Updated: Mar 31, 2021
A whole flippin' year!
And what a year it has been.
What started as an extended Spring Break turned into homeschooling which became known as long distance learning and then virtual schooling and then hybrid schooling and for some of us, back to school with social distancing and masks and a whole new set of rules and restrictions. For others it was permanent homeschooling. And for my teacher friends, it was am unimaginable amount of work and constant unknowns and pivoting. I think we all developed a deep love and appreciation for our children's teachers! We know who the real MVP's are!
But I also know that for many, countless people, it brought tragedy and loss. And for that, I am truly sorry for your loss. There were such unexpected and sudden losses during this time, that we didn't even get to grieve properly due to the lack of funerals and gatherings. I think about those people in our lives that left us and the families and friends who lost people and I send them so much love. Just know that you are not alone - even though it has felt like it a lot of the time.
On the other side of this, I hope for many it also brought about a time to reflect, spend time with your family and kids and go inward. For me, it was a lot of time meditating and playing with my girls. Not only did I feel a stronger bond with them as we navigated our new normal day after day, but I saw them getting closer than ever. They began to lean on each other for support and play with each other more. One night at dinner, my middle daughter turns to my oldest and said "have you noticed how much closer we have gotten during quarantine?" And my oldest smiled and looked back at her and responded "yeah, I did!" And that makes me tear up even now just writing about it. My husband and I had backyard day dates almost every day! It was a true test of how much we really love each other because we didn't get sick of each other once! ...well, maybe once!
I know for others it was a time to bust your asses to make ends meet and keep a job or a company in business. I know there were people creating new companies and shifting their business to be online in order to keep the business going. I know that the stress was high and the workload was often immeasurable. But whatever you went through, I hope that now, from this vantage point, you can see the light. I hope that you can see the changing of the tides. I also hope that you felt the love and support that poured from us as we did what we could to support and help from a safe distance.
It was scary and uncertain and I don't think I have said the words " I just don't know" so many times! What about you?
And can we take a moment and talk about hugs? Oh my goodness I never realized the importance of hugs. Or maybe I just didn't appreciate them enough. It is scientifically proven that hugs release oxytocin - the feel good chemical in our body. It also proven that a good long hug stimulated the vagus nerve, calming our brains and bodies. Hugs release fear and increase self-esteem, lower blood pressure, relieves pain (moms know this!) and strengthens relationships. They give us a sense of safety and belonging. And I think we have needed all those things more than EVER. So,
I will be filling up extra on the hugs as soon as we can.
As I look back over the past year I see it like a cocoon. It is still and silent, but rumbling under the surface. A massive transformation is quietly going on under the surface. That's how I imagine life this past year. We were all in our cocoon; in our transformation. Now it is time to start rattling free. What will you allow this past year, this experience that you have been through in the last 12 months teach you? How have you changed and grown? It may not be obvious at first. It wasn't to me right away. It's like a camera coming into focus very slowly. But if you are still and listen, you just might hear the rumblings of new ideas and thoughts and possibility. As I let my ideas and possibilities come into focus, I can't help but get excited - often forgetting to be patient and that everything has its time - to hurry up and get to the butterfly stage.
But it is coming.
For all of us.
We all have the opportunity to come out of our cocoon a butterfly this year.
Here is what I want you to think about:
What can you take from this very long experience of the pandemic?
What has it taught you?
How has it changed you?
Here are 5 things to try as you think about this:
Write it down. Just stream of consciousness - doesn't need to be Shakespeare.
Just sit and meditate on it. Sometimes it takes me a good 15 minutes for my monkey mind to shut up, so give yourself time! Be patient.
Go for a long walk or run - no phone! Sometimes my biggest "Ah Ha" moments come to me when I'm out walking or running in nature!
Go to lunch with a trust-worthy friend and talk about it. I love a good thought provoking mealtime conversation! Sometimes a little back and forth conversation is just what we need to get our ideas and thoughts in focus.
Get artsy! Get out the paints or the pencils or even the crayons and start drawing or painting. And before you tell me that you can't paint, may I remind you of Picasso, Mirot, Basquiat and other painters who are not realists. Art is subjective, so you do you! Thats the best part about art. It is never bad and it is never wrong. It is whatever you say it is. So create your little heart out - without judgement! You can also do a little cutting and pasting and make a collage! Get the kids involved and make it a whole family event.