Time feels sluggish, the sun caressing the contours of my face in its warm familiar embrace. I glance down at my phone for the time, it reflects back to me, 4:35 pm. It’s my favorite time of day as of late, sipping in the last golden rays of the day before dusk settles in. I sit in my backyard and watch the trees dance in the breeze, the sun kissing the tops of their branches with a warm golden glow illuminating the gifts that Mother Nature allows us to enjoy. The birds softly singing, I take in a breath of air, my lungs expanding like balloons. After years of swimming, singing lessons and yoga, I find that the ability to control my breath and use it as a tool comes naturally to me now. I hold the air in for a moment and slowly release it out, the anxiety and tension slightly dissipating and loosening its tight grasp on my chest.
We’ve been in quarantine for 2.5 months and I’ve had a lot of time to dive deeper into my own healing journey although I find that my energy is often lacking. This entire long weekend I’ve felt extremely tired and lethargic, stuck in a hazy dreamlike fog.
I know I speak for a lot of us when I say that this pandemic has unearthed many of our unhealed past traumas or things that we didn’t even know we were afraid of. Spending time alone forces us to see ourselves more clearly than we usually would care to. Familiarizing our minds with old truths stored in our bodies that we maybe don’t like or want to remember.
I’ve been developing a new relationship with my body in how I nourish it, listen to it, move in it and worship it. I’m forgiving myself for the years I was so fundamentally cruel to her and making that time up by celebrating myself as my own muse. Finding inspiration deep in my thoughts and the way my hips curve and my broad shoulders frame my soft middle. I’m grateful to find value in these minor details that I’ve missed before.
I feel liberated and lighter than I once did. Not letting the weight of my past define me. Wearing the old parts of me like jewelry. I adorn my soul with memories – both positive and negative. I get to decide which pieces to display and which I desire to keep personal, hidden away from the prying eyes of the outside world. I wonder how many lives I’ve lived and how many have stayed with me in this current body.
We store trauma in parts of our bodies like our muscles and tissues. For me, it seems to settle deep into my hips. I’ve always had issues with my hips from my swimming days as a teen to more recently experiencing intense aching while moving through stuck fascia in yoga poses. I believe that my hips hold onto the things that I’m not ready to let go of or work through yet. Which often frustrates me because I have done SO much inner work in recent years. I find myself often spiraling down the comparison trap with seemingly enlightened gurus on Instagram. I have to stop myself and remember that you don’t just get to a moment during your self healing journey where you’re like, “okay great! I’m done!” Instead, you feel gratitude for being able to understand and accept that part of yourself or incident that happened to you and then you move on to whatever else may arise, because there’s always going to be something else to work through.
Right now we are living in a time of collective trauma. It’s so weird and comforting all at once that I can chat with friends all over the world and discover that we all feel the same to a different degree. It’s remarkably humbling if you think about it, being reminded of our mortality as humans regardless of our race, class, location, etc. I understand how incredibly fortunate I am in this situation, even after being laid off I have been able to find work, have a roof over my head, am surrounded by people who love me and have access to basic necessities like food and water. However, just because we are fortunate during a global pandemic doesn’t mean that our feelings aren’t valid.
I’m finding that some of my relationships are strained with the people I love. Unable to spend time together with most and in contrast, spending too much time together with others. Even through I have time to reach out doesn’t always mean I have the mental capacity to support others and I know that the same goes for them. If you’ve been here with me for a while you know that my family and I have really gone through it. Our worst year was 2017, where every day was like facing an immovable mountain of obstacles. Living through my mom’s illness and the uncertainty almost broke us- but it didn’t. There are still days I find myself wondering why we went through what we did with simultaneous wonder and awe. In a way, I kind of feel like it prepared us for the trauma the world is currently facing. Personal trauma in preparation for global trauma.
If I hadn’t been in such a low dark place and had to fight tooth and nail to climb out of that hole, I wouldn’t have had the drive to incorporate so many daily healing practices into my current life. And I’m not saying that I’m healed, there are still some very real and raw wounds that resurface from time to time and they cause painful arguments and feelings and words said in anger reminding us of what’s left to heal. But most of the time, we are living in gratitude knowing that just waking up and getting through the day is sometimes the biggest gift in itself whether we can see it or not.
What I’ve learned is that when things feel out of our control as they do now, we still have the power over our choices and we can always choose the way we react. Sometimes we react in a way we are proud of and sometimes we don’t and that’s okay. To err is human. However, if we work to expand our own self awareness, we can be more conscious of others and in turn that helps aid in the healing of the world as a whole. No, I don’t think that self awareness will make a deadly virus magically disappear, but by thinking about how our actions will affect others we can get ahead of something like this being spread so easily from person to person.
Be kind, gentle and offer forgiveness where needed. We’re all doing the best that we can.