Over a month ago, my everyday life changed. I began working from home, visiting friends on Zoom, curtailing shopping, and supporting my aging parents’ isolation at home. I even cut my husband’s hair! I am grateful to be safe and well, and to live in a place where most people are supported to survive the Covid pandemic, flatten the curve, and eventually recover to a life of renewed wellness.
At the beginning of this I had no idea what it would be like. But I did form some expectations for “making the best of social isolation.” Mostly staying home, I thought I would have time to devote to a few things I have been postponing. I would clean and organize some of the cluttered corners of my home. I would play my ukulele every day, and work on developing my beginner playing skills. I would read some great books. I would connect with friends by phone and video chat and even write a few letters. I would file my income taxes.
Well, more than a month in, I have discovered that it’s different from anything I could have imagined. I am safe, and so is my family, and community, which is the main thing. But all of those things I thought I would have time to do? Not so much. My closets are still cluttered, I have yet to file my taxes. I have played my uke 2 times, and I just don’t feel like reading a book. I have been cooking a lot of good meals for my family, and taking portions to my parents. I have connected more with friends. My biggest discovery is how nice it is to sit and talk on the phone with someone. That’s something I haven’t done in a long time!
I have struggled with this reality. What’s wrong with me? Can I not hold myself accountable to my plans for making good use of my spare time at home? Am I being lazy? Why am I not jumping at this chance to do things that I want to do? This is not what I expected.
One thing I have been doing regularly is moving. I walk outdoors every day, for at least 30 minutes – more often for an hour, and longer on the weekends. I’m just walking around my neighbourhood, but I’m discovering places that I haven’t seen before, and I’m feeling calm and happy after every walk. I see neighbours passing by and we stop to chat from opposite sides of the street. I admire nature waking up in the warmth of springtime. The trees don’t know about Covid, nor do the birds. And the neighbourhood cats are in their glory!
I am also taking yoga practice a few times each week. Sometimes I have to coax myself to my mat, but I am always glad when I land there. I’m following the Instagram Live Modo classes and also enjoying Modo Online. (Click to see the classes, and use code BBY for a free month online membership.) After my yoga practice, I feel like the clouds in my mind have lifted. I feel more optimistic and resilient. The connection to the Modo Community and promise of reconnection in person lifts my heart. There are moments of serendipity, like when I looked out the window while I was doing eagle pose, and an eagle flew by. I did not expect that!
Thinking about these things that I am doing during my time of isolation, I am beginning to better understand why I am not doing everything I expected to do. I am also realising that it is OK. One of the most important things my practice has taught me is that expectation is not the same as intention.
Every time I go to the mat, and lie in savasana, preparing for breath and movement, I remind myself to let go of expectation. What will happen will happen. The self I am in this moment will be the self I am in my practice. What I can do is form an intention. My intention is an acknowledgement of just one thing that I bring with me to the mat. It’s at once more global and more specific than any expectation I might form. My intention might be to focus on breath, or notice and release any distracting thoughts during this hour. I might focus intention on one part of myself – like my shoulders, finding a balance of strength and ease there. I might focus on gratitude for what I am experiencing in each moment. What’s important to me is that the intention is a guide and a support to my practice, and not a pass/fail standard. My intention helps me to understand what I need, and what my capacity is, just during the hour of my practice. Following practice, my intention allows me to go forward better prepared to take care of myself.
So I don’t know why I am not playing my ukulele more, or when I’ll get my taxes done (before the deadline, for sure, but not yet). I do know that I am taking care of myself. This helps me to nurture the resiliency that I need to take care of others, and fulfill my responsibility to my community and the world. I can’t be calm all of the time because that would not acknowledge what is happening right now. I have to allow myself periods of fear, sadness, inertia. I am trying to set down my expectations, and live more in my intentions and my experience of each moment. Whatever I am feeling and doing is what I am feeling and doing. A lot of it is constructive. Some of it just is what it is.
I miss my Modo family. I miss hugging people I love. I miss so much! While I do what I must do, I am strengthened by my Modo practice, and by the insights that it has helped me to gain.
Be well, be safe, be whoever you are and feel whatever you feel in the moment. That’s all any of us can do.
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