Dear reader: If I were to guess, I’d bet that the experience of the pandemic has shed new light some aspect of your one truly precious life. It’s a present worth unpacking. Let me untie the ribbons of this unexpected gift for you here.
Clarity is, by definition, “the quality or state of being clear.” Clarity is the direct manifestation of our being in full alignment with ourselves. It’s the result of a lot of momentum with no resistance. To me, clarity signifies inspired right action following deep reflection. Gaining clarity is like being carried by a gentle flow downstream. There’s absolutely no current to fight. The feeling of certainty lights you up from the inside out.
Slowed Time Brings Refinement
Navigating the pandemic has been a multifaceted experience, to say the least. And for many of us, it has included a gradual slowing of time. This occurred naturally as restrictions kept us closer to home, enabling us to take pause from our worldly routines.
For me, slowed time presents an opportunity to clear out the clutter of my heart and mind — the perfect pause, a time for reflection. Slowing down brings peace, order, and focus. I’m able to reconnect with myself.
Within the gift of spaciousness these COVID-times offered, perhaps you’ve contemplated what feels especially meaningful and good. Maybe you zeroed in on specific desires or new pursuits of interest. Most likely, refinement in one or another area of your life has been the result. Chances are you’re living more connected to the heart of what truly matters to you.
COVID has indeed been our teacher. The lessons offered have resulted in individuals adopting new habits, rituals, and rhythms in their life. New learnings open us to greater consciousness. With this awareness, we become even more compelled to explore fresh paths and new ways of being.
As the ever-curious soul that I am, I’ve enjoyed asking many in my social circle what realizations living through the past year and a half has brought into their lives. The answers I received fell into four categories: clarity about relationships, personal growth, work, and self-care. As you digest what others have shared with me, consider, too, what has awakened in you.
Clarity About Relationships
A number of individuals I polled said, without a moment’s hesitation, that the pandemic brought them much deeper appreciation for the close relationships in their lives. As a result they were even more committed to devoting time, energy, and care to these intimate connections.
Several individuals said their realization was that relationships were “all that really mattered.” One of the people I spoke with had lost a close friend to COVID. She found herself still reeling from the suddenness of the loss. This experience heightened her resolve to be in more frequent, meaningful contact with family and friends. She was more determined than ever to more vulnerably share her authentic self with others dear to her.
Another individual spoke of her discovery of the power of asking thoughtful questions of those she cared about. These inquiries opened up unexpected, profoundly powerful insights on both sides of the conversation. This woman made a new commitment to herself. She vowed to stay ever-curious and regularly ask her inner circle friends to tell her about yet-discussed areas of their lives and experiences.
Then there was the powerful realization a friend shared about how the pandemic gifted her a pause wherein “time, recurrence, and commitment” with a new beloved fostered a deep trust in their relationship. For her, it was a trust she felt might not have developed in the same way had life been filled with its typical hustle n’ bustle. For this couple, career travel demands ceased because of COVID restrictions. This allowed their connection to blossom in unexpectedly deep and beautiful ways.
Clarity About Personal Growth
The area of personal growth was a hotspot for transformation! One individual I talked with shared this powerful process she went through: revaluating her gender! “I was finally about to break away from the shell I was in to truly become who I’ve always been,” she said. “Since I was home by myself, the usual societal pressures weren’t on me. This helped me have a lot of introspection on my life and who I am outside of what society says I’m suppose to be. It felt like the whole metamorphic process caterpillars go through to become butterflies. That’s the best way to describe it.” Wow. Just wow, right?! Again, here we witness the blessing of COVID downtime.
Another beautiful soul shared how personal decision-making become easier. She felt a much greater understanding of what-was-what for her. With this confidence about her beliefs, she could more easily take a stand for her positions. We speculated that most likely the life-or-death realizations COVID placed before us prompted the nudge to take quicker, heartfelt, and authentic stances.
I, myself, deeply resonated with this reality. Being pushed up against the backdrop of a possible risk of life empowered me to confidently speak my truth, and this new conviction continues to flow within me. Personal boundary-setting feels effortless; I can feel a fierce, solid “yes or no” intuitively arise within me.
There’s also the compelling sense to stop screwing around! It’s time to stop going undercover, time to take those risks I daydream about. Time to have a greater impact. There’s no time like the present for full, personal expansion and expression. That’s my clarity.
Then there was the lovely and extremely insightful high school student I spoke with. She eloquently shared: “Something I came to understand better was who I am and what I want from life. Before COVID, I didn’t think much about the future or even what I was doing in the moment; I was ‘stuck’ in a routine. Each day I had school, then I’d come home and power through my homework, then go off swimming. It was enjoyable, but it didn’t give me room to think of or try new things. Once COVID happened, my life routine was thrown off, and I was like ‘What do I do with my life now?’ During COVID, I found new passions such as field hockey, self-care, running, and coffee-making! I finally had time to process my life and who I was. I realized I was more that just routine. I had other interests an aspirations in life.”
Such richness and wisdom here with her words. It’s a wonderful reminder of the treasures that self-reflection brings to those of all ages when we give ourselves unhurried time to do so. The pandemic forced us into changed daily rhythms and routines as time slowed. Moving forward, perhaps we might simply harness our personal power of choice and skip the pandemic part.
Clarity About Work
Who needs an office anyways? This by far was the resounding message many received. The pandemic, along with its work-from-home mandates, opened new work-related horizons for many. Fresh perspectives on how and where one can work became crystal-clear for a number of individuals. As the awareness of the glorious work-life freedom portal opened, unexpected relief followed. Long work commutes disappeared. Comfy work attire surfaced. And suddenly, the notion of a laptop open on one’s favorite beach didn’t seem that far out of reach.
Another aspect of career realizations several of the folks I spoke with expressed revolved around the awareness that what they were doing day in and day out was far from desired. The grind had to stop — it was time to pivot and reinvent themselves in the direction of more richly, personally satisfying activities. Clarity around work also included a fierce determination to have it easily reflect who they were and what they loved. In other words, work that didn’t feel like work!
Clarity About Self-Care
Numerous people I spoke with are enjoying and celebrating enhanced self-care rituals as a result of increased leisure time they experienced with the pandemic. Renewed commitment to tenderly tending to their bodies, fitness, and overall health was strong for many. Another key component of this clarity around the importance of nourishing one’s body, mind, and spirit could be seen in a general increase in regularity of practice routines. “Routine” is the key word here. Commitment to keeping one’s routine became easier amid the spaciousness of pandemic days.
And So It Is
As we recognize the ways in which golden portals of clarity opened for many of us during the past months, let us not forget the hardships, grief, and profound losses experienced worldwide. My hope is that the power of each and every persons’ wakeup-calls can serve to offset or cushion, if only a wee bit, humanity’s pain points.
And so it is. Let nothing snuff out the ever-constant force of self-empowerment within you, my friend.
This article was also published in The Brick Magazine.