Lost in Lockdown
Mariana Enriquez wrote one of my favourite books called “Things we lost in the fire”. A dark exploration of what happens to unchecked desires. Lockdown has been the opposite - our desires have been kept in check, denied and put out of reach. What have we lost? Was there anything to lose? What did I lose in the lockdown? Was it all bad?
Almost every avenue of earning ceased overnight - I lost my independence, I‘d never been in a position before of having no income and being reliant on someone else. I lost my feeling of usefulness - suddenly all the blessings of being able to help people feel better were gone. I lost the opportunities I have to share my knowledge by providing Tai Chi Classes or teaching Reiki. Furloughed was a new word in everyones vocabulary - redundant, felt like a more accurate description.
But I also lost all of the hours of travel, the loading and unloading the car, the need to wear uniform - while no income was an issue, being at home all the time I found myself very happy.
I lost direction and although I tidied and cleaned, checked and packed, gardened and planned - I was lost. I had lost my purpose.
I sat with it and learned what it was like to feel lost. I grappled with feelings of relief for being so free and anxiety about my futlure capacity to earn a living - even looking at the possibilities of employment, I’d did nothing except be. Some days felt like treacle even though I was essentially happy I knew I wouldn‘t be happy “just being“ long term. In the midst of all I’d lost in the lockdown I couldn’t see how there was ever going to be a way to do what I love - Help people feel better. I looked at more jobs, I considered Emergency Planning or Risk Management again but knew I’d left those careers for good. I looked at what else was “out there” and signed up to an agency selecting a couple of fields I might like to work in, I received daily emails from them asking “What’s stopping you from doing the job of your dreams?. l was angered as it was only the virus and the resulting lockdown that stopped me from doing the job of my dreams. The same one I’ve done for 5 years - Holistic Therapies as a sole trader running my own company.
In the midst of all this I toyed with on-line offerings but couldn‘t see a way to make it work for me. I’d seen so many on-line offerings that were knee jerk reactions to lockdown, not well thought through and not good value.
Finally it fell into place. I went back to look at my website - in the “about me” section I talk about what makes me tick - helping people - changing lives. While “human touch” is most definitely off the cards for the foreseeable future I found my focus shifting to how to achieve what makes me tick in new ways.
In the lockdown I lost my fear of being in front of the camera, I lost my dislike for my own voice, I lost my technophobic tendencies and grappled with on-line booking technology, calendars, video conferencing and email marketing . As I embraced on-line video conferences I lost the need to hide away, I lost the worries about how I looked - everyone has “lockdown hair” right? I lost the need to be concerned about how others saw me. I lost one of my masks. I lost the fear that if I made a mistake I’d be judged, I’d be viewed a less than competent at my job. I’m more than competent at my chosen therapies, I’m more than competent in my knowledge of Tai Chi, but how could this translate into an on-line offering? I lost my fear of trying and failing. It was better than doing nothing and failing. I lost the fear that if I got it wrong it would be disastrous - at least I could say I tried. All in all I lost a lot in lockdown, I am lucky I haven’t lost any family or friends yet - for that I’m grateful. But I lost so much more than I bargained for. Proof that losing things isn’t always a negative experience.
“You can’t grasp the future if your hands are still full of the past”, a mantra I’ve often stated. Losing my grip on the way my world should function gave me just the opportunity needed to let go of the past and stand with arms wide open to the future.
I’ve grown, I’ve experimented, I’ve got to grips with some IT and sorted it rather than leave it because I didn’t think I could. Moving forward I have the right way to deliver Tai Chi on-line. It’s new and exciting, and it helps people and I’ve created a way to run on-line clinics to give people health advice. These will be piloted in the coming weeks. I’ve managed some clever IT stuff that has linked three or four different applications together and managed to find a way to support on-line learning With resources that allows only those learning to have access.
I‘ve learned that when there are “Things to lose in the fire”, one of the best things to do is let it all go.