When I sat down to write a blog post, I was entertained by the fact that the last blog post I wrote was about surrendering and giving up the illusion of control. I wrote “In order to start breaking the prison bars down, my goal and intention for the month of March is to Do Less & Allow More”. I talked about how God was teaching me that I need to give up the illusion that I have control in my life. I wrote, “I have the illusion that I am in control of these things because I can take obvious action steps to keep these things in order and prevent them from falling apart. But it is just that, an illusion. Even if I do every single thing right, I cannot control anybody besides myself and how others’ actions will impact my life, even if they are somebody I’ve never met and would never have a clue that they even could impact my life.” Wow. God was clearly speaking through me, because I had zero clue that COVID-19 was going to totally change the world in just a few weeks after that post. I was just starting to hear about the virus but certainly not taking it seriously. The week before I had flown back home to visit family with my toddler and didn’t even think twice about going on that trip. I thought the corona virus was a joke and I was highly skeptical. Clearly, God was preparing me, and hopefully whoever read that blog post to start to let go of control. If you haven’t read it, I suggest you do so now, even if it is just to be amused by the irony of what was to come in just a few weeks after the post.
In the past few weeks with the the uncertainty and chaos that COVID-19 has presented to just about every human on our planet, I have been silent online. While I have been very tempted on many occasions to write a blog post or put something on social media, I have listened to the inner voice that told me to be still and wait. To not get wrapped up. I have been limiting my time on social media and the news and other media in order to allow for what we are all being called to do right now. Be still. Rest and rejuvenate. Take time for introspection and hearing inner guidance and intuition. Do less, allow more. Surrender. While a huge part of me told me to jump on the opportunity to share my voice and promote my online services while so many people are “listening” online in order to keep money coming in, as well as pursing one of my dreams to have a totally online business, a deeper part told me to surrender and rest.
The first week of quarantine that was pushed in South Carolina (where I live) with the schools and other places, including my child’s daycare, I still tried to keep going. I kept my clinic open and had approximately 50% of my patients who decided to come for occupational therapy and coaching. I maintained the same business hours as usually, but used the downtime I would normally see patients to catch up on things I had been procrastinating on like paperwork and other administrative duties. I kept pushing myself even though my caseload was cut in half. I did not give into surrender, even though that’s what we are being called to do.
The second week of quarantine I prayed and meditated to receive guidance on whether I should keep my doors open or if I should close up, even though that meant no income. Being self-employed is wonderful but times like this make it ultra scary. The guidance I received was to “take a break”, so I did. I canceled all of my patients and took the week “off”. The first couple of days were met with frustration as I was still trying to do paperwork and other administrative activities, trying to make the most of a challenging situation by continuing to be productive. Even though the guidance I received was not to close up, it was to take a break, I still was not listening. I accomplished some things in those first few days, but the effort I pushed forth was not met with much results, as though I was paddling against the current. The second half of the week, I decided to try harder to listen to what I was being told and to really take a break. I spent quality time outside with my daughter and husband, enjoyed the beautiful weather that we’ve had the past few days, and to let go of my expectation of always being productive. I enjoyed snuggles and quality time with no expectations whatsoever. I was met with great rewards of quality time with my family and a sense of peace and clarity that I had been missing. These bonding moments with our family of 3 are especially precious right now because in just 2 months we will welcome our second child and will totally change our family dynamic.
This need for always being productive is deep within me and always has been. Although I believe that I was born with this overachiever mentality, especially being a Type 8 on the Enneagram, a lot of it also comes from growing up with parents who were always pushing themselves hard and working to provide when they had very little to start in their marriage and four kids to provide for. I always put a very high value on productivity and completely devalued rest and stillness. Over the years I have realized the importance of rest as overachieving and under-resting have caused autoimmune and health issues for me, but it is still hard for me to value and appreciate it. I have learned to incorporate rest and stillness into my daily life with yoga, self-care activities like baths, meditation, Bible study and devotions, and time in nature, but doing these things is still not totally natural to me and I have to work diligently to keep them in my routine and not let them fall by the wayside when things get busy.
COVID-19 is forcing each and every one of us to value this time of rest and stillness. We are being called to take a deeper look inside and listen to the intuition and inner guidance that we have been ignoring or avoiding. It is so easy to miss that guidance, even if we are trying to hear/feel it, when we are constantly busy, whether it be productive busyness or avoidance busyness (“checking out” on social media, video games, TV, etc). We must take this time to be silent and still and hear the messages we are receiving. Our whole world has been awakening to how we are damaging the planet and living unsustainably, but most have been ignoring or avoiding it. Many have the belief that they as just one person can’t do much to change the world. However, looking at our current circumstances of how much just one person can affect the entire world by choosing to take precautions and stay home or wash their hands or do whatever they can do to help prevent the spread of this pandemic, hopefully more people will realize that each and every one of us is significant in improving the world we live in. But we must listen to the guidance. We must be still. We must rest. We must surrender.
What guidance have you been ignoring or avoiding? During this time of forced rest and introspection, what are you being called to do, or not to do? We must all know that listening to our inner guidance, God, the universe, whatever you believe in or want to call it, is what will lead us to the most abundant and joyous life possible. I challenge you to take this time for introspection to hear the messages. Start a new habit or routine to get more quiet and still to hear these messages. You can do this on your own, or find a resource online (there is an abundance more than ever right now), or work with me or someone to do a guided meditation or other practice to increase this connection to intuition and establish a greater sense of peace and clarity. Stay well, rest, and appreciate this forced “vacation” instead of trying to paddle against the current.