I’ve spent the last month reconnecting and catching up with friends and family. There has been a common theme emerging in all conversations. I’ve felt it myself. At first I thought something was wrong, or maybe I was just a little down or homesick. But after sharing these feelings with my circle, I found I’m not alone. It feels like humanity is having a collective mid-life crises and I have some thoughts as to why…
There is a desire to re-establish what feels like purpose; meaning. A sensitivity to knowing something doesn’t feel right. Knowing something has to change. People are listening to themselves. To their hearts and guts. This goes beyond cognition and intellect. Beneath words.
As we start to get on the other side of the pandemic, we are coming to terms with the fact that life will forever be different. It was a global trauma to humanity. To face so much loss and change. Death, loss or forced change without choice, and loss of freedom, are all powerful motivators to look at ones priorities. It made us feel unsafe. It was a threat to our existence. And when we don’t feel safe, our nervous system shifts us into survival mode. It jacks up our cortisol and adrenaline. Sleep becomes a challenge, as does digestion, immune and reproductive function, not to mention relaxation and weight control. It thrust humanity, (perhaps somewhat unconsciously), into fight, flight or freeze mode. And in survival or shutdown, connection becomes a challenge. Whether that’s in relationship with others, or to the ability to listen to your own needs. The body is diverting all available energy to just making it through the day. If you felt like the last 2 years were extremely exhausting, you are not alone. There isn’t something wrong with you, your nervous system was protecting you.
I believe that the COVID made us face what wasn’t working, what wasn’t sustainable as well as taking away the comforts of connecting with other humans in the ways we were used to. Though it also gave us NEW ways of working and connecting. It blew the lid off how we thought business could be done. It has allowed some the option to work from home, for companies to require less, if any, office space. It has reduced the need to travel and has made many services more accessible. In some ways it has given us more freedom. Certainly more choice in how we do things moving forward.
As we start to transition back into working and living with less limitations, we get to choose who, what and how things return into our day to day lives. I really think that the last 2 years of being forced to slow down has made many people take time to reflect and ask some of those big, (typically mid-life questions), like “What is the point? What am I doing? Is there more to life than this?”.
For some people, these questions are already familiar territory. For those doing coaching, counselling, mentoring, therapy, or personal development work…any of the modalities that require holding space for others, meaning making is already a part of your day to day. What I’ve noticed is that in addition to first responders, care-givers, and healthcare providers, EVERY person I’ve spoken with, is feeling the call; that silent whisper that speaks in a language below words. A knowing that life is meant for meaning. For purpose. To connect well to ourselves and others. I’d call this intuition. The portal to access inspiration, connection and freedom. The pandemic was a universal invitation to listen. And people are. My people are. I’m sure we aren’t the only ones.
Personally, as I’ve been enjoying the last month and a half of exploring a new country and continent, I’ve had an incredible time. However, I also have a longstanding habit of overdoing that stems from some pretty powerful conditioning to be independent and do everything myself, without asking for help. Historically this gripping and grasping for control has translated into a “bad back”. Pre-yoga and self-awareness it would go out a couple times a year. It would be the slightest movement, like brushing my hair or rolling out of the tanning bed. I would be down for the count and off work for at least a week each time, dulling the pain with a mix of muscle relaxers and some really good rye, (many old habits have been let go of).
Since I found the self-responsibility to start looking at my stuff, to grow an awareness of my conditioning, beliefs, and habits through the skills of integrative yoga therapy, I’ve been able to see how my unconscious habits were fueled by the survival personality I created to get my needs met. I was able to let myself integrate all that unprocessed experience and feel it…so that I could let it go.
My back hasn’t gone out in a couple years. And on the rare occasion that it does, I have some fantastic tools to come back in a few days verses a couple of weeks.
Fast forward to last weekend. To waking up on Sunday morning unable to get out of the tent on my own. Over the span of three days, without any physical inciting factor, other than, (perhaps), packing everything by myself, without asking for help, my back got gradually tighter. Now, a week later, on the other side of it, I can appreciate the time to be with the discomfort as well as the opportunity to reflect, yet again on the patterns, albeit a little less unconscious, of why it happens.
After sharing this story and hearing stories shared by friends, I get the point: We are here to do this together. To share our vulnerabilities, challenges and learnings. To hold space for each other. Not necessarily to have answers or give advice. Simply to hold safe and brave space to be truly seen by another person. To be in authentic relationship with someone you trust, to speak it, to hear yourself say it, to feel it. To me that is how we integrate the big life stuff. The grief, the loss, and the life rocking change. We can only move past it, and open ourselves up for what wants to come next when we allow ourselves time and space to be with it all.
So I’d like you to cut yourself some slack. To give yourself some grace, some compassion. There is nothing wrong with you. If you are feeling overwhelmed, if you are questioning the meaning or purpose of why you are here, if you are feeling like there should be more, or hungry for more freedom, you are not alone. Also, you are not meant to do this by yourself, (personal ah-hah).
My 3 daily non-negotiables have been meditation, movement and meaning. In the last month I have felt a little disconnected to my meaning. I want to create more opportunities for connection with others. Space for this work of exploration and integration. To ANY one who is feeling this, what I call, “post-covid purpose” seeking. If you are doing this work, or holding space for others who are and you are looking for your own place to process, let’s connect. This is the work of my heart. It is in authentic relationship, in a safe and brave space that the shit that holds you back can come to light and be let go of. I’d love to be that space for you.
Starting in June I am opening up my schedule to afternoon & evening session times, Sunday to Thursday for those in North American time zones after 3pm CST. PM or email to book.
The point is connection. To yourself. To others. In authentic relationship. To create more meaning. More purpose. More joy. And most importantly, more FREEDOM.