As Mother Earth is re-emerging from her cold winter slumber, I too am beginning to explore how to reenter the world during this season. I have found this process more challenging this year, due to so many unknowns. Yes, we have learned a lot about Covid-19 over the past year, and yet there is still so much to learn. And, although vaccinations are rolling out, we are learning that a booster shot will be needed before the end of the year and yearly vaccinations might be in our futures, like the annual flu shot. The safety guidelines continue to evolve as do the variants of this virus! So it is no wonder that many of us may be feeling some relief while also continuing to feel confused and anxious.
There is no ‘right’ way to navigate these unchartered waters as the storm is still brewing all around us. Each of us must discern for ourselves and our families what is the best course to take based upon your tolerance for risk. I sometimes think it might be compared with how you use money to build wealth. Some of us with a low tolerance for risk (Me!), consider options such as stuffing our savings under our mattress, putting it into a savings account or perhaps investing it into low-risk bonds through a investment firm. Others with a high tolerance for risk might consider investing in high-return stocks or even trying their luck at the casino! There is certainly no one-size fits all when it comes to mapping out a course forward.
Therefore, below are intention-setting ideas for you to consider as you begin to explore the next part of your journey that might have you venturing out a bit further from your home this season:
- You’re not alone. Sometimes we feel – or even believe – we are the only ones thinking and/or feeling this way. Know that it is normal and natural to experience some level of fear when facing the unknown, as fear is protective. What we don’t want is for fear to immobilize us, disconnecting us from our authentic self and the ones we love. So, perhaps the first step on this journey of re-emerging is to simply remind ourselves that we are not alone in our hesitancy to take steps when it is uncertain where those steps might take us.
- Be gentle with yourself. There is no need to force yourself into spaces that feel uncomfortable or beat yourself up if others appear to be moving forward with ease, yet you are finding yourself still holding back. For those who know me, you have heard me say often, all in divine time. Perhaps set an intention around an activity that you would like to participate in, yet are not sure if you are quite ready to venture into that place. Spend some time visualizing yourself being engaged in the activity, seeing who will be there, and where it will occur. Also consider exit strategies, ensuring you have options for extracting yourself should you decide to leave early if it does not unfold as anticipated. Then, if you still decide to not join this time, remind yourself that if it is important to you, there will be a next time.
- Wade into the shallow end. There is no requirement to jump into the deep end of the pool, returning to life as you knew it before the pandemic. Start small and then check in with yourself. Perhaps you haven’t eaten out at a restaurant since last March. Instead of being seated inside, insist on a table outside and in the sunshine. Instead of planning to meet several friends, invite one friend that may also be willing to explore the shallow end of the pool with you. Discuss ways that you will behave to ensure your safety, such as how you will greet each other, bringing alcohol wipes to clean the silverware, glassware and your hands, and mask wearing. Be sure to check in with yourself – mind and body – afterwards, to sense into what it was like for you to take this step.
- Identify new ways of being. I know there are some ways of being that I am grateful will not be returning (at least for me), such as the handshake. I also know there are some ways of being that I am grateful the pandemic has reinforced, such as hand washing and 6-foot personal space. Now is the time to discern new ways of being that feel integrated and supportive as we take those steps forward in our return to greater social connection with others. So consider which behavioral changes might have been forced upon you in the past year, like wearing face masks, and decide which ones you might want to continue into the future, perhaps forever. My plan is to wear face masks whenever I travel again, as it reduces the likelihood of me getting sick (no matter if it is from a head cold, flu or worse) period.
- Seek greater meaning. Perhaps spends some time before venturing out to consider what you may have learned about yourself during this past year, “due to the pandemic”. These four words have become the (perhaps dreaded) go-to excuse for why things have changed, so why not consider how this past year created change within you. Perhaps it allowed you to accept your introverted part more or your ability to tolerate uncertainty grew stronger. All of us have been changed in some way, now is the time to honor those changes. As many of us lost loved ones, perhaps you embraced your resilient part that tapped into the collective belief that all is as it should be, it is not all bad or all good, that good things do come out of tragedy. Perhaps spend some time out in Mother nature, being inspired by all of the changes around you this spring season, and write down at least one (but if more arise, don’t stop) area of your life where you experienced personal growth “due to the pandemic” that fills your heart with gratitude!
As always, if you try any of these intention-setting ideas for holistic health, I would love to hear about the impact they might have had for you. Please send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to share!