As this global pandemic continues, and I realize that I may be confined to my home longer than initially anticipated, I'm beginning to see a silver lining: the gift of time. Under "normal" circumstances, I'm usually struggling to keep up with preparing yoga classes, doing my own yoga and meditation practice, continuing my studies of yoga, spending time with my partner, family and friends, domestic work, fun reading, hobbies, and chill time, and I never seem to have time to fit everything in. I always had this feeling that I was running to keep up.
Things have been a bit different lately. Today marks two weeks of social isolation and being at home with my partner and feline fur baby. I've finished a book on Yoga of the Subtle Body, and started another one on Ayurveda. I can easily fit in a daily yoga and meditation practice, my partner and I walk almost daily to get a little fresh air and get out of the house, and we spend our evenings together watching TV. It's a slower pace, with far less distractions (when I consciously stay away from watching the news). I realize that life can't always be this way. I do miss teaching my yoga classes and interacting with my students, going out for meals and being social. But these past couple weeks have reminded me, that when the pace of life picks up again, I shouldn't instantly push aside this idea of "slow".
Even the Governor of New York State, Andrew Cuomo, was stating on CNN that a silver lining to this pandemic is that he has time to have long talks with his kids and mother. Under normal circumstances, I suspect we all struggle to find time, and now we have an abundance of it. My sense is that this is a gift, and I'm choosing to use it wisely. This extra time could also be an opportunity for us to perhaps rethink or reframe how we live our lives in general. If anything, this pandemic and the ensuing social distancing, has reminded us of the importance of connection: our need for other people, and a sense of community.
I hope when this is all over we don't simply slide back into old habits, living our lives at breakneck speed, skimming over everything without really noticing anything, taking everything for granted. I hope this time gives us pause and an opportunity to reflect on what a gift it is to be alive, what a privilege it is to have community; to gather with other people and live shared experiences; to connect in person. I hope we will have a heightened sense of the fragility and sublime beauty of being alive, and that every moment should be savoured because things can change in a hurry, at any time.
The sacred lives in the ordinary. We don't need to keep searching for "extraordinary" experiences to feel alive. Watching steam rise from a fresh cup of coffee can be entrancing; listening to birds singing can remind us of our connection to the natural world; enjoying a delicious meal can keep us immersed in the present moment. Sure, travel and amazing adventures are fun and expansive, but they aren't necessary to living fully. Our ego certainly gets wrapped up in what we've done, and where we've gone and what we can brag about, but in this constant search for extraordinary, we forget that what we're truly looking for is beneath our fingertips, and all around us, if we simply took the time to notice, and maybe that time is now. Is being absorbed in the quotidian something you can tout to your friends or post on social media? Probably not. But it's a way of living that will make you feel whole and complete and loved. And isn't that really what we're all looking for?