All of us have been impacted by the current events of the world with the rapid spreading of the COVID 19 virus. Schools are closed, houses of worship are closed, many businesses are closed or suffering, people are laid off, restaurants and either closed or struggling. The numbers of people who are sick are rapidly rising and sadly, many have even died. There is a fear of this virus that is very real and rightly so, concern for our vulnerable populations and elderly. I had canceled visiting my 80-year-old mother and family during Spring Break due to the quarantine in Washington during Spring Break with my boys. I also got laid off from my work due to our business that serves disabled kids, shutting down as a result of the Shelter in Place order in our state for at least the next 3 weeks. Thankfully, Congress passed the relief bill so with unemployment and the relief funds, we should be okay at our home and hopefully, it will be okay in yours, too!
This entire experience has really gotten me excited, to be honest. I don’t know about you, but I have been looking forward to slowing down, doing some cleaning projects and re-organizing at home. I’ve been working a lot of hours and now my two adult girls have moved out and it’s just me and my two teenage boys. This has been a great time to connect with them and go at a pace that hopefully, is going to leave us with some positive memories of this time together. Living with a son with autism has had its challenges but it has also included many blessings. I have really been learning a lot about our brain’s response to stress this last year and how important it is to work our brains out of the amygdala and into the frontal cortex where learning occurs. We are going at a relaxed pace for cleaning and will work school work next week once the “Spring Break” time is over.
This brings me to the topic of this post which really speaks to some concepts explored through coaching: differing perspectives and mindset. There is a story that illustrates the idea I’m hoping to explore what I heard from a priest years ago in a homily:
A man and his companion lost their way in a forest. The companion despaired, but the man said maybe some good would come of it. They came upon a stranger who needed the man’s help. The stranger turned out to be a prince who gave the man a beautiful horse.
His neighbors praised his good luck and said, “How blessed you are to have such a magnificent animal.”
The man said, “Who’s to say whether this is a blessing or a curse?”
The next day the horse ran away, and the neighbors said, “How horrible that you were cursed with the loss of your horse.”
The man replied, “Who’s to say whether this is a curse or a blessing? Perhaps some good will come of this.”
The next day the horse returned leading five wild horses. “You were right!” his neighbors exclaimed. “The curse was a blessing in disguise. Now you’re blessed with six horses.”
The man replied, “Perhaps, but who’s to say whether this is a blessing or a curse?”
The next day his only son tried to ride one of the wild horses. He was thrown to the ground and broke his leg. The neighbors said, “How wise you were. Your blessing really was a curse.”
The man replied, “There may be good yet. Who’s to say whether this is a curse or a blessing?”
The next day soldiers came through the village and took every able-bodied boy to fight in a war where it was almost certain all would be killed. Because the man’s son was injured, the boy was the only one not taken. “How blessed are you to keep your son!” the neighbors said.
The man replied, “Who’s to say? I don’t know whether there’s a curse in every blessing, but I am sure there’s a blessing in every curse.”
What are the blessings you are experiencing as a result of this nationwide quarantine? There are certainly a lot of funny memes and videos posted. I’ve seen some neat baking and cooking posts, games and music playing, exercise challenges, people connecting by Zoom, Skype or by phone. So many creative outlets! There are also some wonderful online church services, retreats, prayers, study, etc. For some, there is the opportunity to work from home, again, with its blessings and curses! Learning how to home school and surviving being around one another in our households more than usual. This can also, of course, be a tense time for some but with that shift in mindset, it truly helps! Not to mention focusing first on being ready to learn and providing some sort of structure to the day. (Fortunately for us, my 13-year-old with autism goes by a school schedule whether or not he has school or not! Every morning, weekends included, he is doing the bell schedule, announcements and saluting the flag, just like what they do at school. I’ve just learned to roll with it as it is one of those things that helps his brain relax so why not? )
Here’s an idea of a schedule that has been posted and whether or not you have kids, it certainly doesn’t hurt to have one for everyone in your home, even if it’s a rough idea.
As a coach, I tend to focus on what positive things are coming out of this trial for you and those you are close to? Diamonds are formed when coal is put under pressure. The first thing to focus on, from my experience working with kids who have developmental disabilities (and this is the same for all of us, of course) is to work on getting out of a reactive state, that Fight/Flight/Freeze mode by focusing on regulating activities. We tend to gravitate toward things that really help our bodies and sensory systems feel “just right”. That may include exercise for some; singing at the top of your lungs (which is better than yelling at your kids/spouse); doing some kind of heavy work (housework or yard work for example); even reading or talking to someone; eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep and drinking water. The list is truly endless.
Once you are regulated, take some time to think about and even write down some proactive things you can do. Focus on what you can do with a goal in mind. Even if it’s a little thing, you can build on that and start to roll with that momentum. I’ve made use of The Flylady, for example, to help with ideas to clean and organize my house while also setting up a daily routine. It’s been really helpful.
This time to slow down can be used for some self-reflection; focusing on who you are, discovering or even growing in your strengths, focusing on becoming more fully who you truly are and goals you want to achieve utilizing your strengths. Taking some time to refresh and regenerate is so good for us on a regular basis and making the most of this opportunity to reset can make what seems to be a curse, a blessing.
How are you making use of this time?
What are you learning about yourself?
Are you taking time to reflect, checking on where you are in life as opposed to where you want to be? How do those two points match up?
What do you feel you need to do inorder to feel more “balanced”?
What goals do you have? What steps are you taking to achieve those goals?
This is a great time to get (re)started and evaluate what steps you want to make! If you would like a coach to walk alongside you and help you go deeper, identify roadblocks as well as ways to overcome them while cheering you on along the way, please make use of the time you have and give Life Coaching a try!
It’s easy to want things to go back to how they were before COVID-19 but in reality, they aren’t. We can take to heart however, the words of J.R.R.Tolkien from his literary work of art The Fellowship of The Ring:
What will you do with the time you have been given? Feel free to contact me and we can begin (again?) on making some of those changes you have been longing for. See how a coach can help and please make use of my COVID-19 special (One free session and half off your coaching package!).
Call me at 208-449-9019 or email firstname.lastname@example.org