Integrative Pathways to Healing

Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction in Chicago

“This will be over in just a couple of weeks.”  I remember saying to my daughter on the phone in the first days of the pandemic lock down. “Don’t think so mom,” she replied saying that it would at least be a few months.  Then a few days later I heard an interview with an expert say that a pandemic typically takes at least a year to a year and a half to resolve/subside.  My original opinion (or was it hope?) was shattered.”

After 15 months of pandemic restrictions, things are slowly returning to the ‘new normal’ with larger events and gatherings taking place.  The fireworks and parades returned this July 4th after being cancelled in 2020.  In all honesty, last July 4th was unique and special- with only my family together (for the first time) spending a day on the water and then enjoying a simple barbeque in the backyard.  I think I preferred that to the 75 friends and relatives in the back yard watching the fireworks this year.  Both are fun, but which one was more meaningful?  

As I practiced yoga and meditation this morning, my mind wandered to the good things that came from the many months of isolation and fear.  Do not get me wrong, I struggled a lot over the past year and half – last winter was especially challenging for me.  Cold, snow, seclusion with nowhere to go – feeling trapped and struggling to be hopeful.   I could make a list of the difficulties but that would only promote a negative mindset (not healthy).  Why wallow in the past?

To be grateful, not only for the struggle but to realize that this was also a time of growth and new learning, making new friends and reconnecting with old friends.  I made a brief list in my mind this morning – here it is.

1). My self -care improved. I had more time to investigate my practice and expand my knowledge of yoga, meditation, and mindfulness.  I discovered Yoga Vista TV, a website with a wide range of yoga practices, somatic movement classes and lots of chair yoga.   The owner, Sherry has developed chair yoga dance sequences which I stumbled upon on YouTube last year.  I shared a dance sequence with my chair yoga class after that and subscribed.  I loved learning more about somatic movements and being guided by the various teachers that are featured on this site.  

2). I found online communities to support me.  Another place I discovered was Dan Harris’ “10 Percent Happier” webcast that was broadcast daily through most of 2020.  It featured a 15-minute interview with a notable mindfulness teacher and 15 minutes of practice.  It was a place of learning and refuge for me.  It felt good to be a part of a larger community practicing together.  

3). I expanded my business online with ZOOM!
  I realized quickly that I needed to begin to deliver my classes online.  I did not know how exactly – the senior center that I was contracted with began to offer their classes online in April and by May I had my own scheduling system and offerings of classes online.  During this process I met a great website/ marketing support person who guided me through the process of linking my website to an online scheduler and zoom link, so people could sign up and pay for my classes/courses easily online.  Zoom was a lifesaver for my business and for my personal/social life.  

4). I found a way to be of service.
 As a holistic nurse, I wanted to help.  One of the deepest sorrows I felt during this time was that I could not find a way to help other healthcare professionals – especially nurses on the frontlines.  Through the American Holistic Nurses Association, I found the Compassion Caravan, a group of dedicated holistic nurses that were gearing up to help.  Compassionate Listening Circles were created and offered regularly throughout the lockdown, and I participated and lead the circles.  And the bonus was I connected with some wonderful like- minded nurses in the process.  

5). Reconnected with old friends.  My dear friend I grew up with and have stayed in touch with over the years is a great organizer.  She reached out to several old friends inviting them to a monthly evening gathering.  One of my grammar school friends, who now lives in Russia attends the meetings.  How cool is that!  It has been a delight to see and connect with this group of old friends who knew me when I was a young girl.  There is comfort in that history. Some I have known since gramma school!

What’s on your list of pandemic blessings?