What do you do when the world that you know is suddenly taken away? Your job? Your routine? Your activities? How would you spend your days?
My world, like that of many others, changed on March 16, 2020- the day when New York declared all of its Non-Essential employees to stay at home in order to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus. In that instant, everything changed and the life that I knew was suddenly gone and I had no choice but to adapt.
The first month of quarantine was the most difficult because there were still a lot of uncertainties. I felt lost. I didn't know how long the quarantine would last. I didn't know I would receive extra financial support from unemployment. I didn't know how I would spend my time. For years, I had followed the same routine. I had a set schedule at work, a set day for errands, a set day for appointments and lessons, set days for classes. I knew what my week was going to look like before it even began. And though there was something comforting in having that stability, it also started to become mundane. And a few months before the pandemic even began, I started to feel agitation and resistance toward every week being the same. I was ready for a change in my heart, not realizing the one I would get would come at such a high cost to the rest of the world.
The first few weeks were stressful. Between filing for unemployment, traveling to Delaware to spend time with my parents, overcoming being sick (not with Covid), I felt like I was still "running" but with nowhere to go. My body was tired. My mind was tired. So much was happening and I felt powerless to do anything. It was so overwhelming. I didn't know what to do so I let go and began taking one day at a time.
I admit . . . it was nice being able to get up and go to bed when I wanted. There was no time table. That amount of freedom, though limited in terms of where I could go, was liberating. Each day belonged to me and I decided how I would spend it. I thought about all the things I had wanted to do but didn't have time for with work and scheduled activities and I decided to use this time for them. I started with writing and drawing and engaging with the nature around where I resided. I helped my parents get settled in their new place. I began taking notice of the little moments I know I missed while moving so fast. I wasn't oblivious to the chaos the world was enduring while I was safe, but it somehow felt far away. I was separated from the world I knew and the farther away I got from it, the closer I got to myself.
Demons from my past began to surface and I couldn't escape them while they stared me in the face. I knew it wouldn't be easy but this was my chance to tackle them. This was my chance to let go of the things standing in my way and help me to move forward. I had no excuse this time. While my outside world was shut down, my internal world came alive. I was being given the time to heal and I didn't want to waste it.
I have been very fortunate in my life. All of my struggles have been internal rather than external ones. But in a way, that has been worse because I've known I'm the cause of my own suffering. My life has been filled with fear, insecurity and self-doubt and for the majority of my life, I had felt powerless to overcome it. Yoga, Spiritual Readings, Reiki, Meditation, Therapy, Kung Fu all helped in their own way, but I still had work to do. I still had unanswered questions, unresolved triggers, paralyzing fear preventing me from taking the necessary steps to move my life forward. I still had open wounds from my childhood, lots of anger and resentment from both my present and my past, childhood demons, self-sabotaging behavior. This was my chance to delve deep without interruption. I knew that it wouldn't happen overnight; no healing does; that it would take time to explore, surrender, forgive, release and accept.
And I did. And I unpeeled more layers. And it was hard, but I knew it was necessary so I kept uncovering. I confronted my shadow. I confronted my past. I worked through my triggers. I engaged with my inner child. I forgave those who had hurt me and it was exhausting.
But then I started to move forward. I began working on projects that I had put off; projects I was afraid would fail. I began thinking about my future and how I could change my present. I began to take risks. I began finding my voice. I took back my power . . . and it felt amazing! It brought me hope that I can live the life I want and make my dreams come true; that I can break free from the mundane routine and live a life of spontaneity; that I can take risks with big rewards and that I can find happiness by listening to my own heart and trusting my gut. We don't have to surrender to the life we are living just because it's what we know. We can create the life we deserve. The possibilities are endless. We just have to tackle the demons within us that keep us afraid and tell us we can't! I'm grateful that the state of New York deemed me a "non-essential" employee because it gave me the opportunity to do "essential" work for myself.