Before the pandemic, my life was like many middle-class parents in America: I did my best to balance building my businesses, shuttle my children to school and activities, volunteer in my community, and somewhere in there claim time for myself. It was all too much, but I couldn’t find any dead weight to trim.
And then, COVID happened, and the choice was removed for me.
There have been months of talk about “the new normal,” and “when we get back to normal,” or even, “when we find our new routine…” But what if that never happens? And what if we don’t want it to?
Sure, there are parts of our old life that we all miss, and many of us are struggling in the current environment, but what good can we find in it all? What lessons can we learn, and what insights can we glean?
As we move into a new age, a new administration, and a new awareness that the effects of COVID aren’t going to magically disappear, we have choices before us: try to get back to some semblance of the routine we had before or… explore life with a new kind of flow.
What does that look like for you? Will you keep the job even though going back to the office fills you with dread? Will you put the kids in extracurriculars out of a sense of obligation? Will you maintain friendships that don’t support your happiness and success?
Or will you… remember how good it felt to spend a quiet weekend at home, finally cleaning out the hall closet instead of rushing around town? Remember how productive working at home turned out to be once you worked out the kinks? Take stock of the relationships that persisted through the storm and notice the ones that fell away? Reflect on what you thought was so important in March of last year, and what is important now?
If life was a buffet, the pandemic swept its arm across the table, knocking all the platters, chafing dishes, serving spoons, and parsley sprigs to the floor. With care and precision, I have chosen to place back, with loving intention, the dishes that serve my wellbeing and that of my family, and place them just so.
Ok, Gina, all that sounds great, but what does that actually mean in real life?
Here are some concrete examples of what I mean.
Getting Intentional with My Time
First, I love to volunteer. I believe that we are responsible for creating the community in which we wish to live, but I found myself out of balance with my volunteerism: working for free ended up taking over the work I was paid to do. Before COVID, I had begun dialing back my commitments and employing a greater level of awareness for what I was agreeing to, and the time it would take from my family and my work. During the shutdown, many of those groups had to stop anyway, and I’m finding that without the clutter, I am more clearly able to see which ones truly call to me, and which ones I can lay down while supporting and empowering others to step into those positions.
I’ve also gained clarity in the old the need to be busy – get out there – do it all! Pre-COVID, my husband and I would take our two boys adventuring on the weekends, often enjoying a street fair, botanical garden, hike, and restaurants all on the same day. We had a lot of fun and exposed the boys to broadening experiences, but it could be exhausting, and there was also a level of FOMO underlying it all. Plus, since we were out so much, only home long enough to shower and fall into bed, the house was always in disarray.
We have found joy in weekends at home, balancing work in the house and garden, focusing on creating and maintaining a living space that is a tidy, welcoming expression of our family culture. I love a weekend spent weeding the garden, folding the laundry, and snuggling up for a movie at night. And instead of starting the week with a wrecked house, we start it with one (mostly) clean and ready to rock.
As you may be aware from my bio and past articles, I am an Energy Healing Transformation Coach. Every day, I meet with clients on Zoom to support their evolution through and out of physical, emotional, and energetic dis-ease through energy healing and coaching. During the first week after the shutdown, my business came to a standstill, with my group of prospective clients putting their sessions on hold. I was still also a freelance writer, creating marketing copy, and resume and LinkedIn packages. That income came to a screeching halt as the insecurity in the market paused such expenditures.
As writing work fell away, I found to my surprise that I was relieved. I realized that I no longer wanted to write for others, except on very specific projects of my choosing.
I found that it was time to write for myself. And by reading this article, that’s exactly what you are allowing me to do! I also published my first book (shameless plug), The One that Makes Me Yawn, and took it to bestseller status over the summer.
And in the second week of the shutdown, the energy work clients came flooding in. So many people woke up to the opportunity before them – they could no longer go out, so they were going in. My calendar began filling up with the work that brings me deep joy and satisfaction. I moved into the new flow of better work/recreation/life balance with deep gratitude and awareness of the gift I was being given.
Comment below and tell me – what are you sweeping away, and what are you putting back on your clean table?