A Pandemic Promise
After a podcast pause, I’m back with a bite-sized reflection from living my own E.P.I.C. life, that I hope may support you right where you are right now.
If in the midst of this global pandemic, you’re someone who has the privilege of sheltering in place like I do, and find yourself swinging from gratitude and inspiration to exasperation…I want you to know you are not alone.
By night, I’ll find myself writing a poem
And the next morning I’m tearing my hair out at Google Classroom and yelling at my children.
Many afternoons, when I’ve given up on any hope of providing “education” or “enrichment” to my 7-year-old, I’ll pass him the Ipad, and sink into reading posts and essays and listening to live videos or past episodes from my own podcast, that are slowly helping me to make meaning of this time.
I thought I’d offer some of these things I’ve been absorbing, with links so you can check them out for yourself. And then, I wanted to share with you a promise I wrote to myself, and invite you to make a promise of your own, if that feels right to you.
The first thing I want to encourage you to go and read is an essay by an Indian author Arundhati Roy in which she writes about how the coronavirus is an epic tragedy for her country and the world. But she also suggests that we not rush to a return to normalcy. In a powerful closing that had me catch my breath, she suggests that the virus is a “portal,” a gateway between one world and the next, and an opportunity to “break free from our current world and imagine it anew.”
Shortly after reading the essay, I watched a live video from my coach and mentor Lindsay Pera, herself trying to recover as she and her family have been sick with COVID-19 for over a month now. Lindsay referenced the idea that in this time of pause, for many of us, we are transforming, much like a caterpillar transforms inside its cocoon. She cautions against trying to break free from the cocoon too soon, before we have reformed, and invites us to create stillness and reflection in our pause.
And I read something from an anonymous writer who crafted a powerful metaphor about the virus as the storm we all find ourselves in, but the important reminder that we are not all in the same boat. We have very different circumstances, based on whether we are healthy, our profession, our family make-up, and our economic circumstances, among so many other factors, that make our experience of this storm unique.
I’ve also found comfort in past podcast episodes.
From Avanti Kumar Singh’s episode, I’m reminded of the power of ancient traditions, like Ayurveda, that remind us to create daily rituals, and that we have so much power to heal within. My conversation with Avanti a year ago inspired me to start pausing in the middle of the day, to lay on my back, and look up at the sky from my bedroom deck. And so, several afternoons, when things feel like they are spinning, II find myself there, grounding myself literally.
My conversation with Jonathan Fields of the Good Life Project has had me thinking about my “sparktype,” that unique blueprint that can help me root into and reconnect to my purpose. Jonathan also asked me to slow down in our conversation, giving me a challenge to spend some time when I first wake up, with my hand on my heart, to ask myself “what do I most want today?”
And when I feel a sense of despair and fear amid the uncertainty for our future, I think about my conversation with Nikka Smith, about the power of connecting to the wisdom of our ancestors, and how they are always with us. I think particularly about my grandmothers on both sides, and the stories I’ve heard about their challenges and their resilience. And I commit to make time with my children to talk with my parents about their own stories.
And my episode with mindfulness expert Michelle Gale, reminded me of her powerful three breath practice, and how we can try to find our own calm amid the storm.
When I sat down to write, I found the threads of meaning and reflection from all these sources weaving together into something I’m calling a “Pandemic Promise.” Here it is:
//A Pandemic Promise//
If the Pandemic is a Portal
Then I commit to breathe more deeply while I wait inside this pause
When I wake, hand on my heart, I’ll ask myself the questions that matter.
I’ll find moments to lay flat on my back and look to the sky.
I’ll consciously create routines that will feed me and my family, all the while reaching for equanimity, a grounded calm to anchor me from the storm.
And I’ll remember I have a unique blueprint,
to spark and express my purpose in service of others.
When I feel most afraid, I’ll gather stories of resilience from my parents, mentors and guides.
This time in-between time is fleeting faster than I realize.
And though we cannot pretend that we are all in the same boat, *a storm of the same name rages around each of us and calls us to something bigger than ourselves.
So my wish is not to hurry it along so I can come through the other side of the portal unchanged.
But, instead to slow myself down within it and emerge transformed, even a little…
Less attached to material items and attuned to consume and more committed to equity
And to seeing the humanity in each of us.
This moment in time won’t come again this way I tell myself.
And contribute to a better day.
What about you? What’s been grounding you during these times? What might you write in your own “Pandemic Promise?” Comment here or in our Mother’s Quest Facebook Group. I’d love to hear.
If you’d rather listen than read, you can also go straight to the podcast episode here.
Mark your calendar for the 3rd Annual Mother’s Quest Manifesto Challenge, starting on May 11th in the Facebook Group. Join here.
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