Lessons After Lockdown

Written by Christy Mori, Higher Spaces Community Manager

Photo credit to Andrew Hutch

 

“Never Enough” vs. “Enough”

“Gratitude turns what we have into enough” – Aesop

The “Greatest Showman” soundtrack includes a song called “Never Enough”. Amongst the beautiful melody and the epic voice, the lyrics always make me reflect on gratitude and abundance.

If we think we never have enough, we never will have enough. During the height of the pandemic, lies spread about the scarcity of supplies, especially toilet paper. The result was panic buying and hoarding because many were afraid, and suddenly no amount of toilet paper was enough.  

To counteract this, I reminded myself to be thankful for what I did have for the day. My husband and I did our weekly grocery shop with what was needed for that week instead of stocking up excessively. We practiced our own gratitude practice everyday of being thankful. These practices helped us stay grateful rather than feeling out of control during the time of lockdown. Practicing gratitude is a powerful weapon against negativity.

Having shared this, I also want to acknowledge people who are not able to feel grateful for their circumstances as life has been extra hard for many. For those people, I encourage you to focus on what you still have. Were you able to open your eyes this morning? Was your heart beating? Were you able to get out of bed? Did you turn on hot water from the tap? It’s easier to focus on the things that we don’t have but focusing our attention to what we do have can have surprising results.

Day-By-Day

“Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6:34

Planning is good but worry is not. Once we set out a plan, we don’t need to use extra energy by worrying about it. But of course, the practice of worrying about tomorrow and generally thinking about the future is part of our human life. We want to preserve our existence somehow for not just today, but for the future.

COVID is going to be part of history. This was a unique time where the entire planet was affected by the impacts of this disease. It was like being in an involuntary war where the enemy is invisible and its attacks are long and arduous. In times of war, people lived day by day. They couldn’t plan too much as they didn’t know if they would even survive.

 I think of my 97 year old grandmother who passed away recently this year (not because of COVID but of old age). She lived through both World War I and II. My grandma lived each day as it came. She sang, wrote poetry, had an organic farm, lawn bowled every week in her eighties, and had a brilliant mind until the day she died. Her life was not easy as she married my grandfather under an arranged marriage by the time she was 18. As part of a generation where marriage was not for love but more like a business deal, my grandfather didn’t know how to treasure her properly. After a miscarriage, they went on to have three kids with my mom being the middle of the three. Despite many trying times and challenges, she lived on earth for 97 years as she woke up each day and tried.

My grandmother knew the value of living day by day and she lived as significantly as she could daily. I’m working on it still because I don’t know what it means to actually maximize the day fully like her. But I know that each day is precious, COVID or not.

Action Over Feelings

“You’re more likely to act yourself into feeling, than feeling yourself into action” – Jerome Bruner (Harvard Psychologist)

Feelings are fickle as they change all the time. For those of us that have the privilege of working from home, we might stay in bed longer because we don’t have to commute. If I hit ‘dismiss’ on my alarm and keep staying in bed, I will definitely stay in bed for longer than 5 minutes. If I get up without letting my mind make excuses and narratives, I am more likely to stay up no matter how slow I am. This is a daily practice that I am investing in. I noticed how easy it was to stay in bed once my thoughts convinced me that it’s more comfortable… But when I don’t give myself this leeway and instead, just get up, I feel more accomplished right off the start of the day.

I am also practicing to just “do” rather than overthinking. I was recently watching an interview with Terri Irwin (Australia Zoo co-founder) who was speaking of her late husband, Steve Irwin. Steve just did what needed to be done every day. She told this incredible story about how one day there was an overly long line up at the zoo so he took a chainsaw and ripped through a wall to create another entrance so people could get into the zoo faster. He saw the problem and acted. I now imagine just going forward and chainsawing my tasks every day without the overthinking. Still a work in progress.

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