Whenever we ignore life’s signals to change directions, life forces change in often extreme and catalytic ways. What we’re going through right now with Covid-19 is a global reset. At the end of this, will we choose a new path or revert back to the old?
Yes, this is a health-crisis pandemic, but our health was in jeopardy long before the virus. With anxiety, stress, blood-pressure, heart-disease, obesity, cancers, irritable bowel syndrome, and infertility at an all-time high, we as a whole society have not changed our behavior that is at the root of all of these health issues. Instead, we medicate to alleviate the symptoms and enable us to continue to power through. Coping and stubbornly refusing to change our workaholic lifestyles, we push our health aside to get that next promotion and accumulate more wealth, status and stuff that we hope will bring us fulfillment and admiration from others.
We keep ourselves too busy to face the truth. If we slow down, we’ll feel our dissatisfaction. Or we’ll somehow lose all we’ve worked so hard for.
When I was laid off in 2017, after sixteen years working in corporate America, I was forced to sit with myself in stillness for an extended period of time. I was so accustomed to going-going-going all the time, anxiety was my normal calibration. Being still was so uncomfortable that it took about six months before I allowed it to be. I found so many things to fill my time and distract me from addressing what I really needed, which was healing and resetting the damage I’d done to myself physically without even realizing it.
For eight years, I suffered from chronic back pain. For more than ten years, I had infertility issues such as an inconsistent menses, polycystic ovarian syndrome, and endometriosis. Most of my life, my weight yo-yoed has between eight sizes. And I had digestion issues (diagnosed as IBS) for about six years.
As I learned coaching tools through training, I used them on myself and exchanged coaching with my cohorts. Through those nine months, I managed to heal my chronic back pain and consistently land at a comfortable weight. Over the past three years, I’ve managed to get my menses back to a consistent 28-day cycle and my cramps have greatly reduced. I’ve even improved my digestion.
We can absolutely heal our bodies if we address the root cause and change the behaviors and environments that are causing the issues.
As a society, we have been treating our bodies unsustainably, which is the same way we’ve been treating our planet. Mother Earth is at a critical moment in her health. The majority has ignored climate change with an assumption that we’ll always have plenty of resources to consume and waste.
Then along comes Covid-19. We are now forced to go inward and be still on a global scale. As industries begin a hiatus and the normal busy-ness of going hither-tither has subsided, life is hitting the reset button.
Dolphins and swans are now swimming the Venice, Italy waterways, which are now crystal clear. Birds and wildlife are fluttering about the streets of Wuhan, China, whose skies have become blue and clear of the traditional black smog. Families are spending quality time together playing board games and engaging in creative arts. Musicians are writing songs that resonate with our souls. People are creatively finding ways to make each other laugh. We’re cooking meals together as a family, each joining in and doing their part.
We’re realizing the value of true connection and conversation as we make time to video conference with our nearest and dearest, some of whom we previously could somehow never find time for. We’re singing out windows in solidarity. We’re waving and smiling at neighbors (from six feet away) whom we haven’t ever met before.
We’re looking at resources like toilet paper, literal ‘waste product’, as if it’s gold. We’re now grateful to find food on grocery shelves…and sharing it with others who don’t have it. Big businesses and sole proprietors alike are offering services for free.
THIS – THIS IS WHAT LIFE IS ABOUT! And we are finally forced to do all that our hearts have been aching to do that was stuffed behind our constant coping.
So rather than trying to fill our schedules with doing, maybe we give ourselves some quiet stillness to breathe into right now. It’s ok to rest. It’s ok to reset. It’s ok to be still enough to find our center again. It’s ok to clean out what no longer serves us to make room for, and replace with, that which does.
This is our opportunity to take a new path. Lean into it. You’ve got time.
Ask yourself what you want your new life to look like when this is all over. Feel into your priorities. What lessons can you take from this experience? What do you want to release? What do you want to bring forward into the next chapter?