Life as we know it has paused. Depending on where you live, restrictions can vary, but the one constant is that we are all limited in our daily lives. For some of us, that is where and how (if you’re lucky enough to still have a job) we work. For parents of school age children, it can encompass how children are taught and the role of parents in their daily education. For people with health issues, it can limit where you go and who you see. For everyone, nights out on the town (from clubs to bowling alleys or movie theaters) looks different.
As a former teacher, the months of August and September are times to gear up for a new school year. My mind is shaped by the thirty one years I worked in the school system to be thinking and preparing for a new year, much as non educators plan a new beginning in January. I am always fighting anxiety and a need to “get to work” as the traditional school year starts. When I retired, I channeled this energy into the joy of traveling in the fall. This year the anxiety is intense as I watch friends and colleagues navigate the Covid world of virtual and in class learning. Without the distraction of being able to leave the area, I am stuck in the pause.
As time goes on in the way it always does, I am beginning to wonder if the enforced pause in our “normal life” holds a lesson. As one who has faced medical challenges, I am personally familiar with how the “normality” of life can disappear in the blink of a moment…or the sharing of a serious diagnosis. In those times that I have fought to bring back the normalcy that has disappeared, I have suffered greatly. It was only when I allowed myself to the surrender of “what is” that I began to move forward and create the shape of what was to come. I wonder if that is the lesson in the Covid pause that lies before all of us. I have been lamenting what is lost from regular day to day life. Maybe I should be surrendering to the “what is” that lies before us and search for the gifts that are to be found in this unprecedented time.
For me, it starts with breathing. Not the shallow, how can I make it through this moment by sucking in the minimum amount of air breathing that seems to be happening to us today, but intentional deep breathing that affirms I am alive. The type of breath that signals to my inner spirit that I am more than the anxious thoughts that swirl in my head. The slow, deliberate moments of consciously breathing in the moment before me that is suspended in the pause.
There is nothing remotely “normal” about the time that we have found ourselves all in. Whatever your personal circumstance and the loss that you’ve experienced, you have every right to grieve and lament what has been taken from you. But, when the moment presents itself and you are ready to surrender, take a moment to breathe deeply and view the “what is” that lies before you. Take the peace with you into the next moment and embrace the pause.E