Recently I was asked the following question in my Wednesday night Yoga Therapy class: how has COVID impacted your life. An optimist by design, I tend to gravitate towards the things that COVID has provided me with: an opportunity to work on my Yoga Therapy Certification (IAYT), to study weekly with Christina Sell, to slow down and not be in the busy-ness of life, and an opportunity to reevaluate priorities and establish boundaries. On one hand, the pandemic has gifted me with a sense of achievement and betterment of self. On the other hand, COVID was a time of loss, uncertainty, sadness, anxiety, confusion and deep grief. And, I mean deep, deep grief.
But grief isn’t exclusive to to the death of a loved one, even though I suffered the loss of a beloved pet and family members. We grieve job loss, when our favorite team doesn’t win the World Series, or when a favorite show has been cancelled. I've heard that secondary loses can be harder than primary losses in some cases because the primary cause only happens once. Secondary loses are things such as traditions you no longer partake in due to the primary loss or the friend group that chooses sides (primary loss as divorce, for example) and isn't there to comfort you anymore. In my own grieving process of job loss/loss of identity, I realized that I have not completed the four stages of the grieving process as I find myself stuck on the 3rd stage of grief: adjusting to the new reality.
The four stages of grief are:
accept the reality of the loss
processing the pain of grief
adjust to the new reality
find an enduring connection and embark on a new life
The primary loss of my job this past November was hard for me to process and actualize. But the secondary loses that accumulated after that shift were some of the hardest to welcome: loss of friends, community, routines, and identity. I couldn't understand what my place in the yoga community was anymore. Who am I? I believed that the culture and personality of the business were inherently woven into the fabric of who I am as a person and that those two things couldn't possibly exist independently from one another.
But my daily sadhana has helped me find value and purpose again and gave me a path to rediscovering who I am as a person. Studying the yoga sutras of Patanjali has helped me navigate and prepare myself to move on from this loss of identity and placement within a community space. I don't have that role in the community anymore and I am learning how to accept that with Grace. This loss might have occurred regardless of COVID happening or not- I don't know that. What I do know is that I am slowly waking up to the new reality and my own personal potential as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist. As challenging as it may have been, I am grateful for the opportunity to start over and to step into my own potential. And, as my teacher Christina Sell often says: onward we go!
So, now I ask you: How has COVID impacted YOUR life?