It’s a strange time in our world, one of massive shifts in perception and awareness. This pandemic has slowed us all down and yet, so many teachers of personal development are pushing “growth, transformation and a complete overhaul of the mind, body and spirit.” I find the amount of sponsored posts on my social media feed overwhelming, as they have encouraged me to “use this time wisely”, “come out of this better than you went in”, “take this time to lose the weight/build a meditation practice/go back to school/take their course/de-clutter the house/finish all your projects/be the best you can be/etc.”
While I understand that many have the time to do these things, most of us just haven’t had the energy or motivation to. This is especially true lately, as those of us with sensitive souls feel the pain, fear and struggle happening throughout the world.
It is such a time of enormous upheaval, of death and loss, grieving so much, including the life we once had and the life we thought we’d be living right now. There are so many emotions that come up when we have the time and space to really feel. Isolation can bring up and out pain, fear, anxiety, worries, and triggers for a lot of us.
Isolation can also bring out clarity and gratitude, if we are willing to move through the pain and honour our feelings. Out of chaos always comes clarity.
Our challenges, losses and trials are what shape us and help us grow. Pain pushes us the most. I have spoken to many who more than ever before now recognize the goodness in their lives, the important people they cherish, and the small things they took for granted. As our “new normal” (whatever that looks like) begins to take shape, many of us are beginning to set intentions on what we want this world to look like.
Personally, I have been processing a lot of my residual grief lately, afraid of losing another loved one, a threat that is made all too real by this virus. I miss my dad every day, knowing that his strength and humour would have made this quarantine a bit more bearable for my entire family. Today would have been my dad’s 66th birthday and I have been reflecting a lot lately on the lessons and the legacy he left behind and on what I want my “new normal” to look like.
My dad was a family man, through and through. His priority was always to do what was best for his family and to love us with everything he had. He and my mom only wanted the best for their three kids and this often motivated me to push myself, work hard and achieve, achieve, achieve. I loved to impress my parents with my grades, awards, and successes. I began to link achievement with love and approval and the people-pleasing empath in me became more and more driven.
This morning, as I always do on my dad’s birthday, I wrote him a letter. I thanked him for many things and reflected on this need for approval. As I wrote, I realized that becoming a mom has made me understand that, while my dad wanted the best for me, I always assumed that meant a stable job, money in the bank and a happy family. Lately, I haven’t been too concerned about the stable job and income. I’ve had to focus on being home with my girls and on keeping us all safe and as happy as possible. I wrote a post on my personal social media earlier this week that spoke to this focus:
“This pandemic has both heightened my own insecurities and also helped me through a lot of the bullshit I have let others put on my shoulders about my choice to stay home and raise our girls.
Yes, I am educated and yes I worked damn hard to build a career as well as my own business before having kids.
Choosing to stay home doesn’t negate that, or somehow “waste” my skills, education and abilities.
If anything, that hard work has allowed me the financial security to take this time to shape our girls into kind, generous, self-aware humans who will likely follow in my footsteps and be hard-working, driven and creative.
That is the real work, and while it is the hardest “job” I’ve ever had, I am owning my choice and doing my best each day to love my kids and my husband with all that I have.
I know I am lucky to have that choice and I also know that my ancestors and parents, who worked so hard for me to have a “better life” would be (and are) supportive of that choice.
My goal as we enter into a new normal is to own that choice and be proud of the work I’m doing each day to help the next generation be better.”
While writing to my dad this morning and reflecting on this post, I realized that his true hopes for me (as with any parent for their child) are for a happy life, whatever that looks like. Yes, my dad wishes me abundance in material form, but more than that, I know his wish for me is to have abundance measured by the depths of the love I share.
I know the best way to accomplish that is to feel and own my worthiness. To have an innate sense of gratitude that I have the freedom to raise my girls in a home filled with silliness, laughter and lots of hugs. To have the freedom and capacity to write, create and teach from a place of passion and enthusiasm, showing my daughters and countless other wonderful women by example how to shine their light into the world.
So, as a personal development author, I suppose I’m “on board” with the message of using this time to become a better version of yourself … just not in the way you might think.
Instead of pushing yourself to be “busy”, use this time to go within and become more self-aware. Gain some clarity on what it is that you were doing before this great pause that wasn’t bringing you fulfillment and think about what you’d like to spend your time and energy on instead.
When this is all over, where will you turn your focus?
Will your actions change?
What will bring you great joy and what are you ready to let go of?
How can you tap into your innate worthiness and develop a deeper sense of gratitude and presence?
If this reflection has you inspired to clean out your closet or begin eating healthier, great! Just be mindful of your motivation.
In times like these, we tend to avoid our feelings, eat all the sugar, drink all the rum, watch all the TV. And yes, a pandemic is the perfect time to clean out your PVR and eat snacks that make you feel happy, just be sure you aren’t numbing yourself.
Honour your feelings – the fear, the anxiety, the pain, the grief, the uncertainty. Reach out and talk to a family member, friend, counselor, minister. Journal your thoughts or simply pray. Welcome in the angels and departed loved ones that surround you to give you the strength and courage to keep going.
And go easy on yourself. Some days will be all about basic survival – just getting through and keeping you and your kids alive – while others may be full of motivation. Accept your energy as is, respect what your mind, body and spirit are asking of you and take this crazy situation one breath and one day at a time.
The clarity will come and, despite the feelings that this year will never end, you will look back on this time with hindsight someday.
What will you see?
I plan to see resilience, strength, and a tired mom who did her best to make her children feel loved, safe and special.
P.S. Get motivated with my free monthly meditations here.