A Brave New World
2020 is BIG.
We are experiencing one of the biggest historical moments of our lifetimes. A global pandemic killing hundreds of thousands, political upheaval, social and racial unrest, environmental change, economic uncertainty, and … so much more that this list could go on and on.
It feels like we are in a tsunami that is never ending - one wave crashing over us after the next with no calmness in sight.
To compound all of this, we are also in a moment of tremendous social contraction and we can’t even connect with our familiars to unwind and de-stress. We can’t see our loved ones and friends. Our normal coping skills are being taxed as we can’t attend a community yoga class, or retreat to the movies or collectively even meet for coffee at our favorite local spot.
It is heavy and quit frankly, hard.
With all this said, life must go on. School must start and fall must unfold.
Many of you know that I come from a family of teachers. My sister is an elementary school teacher and my husband is a high school teacher. When cases of COVID rose high this summer I was so fearful for my family returning back to the classroom.
My husband alone averages 130-150 teenage students. My heart would sink when I thought about him possibly returning to school in his cramped basement classroom with a low ceilings, no windows and outdated ventilation. Not to mention my own children entering third and fifth grade with 30+ children per classroom.
Needless to say, distance learning felt the safest for all of us.
Once the decision for distance learning was mandated there was much relief. My whole family was grateful for the call. We shifted gears and focused on the task at hand. My husband was diligently e-learning the new ropes and attending numerous trainings to prepare. My children’s school went into action and gave us a plan. We attended the Zoom calls, got our supplies and rearranged our entire house so that we all have private work spaces. It felt good. It felt safe. It felt like the right call.
Monday morning we were all set for school. The children had their Chrome books, tabs for e-learning synced, passwords set, Zoom loaded, school supplies near, snacks and water on the their desks. We talked about being nervous and excited, and about seeing our friends again and connecting with a new teacher.
We took our “First day of school photos” and my children sat down in their bedrooms, alone and clicked away …
As I turned and walked out of their rooms reality kicked in …
And the tears started to flow.
Those unexpected, overwhelming sneaky tears just flowed.
They spilled out from my body, rolled down my cheeks and down my mouth.
They left me breathless and exhausted.
They felt right and good and warm and familiar.
They are still here as I write these words a day later.
The tears came with great intensity as the reality and understanding of what my children, your children, our children are missing out on.
They come with the weight of this moment and the realization that we are not returning back to normal anytime soon.
They come with the deep desire to make this moment count and to embrace this sadness as there is beauty in the breakdown.
Returning to school is just one milestone we are missing out on; summer vacations, pool parties, birthdays, births, weddings, graduations, anniversaries, holidays, and deaths as we can’t even gather to commemorate those that have past …
As I feel this week deep in my body, I also know that this moment will pass and that there is only one way through and no way around the mess.
We are in the arena and I am here to play. I am here to feel. I am here to grow and expand.
I must let the tears come.
I must feel them and share them and allow my children to see them.
I must take this time, the time that my body needs to reflect, recognize and acknowledge this great loss, our abundant collective pause.
For our collective celebrations are only on hold. This is all temporary and I am working towards creating safety in this moment for myself and my family. I am grateful for the opportunity to distance learn because I know what an amazing teacher my sister, my husband and I am (as I also teach online now). Our passion, drive and connection WILL come through and be felt, even if the format is different. I know this to be true.
I am grateful for my tears because they keep me connected. My body needs me to express what is inside. The tears help me gravitate towards my deeper connection to this earth, my body and my beautiful family. I am more grateful than fearful and I understand that the tears must come and I welcome them. They help me process, clear and release. I refuse to allow 2020 to live in my body as we are meant to cast off emotions and not hold onto them. Emote is an action. I am not willing to allow trauma to collect and so we must acknowledge and process our pain.
I focus on the Language of Sensation, a tool I learned from Dr. Valerie who wrote Patriarchy Stress Distorter, to help uncover the true emotions underneath the melt down. This tool ultimately helps me process and move through such large emotions. As I cried sitting on my sofa yesterday listening to my children attend school in their bedrooms, I breathed in the heaviness. It felt like a water fall pouring over me, it felt crushing, thick, powerful, and endless in my body.
Too often when we are confronted with our deep emotions we get scared that if we allow it space they will over take us and we will never return to the surface. Why are we so afraid of ourselves when the exact opposite is what truly happens? We can be free of these emotions.
I sat there and let it all wash over me. I felt every inch of it. It was expansive, it encompassed more than my myself, it filled the house and spilled out onto the street.
Using the Language of Sensation helps me recognize and identify what I am feeling. Eventually I realized that I was simply feeling grief. Much grief. I wasn’t mad, I wasn’t angry, I wasn’t frustrated, I wasn’t overwhelmed, I am simply grieving. We are all grieving. Grief encompasses so much; loss, sadness, gratitude, love, patience.
My grief, this collective grief, must be felt, it must be leaned into, absorbed and expressed.
Such an intense, beautiful and powerful moment.
As a healer and secular Buddhist I gravitate towards solitude. I retract and meditate, use my EFT tapping skills, move my body, become present, talk with my partner, husband and best friend, linger in my children’s snuggles and walk my dog A LOT everyday to stay grounded, connected and safe in my body. I have spent a lifetime investing in my physical, emotional and mental health and wellness. It is a practice I am conscious of everyday of my life and all this is a basis for the work I do and the classes I teach on childbirth and resilience.
Life is challenging and in the challenge there is much change. We must let the change come and embrace the new.
For we are entering a brave new world my friends.
I am sending this out into the world to allow those that need to hear it. To offer support in embracing our collective grief. To stand by your side as I see you. We are not alone even in our solitude. There is much happening in this moment and I know that the BEST is yet to come. Sending resilience, agency and love your way.