Re-Connection Lessons from Lockdown
By Allana Pratt
What did we learn from quarantine that we would be wise to keep applying as we emerge?
“When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” Victor Frankl
CONTROL: The illusion of control is bankrupt. Life is inherently uncertain whether we like it or not. Control freaks have been humbled and are invited to go inward (and stop numbing with FB, eating, drinking, porn, or overworking). Thus, reacting is useless. Responding is wise. Feeling your feelings is essential.
One of the hugest gifts we can give ourselves is to do the inner work to find peace, safety, and approval on the inside. This allows our true worth to blossom and no longer seek validation from outside achievements. This feels like curiosity, confidence, and certainty in the face of anything.
*Keep meditating, journaling, spending time in nature, feeling your feelings, self-soothing without the addictions, connecting with true friends, and learning to find your worth from the inside out. Once you realize your worth, there is no one, nothing, and no circumstance that can take it away, ever.
GRATITUDE: We’ve been taught to be grateful for the good stuff, the wins, and goals achieved. That’s Gratitude, 101. To earn a degree from the school of Gratitude, we must also learn to be grateful for the losses and their lessons. Thus, we mature spiritually and can hold both appreciations for what we have and heartbreak for what we’ve lost at the same time.
The beauty of opening your heart wide enough to say thank you for the support and the challenges is that you get off the addictive rollercoaster of resisting pain and clamoring for pleasure. You become a YES to all of life, not just the glittery parts. This also protects you when people try to manipulate you with a shiny carrot. You stay discerning, aware, and open.
*Keep your heart open in the face of anything. Ask for help, get a coach, join a personal growth community, practice seeing the gifts in the challenge, be curious about how even this life circumstance is benefitting you, keep a journal by your bed.
PIVOT: Few of us can hear that word without recalling Ross with the coach on Friends. Nonetheless, it’s a great word for these times! One colleague has been forced by her governor to make a hand sanitizer instead of moonshine at her distillery. While that is pivot by default, her attitude is still awesome. I’m speaking more about an example: shifting live corporate events onto a virtual platform such as Zoom. We can let go of the attachment of doing business one way, pivot and create a whole new way to give our gifts.
Curiously, many are discovering they CAN work from home. They CAN create delivery campaigns, CAN serve their customers, and actually LIKE it. Moreover, they LOVE not being in rush hour, doing yoga online, eating in, and family dinners. Others admit they never really liked their job in the first place and are putting more focus into their side hustle.
The world is, has been, and always will be your oyster. Lean into the situation and joyfully brainstorm 50 creative ways you can give the world your unique gifts. Circle the one that jumps out and get to it!
*Keep being innovative and creative. Be around people who respond, not react.
Ask yourself, ‘How is this working for me? What else is possible? What do I want to maintain that nurtures my work/life balance?’
FEEL: I believe the reason we have such an obese, drug-abusing, workaholic, FB or porn-addicted, etc. society is that we aren’t feeling our feelings. We’re spinning fast, so we don’t have to feel. We’re feeding our hunger for belonging with temporary highs. Hurt people, hurt people. You need to feel it to heal it.
Quarantine is forcing us to slow down and notice our numbing. Lockdown invites us to feel our feelings and face what we’ve been avoiding in ourselves and our relationships. If you don’t know how to navigate intense emotions, it can be excruciatingly uncomfortable to discover how out of control you feel. AND we’ve been told negative emotions are bad and wrong, so self-judgment and criticism magnifies the problem.
On the other hand, we’re also seeing people respond to the uncomfortable feelings in a healthy way, such as meditating, journaling, taking online mindfulness courses, signing up for intimacy training, or listening to podcasts about self-care. People are invited to return to what really matters, like connection, relationships, following our dreams, being with people who honor us.
*Keep taking time out to feel and breathe, be patient and compassionate, gain wisdom and insights, keep a journal to discover the root of what’s bothering you, finally dissolve traumas you’ve been avoiding, reveal your blind spots and create new habits, hire a coach and heal sabotaging patterns, create a life you love.
TRUTH: The Truth I’m talking about isn’t about doing the right thing or being a good person. It’s a knowing from the soul, not a moral opinion from the mind. Truth is more a whisper from your gut, an instinctive feeling, a YES from your heart. It’s found on the inside, not the outside, and it requires zero validation or justification because YOU are the only one with this Truth. There never was, is or will be another YOU. Life broke the mold when they created you! Truth is the same. You KNOW somewhere deep inside if you are living according to your Truth. You’re in your ‘lane’.
Lock down has forced us to face the shadows that we’ve allowed to hide our Truth. It’s inviting us to discover what parts of ourselves we’ve been ashamed of, hiding or avoiding. It’s making us question whether our values are aligned with our actions and if those actions are aligned with our words. We’re potentially reprioritizing a new work/life balance and enjoying the cleaner air we breathe. Some of us are questioning our marriages, long term relationships or if we’d rather be happy alone. Newly graduated young adults are questioning career paths, while artists are having surges of creativity.
*Keep taking actions to be aligned with YOUR deepest truth no matter what anyone else says. Keep it private if you aren’t surrounded with empowering people who believe in you. Find a community who thinks outside the box, who believes in your gifts, who applauds your bravery, and who crowdsources collective genius, people who have your back and you have theirs. Fly your freak flag proudly! You are a child of the Divine. Live your best authentic life in the face of it all.
Allana Pratt is an author, intimacy coach, relationship expert, and the host of the edgy podcast “Intimate Conversations”. Her new book is Finding ‘The One’ is Bullsh*t: Becoming ‘The One’ is Brilliant & Beautiful.