During many recent conversations, the idea of what to remember has come up quite a lot. People are thinking about what they have been learning during this time of quarantine, what they miss, what they don’t miss, who’s showed-up for them and how, etc. Big questions:
- What rhythms have stayed in place?
- What new rhythms do I want to create?
- What do I want to honor and also let go of?
- What do I want to take with me?
Living in Michigan, our stay-at-home order has recently been extended to mid-June. As of this writing, I too am giving time for reflection, learning and unlearning. I have been working at home more, which has been filled with joy, distractions and virtual exhaustion. I’m connected with friends and family, yet I miss what comes with being physically present. As with most things, we can hold stories, multiple truths, all at the same time. Or, as we have shared in the past–there are good things in hard things just as there can be hard things in good things.
This time of reflection, however, does not need to be held separately from other times. What I mean is that there is great power in reflection–it’s one of the best strategies we have. I don’t want to come across as though only this time brings opportunity for reflection. This is a tool we can use always, but we may have more time to spend reflecting these days.
I also think this experience is emphasizing the chance to focus more on what matters, ways to support a ready mind, sharing love with those around us and living life with purpose. We tend to think even more about ways of being in our work, in our time with others, etc.
We are continuously adding to our life’s story (take a peek at a new resource here that supports reflection and creative ways to carve out parts of your story).
And as I think on big questions and hope for the pages of story to come, here are some things I want to continue to hold tight to.
Connection and being with others brings joy
I am grateful to stay in touch through Zoom and other methods during the pandemic and also feel the difference from seeing people in-person (this being an example of two different truths being held at the same time). As restrictions lift, I look forward to backyard visits with friends and family!
Reducing stress by doing good as I grow and showing gratitude
Being in a constant state of high alert is not good for our minds or bodies—or for those around us, either. Emotional contagion is real, which means feeding our own stress and fear affects others, too. That’s become even clearer as so many of us find ourselves in closer constant quarters with family members or roommates whose moods feed off of each other.
Doing good as you grow and sharing your time and focus on others reduces your own worry and stress—a lesson we can easily carry forward.
We can show more gratitude for all of the people and things that help make our life easier and happier.
More is not always better
We’ve discussed before how too many choices can overwhelm. Maybe you experienced this as a parent or teacher trying to facilitate school from home among the countless online learning resources. Do you prefer going to a restaurant with a 20-page menu or carefully-edited, daily-updated specials? Sometimes, quality improves with less.
Our time right now may bring us more time at home, more family, more sleep. Many of these mores were welcomed, but they also may have shifted us from the stability of routine. At some point, more can feel like too much.
And as we look around our homes, we might find that what we thought we needed (things), or needed more of, is not so necessary after all.
Instead of seeking more of any good thing, we can strive for the balance that we need.
Reflection is powerful
My work centers around children’s well-being and that of their caregivers, and as I think about recent conversations with teachers, coaches, directors and administrators, I cannot help but think about what a school year it has been. And right now — so many good-byes from a distance with a desire to hold on while also feeling “done.”
Reflection can help us hold tight to understanding what matters most. As the sun illuminates moving water, reflecting allows us to see the ripple effects of our efforts and the impact we had on people, teams, and systems, as well as our own growth, development, learning and healing.
Some possible questions to consider and include as part of your reflections:
- What stands out most from this school year?
- How would I describe my time with others this school year?
- What shift(s) in systems can I identify as a result of my work?
- What are three ways this school year reminds me of past school years? Three ways this year is different?
- What steps helped me untangle a hard moment this year?
- What do I see as my sources of power (superpowers)?
- Creative power:
- Emotional power:
- Relationship power:
- Power during hard times:
- Power in conversations:
- Power in meetings and/or trainings:
- Helping power:
Take a moment to savor reflection this summer, and then ponder what story you might like your next page to hold. You may choose to hold tight to different things than me as we slowly emerge and take tentative steps forward. But whatever you decide to hold on to, hold tight. Don’t let the reawakening world pry the lessons you’ve learned from your grasp.
I’m interested in hearing what you’re choosing to hold from this experience. Comment below to let us know your quarantine life lessons, so we can learn and grow together.