TURNING 2020’S ADVERSITY INTO POSSIBILITY
A process of introspection, realization and growth can help in many situations. We can’t change what is, can we? We resist and fight. But what is the way out or rather the way into a different outcome on our end?
Resisting takes a lot of energy. Even if we don’t realize how enormous is the amount of “self-energy” we are investing or wasting by resisting. We resist with body tension and a lot of mental energy, creating thoughts that help fight what is happening to us.
Those “shoulds” and “shouldn’ts” used to be a big part of my thought process and mental garbage. I can’t tell you that they are completely gone, but I certainly became aware of the irrelevant role they have in our observation of the world and what cannot be changed. My decision has been to use them less in my life.
Looking back at 2020, it really started out with a lot to resist, and it continued with a lot to resist. It is ending with a lot to resist. The more I want to resist, the more awareness I need to bring into becoming “the magician of the present moment.”
So here I go; what did it take to turn the adversity that populated 2020 into something more living-friendly?
2020 proved to me –and to all of us, I think- that changing things was not in my hands all that much; therefore, it invited me to change myself to navigate it. In other words, how might I look at 2020 in a different way where instead of expecting things to go away, I could make a conscious decision to take advantage of what looked at first sight like an adversity? Or at least to lessen the impact of what was in front of me and soften the edges of my pain?
2020 gave me space to grieve and to flourish. 2020 gave me space to become lost so I could find where I wanted to go. 2020 found me brave and vulnerable, determined and hesitant. 2020 pushed my head under water, so I could realize how much more I valued what was taken away – the oxygen of my life.
I am talking here about both some personal 2020 happenings as well as the worldwide 2020 pandemic. I started 2020 as newly divorced after a 31-year marriage, a woman of sixty-one years. On March 6th, I moved into a rented apartment where I started living alone for the first time ever. A new wave of mourning I thought was over, came like a tsunami. The process of letting go takes time. I had to look at what I was really mourning to let go more each day. I had to allow sadness and sorrow disrupt my life: it was the only way through it. I knew this would work better than choosing distraction to make me numb.
An additional strategy was to start building a new stage in my life, which had to do with staying connected with my friends, doing things what makes me feel alive, and enjoying nature and what is available in life. You know what happened next in March, so plan B had to be quickly developed.
The classes I used to teach in person were no longer an option, and they were my main income. We were not allowed to teach energy healing classes online either. There is this side of me that always tries to make sense of things-or find meaning by looking at the bigger picture. The stay at home orders kept me in my cave, where big waves of inspiration and creativity made me focus on how I wanted to live this particular life season.
The sadness I was still experiencing at times kept me vulnerable. Vulnerability has proven to be the key to unlocking my soul. Being vulnerable always allowed my raw essence to flow –without makeup. So, a dream about what to do started to take shape and became a vivid possibility. A new project was born as a way to let my voice be heard. I decided to go online with a self-created course. I felt grateful for the time, silence, and “excuse” to stay in with myself, reading, learning and writing.
The Pandemic: act II
Months went by and while my creative days kept me “happy”, the connections I had been sustaining through WhatsApp and Zoom were becoming “not enough”. I was missing my children and family. I needed hugs. I realized the incredible impact that human connections have in my life. They provide oxygen.
At this point, I realized that what I needed wouldn’t be coming to me spontaneously, and I had to take action. I had to provide myself with what I needed. I became committed to daily walks in nature. They gave me the sense of being more alive, a feeling I was craving. I made more conscious connections with friends and family members, expressing where I was emotionally and mentally and how important they were to me.
Striving and self-care came together to help me thrive. The more I included both aspects, the more I became integrated, complete, and honest to myself and others. I noticed that we break things apart to analyze them, but we need to put them back together to function in a healthy way.
The word “crisis” in Chinese is made of two characters, “danger” and “opportunity”. So, in the face of crisis and adversity, how are you going to make it work? Which word are you going to choose? If we wait to live until the danger disappears, we will survive – which is not living. If we look at the opportunity, we will be making a choice that will engage the most alive fibers of our being.
An external crisis will bring out hidden weaknesses and shadows, maybe even the silent crises we had been hiding for a while….that finally surface in the daylight. Maybe it is time to deal with them? As Lady Gaga said, “if you don’t have any shadows, you are not in the light.”
Overall and in the long haul, here is what I have realized:
- In a time of crisis our strengths are meant to be dusted off and reused, especially when we haven’t been using them for a while. Dig deep; they are there.
- It is also in times of crisis when our weaknesses become highlighted. Don’t turn your head away. Learn what needs to be learned to strengthen that area. Don’t give up or give in. Give your best.
- Stay awake: the victory of today may last only so long. It is repetition, it is practice, it is sometimes three steps forward and one step back. Stopping is also accepted – at least for a little bit.
- Look at adversity as a “wise advisor” who has something worthwhile to listen to. The message might be coded, but when you crack and follow it, you may find that it was a message from the voice inside you weren’t willing to listen to.
- We may be naturally lazy. Crises awaken the dormant fire within. Embrace it.
- We are not alone: in a worldwide crisis like 2020, our common humanity is ailing. Make yourself vulnerable and reach out. We all need that connection with others to hug our pain and feel the love.
- It is more than just seeing the “silver lining” when adversity hits. It has to do with the raw truth of what life is made of. A series of trials that bring our shadows and strengths to the surface helps us see with more clarity.
In a nutshell, I have learned that in times of adversity and crisis, we make choices. The choice of not choosing is to be avoided.
Nietzsche says, “a super human is the one who makes of his/her life a journey of unending self-development.” Am I choosing to grow and develop from what is given to me through adversity? The big question to ask myself was “what in my judgment is possible? How big can I realize my dream?