Here I am, sitting on my back porch, in July of 2021. I’m living in the pool of people who have been vaccinated, where life is heavily in the transition back to normal. We’re back in the office two days a week, with plans to return to four after Labor Day. Grocery stores, restaurants and other retail locations are now mask free. The news speaks of a delta variant, but it seems distant, and no longer relevant, until the day when it morphs into something that the vaccine doesn’t protect you from.
Collectively we’ve been returning to work, and we’ve gone through that pain point of “what, I have to leave this work-from-home lifestyle that I’ve grown accustomed to?” Maybe that’s still an adjustment. (Change is challenging, I get it.)
Recently, the conversations seem to be centered around “what did I learn from the year in the pandemic?” As if we know we collectively experienced something significant, a global pause, a massive shared experience throughout the planet… and we’re trying to understand it. And it did change us, and there is a felt sense that there is a fear that we’ll lose what we learned; even though it’s challenging to articulate what it is that we learned.
I hurt my shoulder muscle at the beginning of June, so I spent much of last month in pain, having trouble sleeping, and a distracting pain during the day. So, I have the added relief of sleeping well for the last week and feeling “normal” in my body. I have much gratitude for my health — but even more so, I feel like a fog has lifted. In a sense, this is how I feel about the pandemic. As if the fog of the pandemic is lifting.
What have I learned? It’s more than “I enjoy working from home, and having more flexibility around how my day unfolds”. Disconnecting from the rush, it’s been a glimpse of how much of my life activities were unnecessary, and distracting me from more nurturing activities such as regular sleep, exercise, and spending time with my family. I also had more time to create in the last year, not out of necessity for some purpose, but just as an expression at the moment that didn’t need to be “for” something. I started sketching every day on my iPad, and it’s become an activity that serves its purpose in the creating, not in the outcome.
Around me, I’ve seen friends change their jobs, move to new cities, change relationships. Part of that is almost a vigor to be more in alignment with core values. Something about the space of the pandemic made it individually more clear what our core values are. “A shift in consciousness” is a term that feels overused a bit, but that’s really what it feels like.
Personally, I have more clarity around my own efforts in creating a social impact through my work; and I’ve seen my blog and podcast grow as my own clarity grows. I recorded an episode this morning with a musician from India, Kiss Nuka, and was surprised at how relatable her journey of aligning her work with her values was to my own. It left me with a sense that, yes, I’m still figuring this out, but it’s unfolding as it needs to unfold. But as we have greater clarity, then we connect naturally with a community, and our purpose flows naturally through us.
That’s what’s I’ve learned from the pandemic. What about you? What did you learn?