The Great … Pause

What day are we on? I remember my last day in the office was Tuesday, March 17th.  I proudly wore my green to celebrate St. Paddy’s Day, but there was a heaviness in the air.  We couldn’t go celebrate at bars, or go out to eat, the declaration had been made the day prior … but it hadn’t sunk in yet.  I still had a part of me in denial. That seems like a lifetime ago.  What was life like before this? It’s difficult to remember … oh yea, I remember now.  Sure, we had freedom to eat out, to go to concerts, parties, to fly places, but were we really enjoying it? Or were we so frazzled that we weren’t really savoring how beautiful our lives really are? Running from here to there, packing in meetings, overworking, being depressed, … we were numbing out.

We were all on “the wheel”, head down, focused, brow furrowed, worry high, muscles tense. I don’t know who … God, Mother Nature, The Universe, The Force, The Source … but someone stuck a stick in our wheel and we all flew off.  Boy, did we fly off.  We flew off and our lives were turned upside down.  Everything we knew, our routines, our duties … it all changed. We flew off and smacked the crap out of our lives. Everyone was shocked, jostled, banged up in one way or another.  Some of us lost our jobs, some remember the days when they could miss their kids, some missed out on big events like weddings, proms and graduations and some of us (healthcare providers, teachers, first responders) saw our ‘regular’ jobs turn us into frontline soldiers in a war we never knew was even possible … we have all experienced a “loss” in one way or another.

Today, I was talking with a client and she shared something profound … ”In the rush to get back to “normal”, let’s not forget to reflect on what it is that we are rushing to get back to.” 

I love this.  Yes! 

  • What is it we want to get back to?
  • How has this experience shifted our perspective or our values?
  • Are there parts of my life that I don’t want to get back to? 
  • What changes have happened that I like: Am I walking more? Am I eating healthier? Am I having more time in solitude and reflection? Am I spending more time creatively? Am I getting sufficient rest now?

Inner Piece

Within each of us is a spark of the Divine, a connection of Love, a Force we can’t explain.  I refer to this as our Inner Piece.  I named my business this, not only because I thought it was clever, but because I truly believe each of us has this healing power within us.  In my work as a therapist, I assist people in discovering theirs.  When the younger more vulnerable and scared parts of us find out that within us we have this powerful “inner piece”, they soften.  They feel loved, safe, witnessed.  We can’t access this wisdom within ourselves when we are “on the wheel”, we must learn to practice stillness.  We must learn to slow down.  See how we are being helped now? I encourage you to practice finding your “Inner Piece”, some people describe a warm heart, some find it helpful to think of compassion and openness.  You will know when you have found it when you feel a sense of calm, curiosity, confidence and compassion for not only others, but for yourself.

Some good things are growing from this experience, I mean really good things.  And we all need to be on the lookout for the good.  It is easy to focus on the bad news, there is plenty of it.  But, take a moment and reflect on the little ways that you have found Joy. We must remember that dark times are times of growth.  We are growing. I have spoken to some of my oldest friends more in the last month than I had all year. The same is true for my family members. I hear my clients talking about the same thing. We got lost in the “game” of life.  We got so focused on the wheel that we forgot to pause and step off the wheel once in a while to get perspective.  Funny, how when we can’t do it on our own, the Higher Powers can intervene. 

I’m curious to see how we move through this experience.  What will it look like when we reach the other side.  What lights have been shined upon the darkest areas of our existence, that now we can’t forget? This pandemic has brought to light disparities in our country based on race and class, it has shined a light on our broken health care system (thank you to all you healthcare workers who continue to share your gifts and follow your path of being healers and helpers despite working in a system not designed to value you … we value you!!). It has also showed us inequity in access to education and safe housing. 

The system values money, this pandemic is showing us that everything doesn’t need to be about money.  We actually have abundance on this planet, but we have people with scarcity mindsets in charge.  There is enough for everyone.  There’s pie for me and you and them.

On a positive side, this experience reminds us that there is good in the world.  There’s no shortage of positive things happening whether it’s people making masks, making sure people have food, checking on elderly neighbors.  There is goodness in the world.  We all must remember that.  This experience is helping to bring that out and shed light on the darkness.  Continue to care for yourself so that you can be a light in the world.  Anxiety is contagious, and so is calm … what do you want to spread?

As you go about the rest of the week, notice how your life has changed for the positive. What are you enjoying more? How can you keep this in your life as we work our way through this? What don’t you like? How can you remove or improve this part of your life as you move forward.  

Next week, we will explore how to deepen our understanding of what we discover. What do we want to let go of? What do we want to keep? Now is the time, right? This is a time when we have the opportunity to make real changes.

Additional Resources

Helpful meditation from Tara Brach: 

8 minute yoga break:

Articles about positive things coming from pandemic:

Coronavirus good news: we have many blessings to count

Silver linings: how to stay positive during the coronavirus crisis

Self compassion for common humanity:

Guided Self-Compassion Meditations (MP3)

Book Recommendation:

When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chodron

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