At the start of the pandemic I, like most people was consumed with fear, doubt, worry about the future, and even anger at times. I am human after all. Even in the presence of those very real emotions, as a leader in my community, I knew I had to do better. How could I apply to tools that I use every day in a way that would really make an impact in my life and the lives of those around me? I allowed myself to wallow and to worry for what I deemed an appropriate amount of time and then I made a choice. I chose to set an intention, one that would change my experience of the pandemic and ultimately my life.
I decided that I had two options, I could hunker down and ride it out, which definitely seemed appealing many times throughout this past year, OR I could choose to emerge from the pandemic altered. Altered how? That was up to me. It is undeniable that the events of the past year have altered each one of us, I wanted to be in charge of how I was altered. None of us has had control over world events, lockdowns, businesses closing, schools closing, illness, separation, etc. this past year, and many have inadvertently put their attention on feeling powerless. It’s only natural to do so when we feel we don’t have a choice. The problem that arises is that when we focus on what we CAN’T do, we experience feelings of frustration, anger, and resentment, all of which are toxic to us in large or sustained doses. The thing is, we are never powerless. We all have the ability to decide what we give our attention to.
I made a declaration that I would emerge from the pandemic expanded. Once the decision was made and I declared my intention, my mind automatically searched for “How?” This is the magic question. When we are in blame or resistance the question is always “Why? Why is this happening? Why me?”. Essentially why is a fairly useless question. The more powerful question to ask is HOW do I want to feel? HOW will I choose to move towards that? HOW can I grow? HOW can I expand? If you are currently formulating 87 arguments as to why those things aren’t possible during this time or why you are exempt, you may appreciate the secret I am about to share with you. The answer to HOW? is YES.
Once I knew what I was committed to I sought ways to expand, even when I didn’t feel like it. I took a six-month intensive course that required daily reading, study, meditation, and accountability, seven days a week for the entire six months. I asked how I could grow in my ability to serve and Shift at Home, our online yoga platform, was born. I asked how I could grow in compassion, love, generosity and the world challenged me with ways to practice those qualities on purpose. I committed to sharing myself more generously with the intention of helping as many people as possible so I wrote a book. I started a weekly free online Gratitude Circle. I kept a community together through Shift Power Yoga’s brick-and-mortar studio. I rebuilt my marriage. I connected more deeply with my children. I decided to do more of what I love and to say no to what doesn’t matter to me.
I am not extraordinary. I am not even special. What I am is a good follower. In order to lead powerfully, I must be willing to follow the teachings that I share, to follow the leaders who are making a difference. When in doubt I look to my teachers and leaders I admire and I follow their lead. All of this with the intention of emerging from this time in history as a better version of myself.
As we approach what I hope is the end of the pandemic and a re-integration into a “normal” life, I encourage you to ask yourself how you want to emerge. How have you been altered? What matters most to you? What will you bring forth in the new world that you wouldn’t have otherwise brought forth? It’s never too late to set an intention. What’s yours? I would love to cheer you on!