Just Two More Days To Go
“Just two more days to go”
That’s what my handwritten countdown hanging proudly on my wall reminds me this morning as I open my eyes, as does the incessant voice inside my head.
It’s been a long 12 days with a range of emotions that somehow seem to vacillate between anxiety, concern, fear, frustration, loneliness, sadness, hopefulness, optimism, freedom, gratitude, peace, and even joy. It’s like an ongoing workout for my emotional agility muscle, which surprisingly is a lot stronger than I realized.
One would think that immigration, changing careers, building a business, going through a two-year traumatic complex pain condition with my child, and navigating the regular stressors of life and all while being a professional “change” expert, would adequately equip me with sufficient foresight to recruit everything I need to endure and thrive through another challenge. Today, with some of the disruptions life throws our way, we don’t get to predict or even know how to handle them because we have truly never gone through them before.
Quarantine is one of those experiences. And as with many of life’s trials, I have discovered there are plenty of magnificent gifts and opportunities disguised in pain.
When my trip to Cyprus got canceled in March, I was disappointed. I was looking forward to running overseas and having a fun-filled weekend away with some girlfriends. Knowing many other marathons and events were being canceled globally, it didn’t come as a total surprise – but what did shock me beyond belief was how the entire world literally came to a complete standstill seemingly overnight and how every plan we had was suddenly stripped from our calendars in a heartbeat. I sit here having reflected deeply on those 5 months.
At first, I grabbed the pause with both hands and held on tight. It was a sacred blessing to have this precious downtime, with no schlepping to a million activities and just being more present, truly appreciating the slower pace of life. I loved that, a lot.
The virtual world opened many professional doors for me and I used the time at home productively to enroll in amazing workshops and online learning. I am eternally grateful for the growth, development, and professional expansion this time has afforded me.
As a mother, I found the shift into online schooling a challenge. My kids were far more resilient and resourceful than me, they managed to adapt to Zoom with ease, it was more me who struggled with them “constantly” being online and on the screens – even though rationally and logically, I knew full well it was for the sake of their education.
I really made every effort possible to ensure that physical distancing did not for once mean social disconnection. I used the time to reach out to my family and friends and connect in a meaningful way with my loved ones and clients regularly. I have learned that the only thing that separates us is silence. Even distance can’t do that.
As the world gradually opened up – nothing felt that going back to normal. Everything felt strange, unfamiliar, and unnatural. And as with every change, it’s always unfamiliar at first – and then we do what we always do, we adapt and we get used to “new norms” and all these restrictions in a slow almost subconscious evolution becomes “just what we do” – completely culturally acceptable.
Recently I spent two weeks in isolation and it has helped me realize many things. I’d like to highlight just a few:
- Kindness is a superpower. The kindness I have experienced has blown my mind. Family and friends reaching out, checking in, taking care of us in the most thoughtful and loving ways are life-saving. Never underestimate what a kind act can lead to. It is a force like none other.
- Self-Care is up to us. It’s not called Other-Care. We are ultimately responsible for looking after ourselves and that includes our mental, emotional, and physical wellbeing. There are daily practices that ensure we can continue to fill and fuel ourselves with what we need, especially during dark times. I have created a 14 Day Inspirational Quarantine Calendar to help others who have to be isolated for 2 weeks to make sure that self-care remains a priority.
- Gratitude: There is always something to be grateful for. I am truly grateful for the people in my world and for all the blessings that envelop me. I have taken the time to think about what matters most to me, what I value, and what I want to do differently moving forward. I am thankful for that clarity.
- Faith is a wonderful thing. This is much bigger than us and we don’t have to be the general managers of the universe. I have learned to let go and accept the things I cannot change and that is liberating. When we learn to be in the moment with what is, without resistance, we free ourselves up to tap into the incredible awe of the here and now. This moment is all we have.
- We have a shared responsibility to look after each other. We are social beings with high social interest. Our choices and behaviors affect others in ways we can’t possibly imagine. And while this pandemic is larger than any of enough, our choices, as to how we want to conduct ourselves and live our lives through this, is entirely up to us.
Life is always going to give us challenges.
Our challenges change us.
We get to decide how.
We get to choose what we do next.
As a second lockdown looms in the upcoming days, we have the choice to convert it into something more than just another technicality, more than just a tough legal restriction and more than just a frustrating situation we can’t control or change. My hope and prayer is that these days bring us all renewed energy, a flood of kindness and strength, and a purposeful grounded optimism in what is possible for us all moving forwards as well as a gentle reminder that we are stronger than we ever imagined.
If there is something quarantine has taught me, it’s that we are able to embrace paradox.
Some of the most awesome new opportunities amidst the most frustrating, scary and difficult times we’ve ever had…
Some of the sharpest reminders that we are indeed a collective human race amidst the most lonely and isolating times of physical distancing….
Some of the most extraordinary unexpected surprises amidst the chaos of not being able to plan anything at all….
Some of the most revealing moments of the human spirit amidst a world where everyone wears a mask….
Let’s use this quieter time to really listen. To silence the noise so that we can hear our deepest desires, to connect and align fully with our core values, to remind us of what really matters most. We somehow can’t do this when the world is open.
Let’s use this solitude to remind us that we are never really alone and that Hashem is there, always. And that real, effective, lasting transformation always happens from the inside out.
May the year ahead bring us all peace, health, some kind of ‘stability’, a new and much brighter normal, and just loads of life’s most simple magical pleasures we so easily take for granted.
Enjoy this Quarantine Inspiration Calendar from Andi
B.A. Psychology, Bar Ilan University.
M.A. Studies in Organizational Communications Research & Practice, University of South Africa
Certified Professional Life Coach, The Adler Institute
NLP, Practitioner, NLP T-Vision
NLP Master, NLP T-Vision
Science of Well-Being, Yale
Science of Happiness, Adlerian Psychology
Global Lumina Practitioner
Global Team Coaching Foundation, Gateway Global Team Coaching Institute
Member ICF, International Coaching Federation
Member EMCC, European Mentoring & Coaching Council
15+ years Donor Relations & Resource Development.
Mentor, Consultant, Coach & Trainer, Turning Point International
MBSR Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction