If you’re lucky, and you know where your next meal is coming from, you have a safe place to sleep and your family is well, you can view this pandemic as an opportunity to practice what I’m calling The Great Pause.
In many ways, the whole world is on pause. It feels radically different, yet aspects of life are still blissfully familiar.
If you live in the northern hemisphere, the short, darker days of winter can be especially isolating; and the great pause can feel overwhelming. The thing about feeling overwhelmed is, as awful as it feels in the moment, it doesn’t last. Winter turns to spring, and, even in the midst of a pandemic, new life bursts forth. This may be a great pause, even an end to life as we knew it, but it contains an incredible potential for growth and positive change.
On an individual level, this great pause can have wonderful ramifications if you allow things to be different from how you think they should be.
Over the years, I have learned the value of even a nanosecond’s pause. The tiny sliver of time it takes to think before speaking. To wait for another driver to pass. To resist pressing send on a potentially inflammatory email. In other words, to think before acting or reacting.
If that is a gift, and it definitely has been for me, imagine the potential of the pandemic and its great pause. At the very least, it teaches us we have the resilience, fortitude and grit to keep going. But there is more. It’s a chance to explore solitude and peace. Sages have said: The cure for loneliness is solitude. Rather than rail again what is and all the things you miss, you can choose to embrace this new experience. Of course, if you’re living in a small space with others, solitude may be hard to come by.
As a seasoned holistic psychotherapist, I know there were plenty of challenges before Covid, these are just different. Dealing with them has the potential to teach many interesting lessons. That said, it’s still quite challenging.
If you want to explore some of the positive aspects of this pandemic experience and what the great pause has meant for you, you might want to try the following journaling, or audio journaling, prompts.
I suggest reading the question, closing your eyes, and leisurely thinking about it. If a question elicits a strong emotional or physical reaction, be curious about it.
What can I learn from this?
What has been most challenging for me during Covid?
Who has been there for me?
How can I be there for myself?
Am I more or less grateful as a result of this experience?
What do I really need versus what I think I want?
Has Covid changed my ideas of how I want to be in the future?
What do I value more, or less, as a result of the pandemic?
What is important to me right now?
Has the way I treat my body changed?
Has my relationship with my emotions changed?
Has Covid forced me to make decisions I never would have made without the pandemic?
Has my way of looking at life changed?
Please feel free to share any other journal prompts you discover as you explore your own inner terrain.
Copyright Nicole S. Urdang