It's week 6 of quarantine. Wow. I actually just had to go back and look that up because I cannot believe it has already been that long.
Like many of you, I have sometimes struggled to find a sense of normalcy in all of this. There are bad days and then there are great days. There is wine (lots of wine) and then there are green smoothies and tea. Like you, I am simply trying to find what my new normal is in all of this, so I wanted to check in and share some of my thoughts, reflections and emotions, that maybe will offer you some comfort or peace.
When this all started to really get crazy in the beginning of March, my initial reaction was fear. Damn old fear. It always has a way of creeping up on me, and bringing its best friend, anxiety. These are two emotions that many people often think yoga teachers do not experience, or at the very least, know how to control. In some ways, the answer is yes - I do have a much better handle on these emotions; however, the short answer - HELL NO. No, I do not have control over, nor do I expect to control these feelings. What I have been able to work on is my understanding and recognition. And I know, saying things like that can sound like a bunch of yoga BS, but it is true. I still have anxiety attacks from time to time, I still feel fear, but I have been able to recognize it so much more quickly now, that rather than let it dictate my next move and react to it, I try to sit with it. I try to let it be. And I remind myself that I do not need to make a decision out of fear. That I can breath, recognize it and continue to make choices out of happiness and love.
So what choice did I make this time around? Well, I did something that I have actually never done before. I called my mom.
Calling your mom may be a part of your daily or weekly routine, but it just never has been for me. It's not because I don't love her, we've just never had that kind of relationship. But not only did I call her, I FaceTimed her. And then I saw my younger brother and sister, my grandparents, stepfather and even the new cat they adopted. My husband and I used to live with my family (seriously, 8 of us under one roof, ouch), but now, even though we are on opposite sides of the country, I somehow feel closer to them than I ever have before. It's kind of incredible.
After the initial fear and anxiety settled, I got really comfortable. I'm talking a bottle of wine a day, not showering and forgetting to brush my teeth comfortable! As fun as it is to Netflix and chill (I'm currently re-watching all seasons of New Girl), I craved some sense of normalcy. I began filming more videos, doing live yoga classes on social media, and overall, just connecting with friends - you - more. I have honestly known this about myself for a while now, but I am pretty bad when it comes to picking up the phone and calling or texting someone just to check in. It doesn't mean that I don't love my friends and family - it's just something that I have never been great at doing. This new normal though has really brought me closer to many people. I've teared up multiple times just thinking about how fortunate I am to have this time to reconnect. I've felt closer to many of you through our live yoga classes than I ever have before.
All of this reminded me of an article I read a few years back titled "The Disease of Being Busy" (you can read it here). The article spoke to me. In fact, it speaks to me more now than it ever has. How often has someone asked you 'how are you doing' and you respond with a simple "busy." Or maybe it's "good, but busy." We are always so damn "busy." Yes, we are adults, we are human, we have work and family commitments, but why are we always running around, jumping from one thing to the next, tired and.. busy? And then why, when we have a moment to breath, are we sticking our faces in our phones? I don't know about you, but I am 100% guilty of this.
Then a funny thing happened. Just about 6 weeks ago, right after California issued stay at home orders, I had to get some groceries. The person checking me out asked how I was doing, and I answered good, but a little stressed. I asked how she was doing, not really paying attention and fully expecting a simple 'good' or 'yeah, me too.' But she smiled. She smiled so damn brightly and exclaimed, "I'm pretty great! I mean it's been non-stop here but our boss is taking care of us, I have work and I can't complain." And then she recognized my shirt from a studio where I teach, and she started asking me about yoga. She was so cheery. I was actually taken aback, but then I thought, wow - she didn't say she was busy. She actually, very truthfully and nicely, answered my question. No mundane response. So simple.
To the point, for lack of a better word, I have been keeping myself "busy" so that I do not drink my entire wine supply in one week. However, I am now in the phase where I feel so lucky to have been given this time. I know there is a lot of tragedy in this world right now - I am not turning a blind eye to that - but I am doing what I can for me and this community right now. Just like you are hopefully doing that for yourself. So if you want to know how I am doing right now.. well.. I am happy that I can have creative at home date nights with my husband, even though I sometimes want to kill him when he's hogging our one toilet. I love that I can snuggle Amber extra, even though at moments I get annoyed because my allergies act up. And even though they can "drive me crazy," I feel comforted by the fact that I can re-connect with family and old friends. In fact, I am making it a point to FaceTime with more people to really just catch up and talk. How amazing is that?
No one knows how long this quarantine will last, and everyone keeps talking about how they cannot wait to get back to "normal." But I've come to realize that I do not want to go back to normal. I hope we do not. I hope that when we get back to work and school, that people will remember this time, remember the connection they had to others, and hopefully they will keep that going. I hope more people plan at home date nights where they try a new recipe together, or play new games and puzzles with kids, or spend more time on a hobby they love. This is precious time that we will never get back. So I hope - I truly hope - that we create a new, loving, normal.
With love on this beautiful Earth Day,
P.S. - There are not enough shout outs in the world to show my appreciation - but huge shout out to my mom, her colleagues and every other health care worker out there!