Before Macron announced that France was going to be on lockdown for at least 15 days, I was secretly hoping it wasn’t going to happen. I don’t recall myself thinking that but this is what I wrote back then in my journal. It feels so far out when in fact, it’s only been a little over two months. In these 2 months, I learned so much about myself, the people around me, my clients and students.
Being home with my husband and two children required me to call on a new set of skills. How is it possible to work remotely while homeschooling 2 kids and cooking/cleaning all day? Well, somehow, it was crazy but possible. Early on, I decided that as a family we needed to have a routine. After all, we were not on vacation. Things I never thought possible before were now my reality. This suggests how our mind tricks us into limiting us when in fact, our capabilities and potential are enormous.
This high adaptability was also shown amongst most of my students. They quickly got the hang of our online classes and to my surprise, they were even more engaged than ever before. For me, that was a blessing as they actively participated in our online sessions minus all the chit-chatting that usually happens in class.
During the lockdown, I also surprised myself by the fact that I didn’t need or felt the need to go out. I usually love going for long walks, to the park or to coffee shops. Aside from going to the supermarket or taking the kids out, I barely stepped out of the house. Somehow my mind was in peace with the situation. I didn’t try to control it. I didn’t wish for other events. I just was. I don’t take credit for this. I am pretty sure my reading of A New Earth by Eckart Tolle and The Power of Letting Go by John Purkiss helped me tremendously deal with this situation. Putting aside my ego, truly feeling that we are part of one universe and surrendering are teachings that undoubtedly helped me go through the quarantine.
While the virus was spreading around the world and taking down lives, it was tempting to watch and follow the news. Friends and family would send me statistics of the situation, testimonials of people who’ve contracted the virus, videos on its rapid spread etc. I quickly felt overwhelmed and saddened. There was no way I was going to keep up-to-date with the news on the daily. Knowing that more people are dying affected my mood and spirit. After all, all I could do was to stay home and not to help it circulate.
The lockdown was also an opportunity to witness the goodness in people and the solidarity that we all have in our hearts. Despite the high risks of contracting the virus, there was always someone ready to help. Elders were delivered groceries on their doorstep. Food was donated in supermarkets for the needy. I also appreciated the determination of people on the front line such as shop tenants, pharmacists, nurses, doctors…who were the heroes of this pandemic. At times I felt grateful that I didn’t have to go out and expose myself to the virus while these people had to leave their families with the fear of succumbing to it.
The quarantine made me connect in new ways with my neighbors. While keeping space with one another, we still met after work. It was almost our daily thing to do before dinner. It allowed us grown-ups to maintain a social life and for the kids to play and get some fresh air. Humans are social animals and we truly need one another especially in difficult times. I realized that being part of a community is actually good for health and mind.
While keeping in touch with my clients, preparing and delivering online classes, taking care of my family, I managed to create time to simply be. Sitting outside observing the birds chirping or the wind blowing the tree leaves, little insects rushing to save their lives… I realized that there is an entire universe within my world that I barely take the time to appreciate. I started noticing the sky, the new flowers emerging and the little snails outside my house. Taking the time to notice all this is a blessing. We are truly not alone. Our daily choices do impact our environment that we barely notice.
Somehow I also managed to continue my daily quick Italian lessons, read poetry, listen to books and podcasts, bake, garden and pick up my childhood passions: drawing and painting. It may be because I also decided to significantly reduce my social media consumption during this lockdown. I was still taking pictures for myself but didn’t have the urge to share my daily life on Instagram. It was mine and it felt good to be private again.
At the peak of the crisis, I paid off all my outstanding invoices and debts. A contractor of mine laughed saying people are avoiding paying now and that I am rushing onto paying his newly submitted invoice. I truly didn’t know how the situation was going to turn out. While death is something that can happen anytime and any day, I almost felt I was in a riskier situation and needed to do what needed to be done had I known that my death was near. I called my family more often and checked on old friends as well. With that said, I am still waiting for some clients to pay my invoices. I have faith they will eventually do.
The future is unsure. Everything is unclear. There are questions that I ask myself about my business and career that I do not have the answer to. I don’t know what the next months are going to look like. I attempt to make plans but they remain plans. I am living by Rainer’s famous quote:
“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves like locked rooms and like books that are written in a very foreign tongue.”
The Corona Crisis is an opportunity for us all to test our limits. See how much we can take and how far we can go. It’s a personal development challenge. We always complained of lack of time. Now we have time to focus on the essential. The essential is right here and right now. Getting in touch with oneself and learning to just be.