, a huge shift in how they were living their life. However, they all have had a chance to catch their breath. They have started to prepare meals together and have family nights of playing games and creating special family events. The pace of their life allows then to appreciate one another in a much more mindful way. The quality of their family life has improved immensely.
That is not to deny there is a down side, of this I am fully aware. I understand that depression and anxiety have skyrocketed, especially for children. Mental health is at a crisis level and there will be plenty of fall-out post pandemic. And, mental health has been at a crisis level for years, riding just below the surface of life, ignored and allowed. As a former health care professional, I have witnessed the erosion of healthcare services, particularly for mental health, dwindle. As a family member of nieces and nephews requiring mental health and addiction services, I can attest to the challenges of finding appropriate counselling services and addiction placements. So again, has the pandemic helped us here by forcing the issue, making it clear that there are elements of care that can no longer be underfunded and swept under the carpet.
I am on my soap box but before I step off, I encourage all of us examine the lessons we are taking away from all of this. A couple weeks ago in my journal I was musing on meaning and wrote the following question: “What if the Pandemic is a time-out, contrived by the Universe, to allow humanity to shift consciousness? What if the pandemic, at its core, simply represents the “breath of life”, a sign that Mother Earth needs to breathe again?” I have given these two questions a great deal of thought, in fact I remember writing something similar when this first began. How do you stop an out-of-control train without pulling up the tracks?
We are now faced with a perfect opportunity. Rather than life returning to ‘normal’ as we all keep wishing for, let’s reflect on what we really want in our lives, for our families and community and for the world/ What is our new normal? What have the last many months taught us that we want to keep in our lives: a slower pace, shared family time, high quality dialogue, living from what lights us up, remembering and integrating the really important things in our daily life. You know it will be easy to jump right back in and in a couple of years look back and wonder to yourself, ‘what was that about?’ and recognize that what you learned was quickly forgotten. Let’s not do that. Let’s begin to live more mindfully. Let’s begin living today and making healthy choices for this moment. Let’s stop postponing all the things we want until tomorrow. I have learned from this world event is that tomorrow really never does come and that all the things I have put on hold, may no longer be possible. Lesson learned.
My pandemic experience has been somewhat unusual and this may also serve as a filter for how I view the experiences. In Feb. 2020 we sold our country home then left for Portugal for two months. Yes, we were abroad when the world closed down and yes, we were not able to stay. For the first time in my life, I experienced real anxiety as we endeavored to cope with the advice and warnings from friends and family to ‘RETURN HOME NOW’ and deal with our reality abroad. I have always trusted that my higher power has my back and I really learned to trust that belief. When my anxiety escalated, I would meditate on the intention “I am attracting all that is in my highest good”. In the end, we returned home safely, there were plenty of signs that my back was covered, and I re-learned that trust.
My friends, I write all of this as an invitation to each of us to wonder and reflect about the last few months and evaluate what we have learned and the lessons we wish to incorporate in our new normal. My fervent wish, my vision, is that we heal, that Mother Earth heals, that we come together again in love, respect and compassion, and that we remember what we have experienced in a meaningful way.
Until Next Time
Betty Healey, MEd., CAPP
Your thoughts and strategies are always welcome and if you care to share you can reach me at: [email protected]