Life has been very different over the last couple months, and that has allowed me to see things through a different lens. While people all around are talking about “going back to normal,” I am quite clear that there are many things that I will not go back to.  I like feeling the peace that is filling my body now.  I like having a blank calendar.  I am enjoying doing things that I have wanted to do for years but never found the time.  I have been weaving on a triangle loom and find that really lights my fire.  I have made incense from Patchouli and Lavender that I grew myself.  Getting caught up with things that have been hanging creates a lot of juice for me and a deep sense of satisfaction.  Why would I want to return to business as usual in the old normal?  

Right at the time the pandemic began, I was adjusting to the news that I was having Atrial Fibrillation and my right atrium was enlarged due to that.  After lots of tests, my naturopathic doctor concluded that there were no physical causes for A-Fib, so it had to be stress related.  Truthfully, I was not conscious of the level of stress I was experiencing.  I have been teaching about stress management and holistic healing for my whole career.  Outwardly I am a level-headed, peaceful person, living a healthy lifestyle yet inwardly I was carrying too much stress and worry.  I have been running a 95 acre retreat center for over 25 years now and feeling the weight of taking care of way too much, from buildings, grounds, gardens, event planning, marketing, etc.  During the last weeks, I have turned all of that over to my new co-leaders who are rapidly getting up to speed to assume these tasks, while I am as close as a cell phone for back up.  My body feels different, my sleep is better, I feel less palpitations in my heart and I am enjoying the magic of creativity.  Perhaps like me you are taking inventory of the pandemic experience and asking some important questions:

What are the positive changes that I have experienced during the Stay At Home time?

What are the positive effects I have witnessed in other people?

What are the positive effects I notice in the environment?

It can be helpful to examine the American cultural norm which is to live in a state of adrenalin addiction.  Being at home has highlighted the habitual behaviors that may have been hidden from awareness.  Has it been a huge challenge to not be able to run out to Starbucks or the gym? 

What are my biggest adrenalin addictions (stress, worry, time pressure, performance, caffeine, sugar, chocolate, drama, alcohol, drugs, exercise, shopping, etc.)?  Some of these are more damaging than others but all stress the adrenal glands and can create dis-ease in the body. 

After this enforced 30+ day Adrenalin Addiction Detox recovery program, those who are paying attention are ready for a huge leap forward. I do realize that we have not all been having the same pandemic.  Many people are experiencing tremendous personal loss and economic hardship. For those people who have lost close friends and family members to the pandemic, the road ahead is a challenging journey of healing grief.  Some people are out of work and wondering how to survive.  Others are re-examining the work they do and whether that supports their value system. I hear many people enjoying working at home and questioning whether they want to resume their job in the usual way. 

While numerous people will continue to live with illness, grief and financial devastation for a long time ahead, those of us who have not been devastated by the pandemic, now have the response-ability to lead the way ahead into a new normal. I read Shariff Abdullah’s book, Creating a World That Works For All, many years ago and find that it helps to clarify where our culture has been and where it could  go. Coming through the time of enforced isolation, provides the opportunity to re-evaluate my life and to join with others to reshape the world.  Learning from the model of the imaginal cells in a cocoon, it is necessary to clump together in pods in order to have the strength to form the new butterfly.  Perhaps the time is ripe to clarify and claim a more fulfilling new normal.   

For me, I will take the leap ahead now to a world in which these values prevail:

All lives matter equally

Love is the bottom line

Working and sharing together are essential

It is healthy to balance work and relaxation

Creativity is our fuel 

Nature will show the way to health and balance

Crises fuel new beginnings

Peace is what remains when I stop creating a disturbance.

I believe many people are waking up, clarifying what truly matters, and are committed to radical change.  Only I can set myself free from the stressors that have consumed my life.  I am ready for the leap ahead. Won’t you join me? The time is ripe.

-Robin