I have been waiting for this week for a while now as it’s an indicator of how much has changed since last year. In the “before,” Matt and I were headed on an Amtrak train to Providence, Rhode Island where one of my besties was eloping and had called on a few special friends to celebrate in a beautifully intimate way. On the train ride up, two women sat in the row across from us Clorox wiping the handrails on their seats, the windowsill, and the tray table. I remember thinking they were being very extra. A few days later, I sat on a Brooklyn stoop in Cobble Hill with a mentor, eating black seed bagels talking about this coronavirus thing and wondering if I should be worried. More days later, it was 7:28am and still no one had arrived for my class beginning in 2 minutes. A few last-minute folk showed up, I taught that class and one more and went home, not knowing that those two classes would be the last in-person classes I’d teach for a long long time.
That was Friday March 13th, the day I now recognize as the day the world (as I knew it) forever changed. And I miss teaching in person. I want to be in a sweaty studio space laughing with you all. I want to sit shoulder to shoulder in a very small Brooklyn restaurant. I want packed subway cars, loud concerts, and art museums without masks. I want my “in the before” life back. I sat and cried, balled my fists in anger this week over all that was taken away that day of the 13th and the many months following. And then, after all my tears and anguish, I heard the words of Viktor Frankl, “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” F*ck!
That’s what we all did; we were all forced to adapt, to become more flexible and resilient. It’s come at an incredible cost for so many, too high a cost. Looking back, I can see some of the good now. Without the pandemic, I don’t know how long it would have taken me to walk away from the safety of other people’s yoga studios. I’d still be in the grid; hustling, running around, burnt-out and hiding the moments I was phoning it in as a teacher. It can take so much time to learn to believe in yourself. Sometimes just believing that you can arrive on the yoga mat and breathe is where it starts. Sometimes conquering an unfamiliar pose or an insecurity. Sometimes it’s too much to come to the mat but it’s enough to know that it is there when you’re ready to return.
This year took so much away but through tears and anger I can also see the gifts I was given. This year took Brooklyn and gave me Philly. It took Joseph and gave me my mom. It took yoga studios and gave me my own business. I guess the moral of this story for me is that I had to go back and see what was taken, I had to revisit the doors that were closed this year, knock on those doors with all my might, and what was given, answered. I just want to say that on our yoga mats and within this community, we can try to repair the hinges so that the door swings open for each of us.
(A Positive Psychology Exercise to build resilience)
“The only thing that is constant is change” is a famous quote by the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus.
Yup, Life is in constant motion and constant motion is constant change.
With change, some things stop existing like the world as we knew it – pre covid. Losing a job, moving cities, the end of a relationship are all examples of change. This feeling can be described as one door closing. However, we know that if one door closes another door opens.
Life is filled with endings and beginnings.
Think about a time in your life when you were rejected or “failed” or something didn’t go as planned. This is when a door closed.
Now think about what happened after? What doors opened? What would of never happened if the first door didn’t close?
Now, reflect upon your experiences and respond to the following questions:
What led to the door closing?
What helped you open the new door?
How long did it take you to realize that a new door was open?
Did the experience bring anything positive?
What did you learn from the door closing?