In the first winter months of 2020 I came down with an illness that one of my mates had. I had never heard of COVID so had no references for it’s symptoms. I did know that my immunity was strong and it easily passed. So I thought. Some time later a student who traveled outside the country booked a coaching session and came even though they were ill. Within two days it was back! This time it hit harder and I believe it was due to a lower immunity from the first go around.
Luckily for me the years practicing and mentoring Feldenkrais® made my journey through this somewhat smoother. Whatever I had was affecting my ability to take a breathe. One evening standing and leaning against the counter while focusing on my breathing patterns I realized I may never see my kids again. This was before COVID and restrictions. It was in my chest and interfering with the compulsion to organize and stimulate breathing contractions. This function seemed to have a gap and my brain wasn’t connecting to it somehow. In that instant I felt the presence of two reactions hovering. Panic and calm and steady. I choose calm and steady as I mentally reassured myself I had been training to breathe since 2004. I began to do Feldenkrais Awareness through Movement® standing there. Small supported micro-movements to stimulate my chest cavity bones. I knew I had to get my ribs, spine, shoulders, head and pelvis moving in order to get a natural pumping action to reverse the typical muscular locking that happens when one panics. Luckily for me the movement pattern was familiar and soon it calmed the survival instinct that usually takes over and becomes rigid when it kicks in. It only took a few movements before the gap I was experiencing passed and the breathing muscles fired back up. This happened a few more times after heavy bouts of coughing, yet after that first experience of directing focus on micro-movements they easily passed.
Having this ability to choose in that moment when there was a gap in the inclination to take a breathe was profound for me. It was my living example of changes I had seen in my students over the years when their breathing became fuller through increased use of their moving parts. Rigidity or holding becomes a habit that one isn’t aware of over time.
This experience brought up celebration and regret. The celebration was the living experience itself that demonstrated to me the benefits of learning methods I had been devoted to for years. The regret was the realization that at any moment something could happen quickly without being able to connect with my children. Just after these recognitions more news came out about COVID. This news added to stimulating that grief button over and over as winter turned into spring and spring into summer. I have one child living out of province which increased the grief.
By fall of 2020 I started to come out of the hangover of unresolved parenting issues that engulfed me after my own morality slapped me across the face earlier in the year. Two streams of experience co-existed for me in 2020. Unlike most references to 2020 I hear, I can share that I found a deeper joy, playfulness and beauty in 2020. I fell passionately in love with life and desire for it in its simplest experience. This was 2019’s dream, however I could never imagined it would come into being in the way that it did.
The grief process healed my parental guilt and transitioned personal reactions to a softer experience. Now there is space to have a choice to not attach to actions creating conflicted states. The grief process has always had an outcome similar to a mindfulness meditation experience for me. This means I have come away from 2020 with more autonomy increasing interdependent relationships with my young adult children. I hoped to be modeling interdependent relationships for my kids, however I hadn’t anticipated it would be realized through broken heartedness over some circumstance outside of my control!
Back in the emerging spring of 2020 I made a commitment to myself after the second bout of whatever it was I was experiencing. I made a strong commitment to increase my immunity. I unpacked some old strategies I had taken in the early 2000’s when I was experiencing symptoms of cancer. I reintroduced some of these valuable actions and introduced more. The outcome has been more than I could hope for.
There have been so many valuable lessons in 2020 that have the potential to increase the quality of living life now in 2021.
Have you explored your positive takeaways of 2020? What are you grateful for from 2020 that contributes now to your 2021 experience?
A few of mine are:
- increased self-care
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- increased connection to self and life
- increased growing of sprouts, mushrooms and ferments
- increased preparing foods from home
- introduced chicks in early fall to explore home-grown eggs
- increase in awareness of personal value needs & less tolerance of grey areas
- seeing students and having roommates during COVID times has increased awareness of how meeting each others needs is not a primary focus in co-existing
- 2020 has ended in a new habit of being committed to honestly expressing all needs on issues, no matter how small, to get equal and fair contribution to the wellness for all
2020 has ended with times of running, jumping and laughing with the chickens and of losing sleep over students or roommates introducing the COVID experience. It definitely has refocused attention on what is important to life.