Updated: Mar 16, 2021
There is no denying that Covid-19 has had a huge impact on the entire world. Many people have gotten sick, died, or lost somebody to the virus. Many of us do not know one single person who has gotten the virus and resent the rest of the world for overreacting. Many of us work in healthcare and are exhausted from being on the front lines and witnessing so much sadness daily. Many of us are challenged with way too much family time in our homes. Many of us are lonely because we are stuck at home alone and feeling disconnected from others. Many of us have lost our jobs and are having trouble putting food on the table. Many of us have lost our homes and have nowhere to go. The only thing we all have in common is that we have a brain and our own perceptions related to the virus. Therefore, when I sat down to write a 4-minute blog in preparation of a 20-minute podcast episode on how to cure the Covid blues, I became overwhelmed because it is not possible to do that! So instead, I decided to share my own personal story of how I changed the way I was thinking so I could receive the gifts of Covid. I am hoping that I can be an example for those of you who are wanting to feel better but just do not know how to do that.
I knew we were in trouble when the NBA cancelled their season! I thought holy crap, this is real if the sports world is shutting down. After that, everything started closing down and I (along with everybody) was grieving for all the things I was not getting to do that I was "supposed to" do. I had recently booked a trip to Boston for the first time and had plans to go to Aspen. I was full of angst, disappointment, and disbelief that life had taken this turn. How could that be? I had it all planned and it was on my calendar! This was the beginning of realizing my first gift of Covid and that is, we are not in control of anything that happens around us. I realize that might not sound like a gift to many of you, but we spend so much energy trying to manipulate our environment and the people around us to achieve specific outcomes that it can become exhausting. I welcomed the fact that I could actually step back and this was not something I had to or could possibly fix. It was a sort of relief.
Once I relinquished control, the next step for me was to accept reality. Covid was here and it was the only thing that was really supposed to happen in 2020. I was never going on those trips I planned and for me to think otherwise was a waste of energy. This is the first time I really recognized the futility and time wasted when we entertain the mental constructs of "should have, would have, and supposed to". There is not an alternative universe where Covid did not take place in 2020. Nothing went wrong, it all happened exactly as planned, and we know that because that is the only reality we actually experienced. Eckhart Tolle says when we resist reality it only causes us suffering and I am 100% in agreement with him.
Along the same lines of accepting Covid, we also have to accept the reality that people get to choose the way they want to respond to the virus even if we are in disagreement with them. Even if we are 100% sure we are doing the right thing and that it is the absolute truth, we still have no say in how another human being with a brain decides to think. It sure would have been nice, but we were never all supposed to be on the same page and in total agreement with how to act during Covid. We were never all supposed to choose to mask up, wear gloves, and socially distance. We know this because that is not what is happening. Nevertheless, many of us continue to cause our own suffering by believing it should not be happening the way it is and other people are getting it wrong. We became consumed with fear, anger and judgment. When I realized that it was not "supposed to" be different than the reality of what it was (because it was not) , it actually made me feel better because I realized that it was all designed the way it is for us to learn valuable lessons.
This gift of a mindset shift that nothing has gone terribly wrong here and it is all happening exactly as planned changed my life in pretty significant ways. From a business standpoint, I had recently obtained a doctorate in OT and was trying to start up an eldercare consulting business for 6 months prior to the arrival of Covid. I was getting pretty discouraged and beating myself up on a regular basis because I just could not get clients. I somehow conjured up a second wind and joined three local Chambers in January of 2020 in an attempt to network and market for my business. I was actually feeling pretty energized and gaining confidence but after a few meetings, everything shut down. Instead of wallowing in despair, I decided to use Covid as an opportunity for personal growth. I started listening to podcasts, reading self care books, and working on how how I wanted to approach life with Covid instead of worrying about my business. One day, I was talking to a friend about Eckhart Tolle's book A New Earth (I was obsessed with it!) and he asked me if I ever listened to a podcast by Brooke Castillo because she likes Eckhart too. That conversation changed my life because I have always been a "sign" person and my intuition was screaming that this is a sign.
So, I went home and checked out the podcast and within three days I was signed up to get certified as a life coach at The Life Coach School! I ended up changing my business from helping older adults and their families through the aging process to becoming an online coach. Prior to that I had never even entertained the idea of looking into a career as a life coach, let alone seeking certification. To say this was a leap is a gross understatement! However, because I had the mindset that everything was happening as designed, I was open to all of the possibilities, rather than focused on what had gone wrong.
I spent the first six months of Covid getting certified, and the last six months on the entrepreneur track and getting my business established. I literally spent the last year working on myself. I can honestly say it has been the best year of my life to date. The reason for that is the internal transformation that has taken place inside me as a result of signing up with The Life Coach School and starting my own business. I have learned more about myself this past year than all the other years combined. I now have peace of mind and care more about what I think of myself than what anybody else may think of me. I now understand that the relationship with myself is the one that has to be nurtured the most. I now speak up and ensure my needs are met, and I no longer am afraid of rocking the boat. I now can process uncomfortable feelings and no longer attempt to avoid them. I now show up in a kind and loving way to my family, which also means I am honest and authentic. I now weigh 15 pounds less, have a different relationship with food and alcohol, and feel 10 years younger! I now have a website and I am learning how to market on social media. I now have a podcast for crying out loud! This is a women who was terrified of computers up until a few years ago. I honestly feel like a different person than I was at the beginning of 2020. I say all of this not to brag but to demonstrate what is possible if we create the right mindset. I was able to turn around what could have been the worst year of my life and made it the best.
Now I am fully aware that many people had far greater challenges than me in 2020 but I only have control of myself. I have love and compassion for all of those people and do my best to help whoever I can. I offered free coaching to many people this past year and actively coached in my Facebook groups on a daily basis. I have great empathy for those who have been less fortunate than me, but I also have great love for myself. That love I have for myself is going to help me evolve into the best version of myself so I can help others to do the same. The energy produced will have a ripple effect that we cannot even begin to predict. Accepting that the only thing we can control is our minds, is a great way to approach 2021 and life moving forward. How can this mindset help you to uncover the gifts that are often hidden in difficult challenges?
In summary, I will always reflect back on 2020 with complex feelings. I will remember the challenges we faced with a completely new way of life and all of the suffering people had to endure. On the other hand, I will always be grateful that Covid triggered the switch from an eldercare consulting business to one where I help women my age develop a relationship with themselves that is life changing. I will always honor the gift that caused the shift that took place within me that led to learning how to manage my mind and experience profound personal growth. Join me in the weekly podcast to discuss this further.