“Guys, do you know what I would give to have just ONE day of COVID quarantine again?!” That’s exactly what I said to a bunch of parents on the sidelines of my younger daughter’s soccer practice last week. What I didn’t know was that my oldest daughter would be diagnosed with COVID the very next day. And her sister two days later.
You see, life’s been moving at the speed of light again. It’s been all about juggling a million different responsibilities and activities. I’ve found myself easily believing that I have no choice in this – that none of us do. It’s simply how life has to feel.
And then COVID hit our house. All the juggling suddenly halted as we moved into quarantine mode as a family this weekend. Saturday arrived with less pressure. There was simply more space. I actually napped, which is something that tends to occurs once every five years or so.🤪 It was divine!
Of course, this pause was momentary as the reality set in of quarantining while working from home, caring for kids with COVID, and still trying to keep them up with their schoolwork. But the brief COVID-induced pause we experienced over the weekend got me wondering, “Is it really true that we don’t have a choice in how busy, chaotic, or pressured we feel?”
I mean, the sudden COVID quarantine of 2020 certainly DID show so many of us what it was like to truly slow down. It invited us to be present in our lives in a different way, huh? Did all of that feel comfortable? Heck, no! There were so many unknowns. And so much confusion and fear, even now!
But there was also a new kind of space that many of us had never experienced in our adult lives. And that’s the part I’ve been missing lately as I juggle life. That feeling of space. And presence.
There are certainly many ways we can look at this pandemic and wonder why this is happening to us, right? But how does it change things when we ask, “How is this pandemic happening for us? I repeatedly find when I substitute the word “to” with “for”, it changes my experience and leaves me feeling more empowered, no matter how unwanted the experience is.
Despite all the questions, fear, confusion, loss, and even conflict that continue to accompany this pandemic, COVID is also inviting us to notice how we do want to live, not just how we don’t.
For the last month, I’ve again been more focused on how I don’t want to feel – overcommitted, overbusy, overwhelmed. I didn’t mean for my focus to go there. It happened so quietly I simply didn’t notice. And guess what always results from this? I easily begin to find more of what I don’t want!
But there’s something unexpected that happens when we switch our focus and ask ourselves how we DO want to feel. This question invites a pause for a few micro-moments as we ponder the answer. And micro-moment pauses automatically beckon us into the present moment.
This is what I do know about how I want to feel in my life – ease, pace, presence, and joy. I’m ok with some days being busier. In fact, sometimes there’s nothing better than running around checking off lots of tasks on my to-do list! But when life begins to feel like that every single day, well, that’s when the balance becomes lost. And I suddenly find myself aching for the COVID quarantine days of 2020 so much that I successfully manifest kiddos with COVID!! Oy vey.
This is definitely not the first time I’ve landed in this place of overwhelm. I’ll bet you’ve landed here many times, too. And it’s easy to feel convinced the only way to find relief is to make sweeping changes in our lives, right? And sure, once in a while that may be true. But more often than not, I find tiny micro-moment changes end up making the biggest difference.
What does this look like? Well, as I navigate my way through this week, I’m purposely inviting myself to pause for a micro-moment or two a few times a day. We’re talking seconds here, people. Seconds to pause and go inward. To notice how I’m feeling on the inside instead of running on autopilot from morning to night in an attempt to get through the day and all its responsibilities.
Sometimes I pause and notice that I have to pee! Or that I’m actually hungry and need to eat. Other times this pause tunes me into a feeling such as overwhelm and allows me to show up and be present for the part of me feeling this.
It’s so contrary to what we learn in our culture, right? When an unwanted feeling or experience shows up, we go to war against it, quickly trying to fix it or make it go away. This is exactly what I was doing over the last month as I focused on how I did not want to feel in my life – overbusy, overcommitted and overwhelmed. And I felt convinced I had no choice in the matter.
But then I remembered I can ask myself these two empowering questions:
- How do I want to feel in my life right now?
- How might this unwanted overwhelm/experience be happening for me?
And that’s when I was reminded – I want to feel ease. And this latest experience of overwhelm is showing me that fighting against my overwhelm is clearly not working.
For the four hundred thousandth time, I remembered that the fastest way to ease is to acknowledge and accept that I’m not feeling ease in this moment! When I give up the war against my overwhelm and instead pause to be present with this loud, overwhelmed part of me, I’m able to exhale a bit. I feel a little space open up inside me. And I carry that space with me into the rest of the day.
Does this mean something magical happens the first time you practice this? Nah, although there’s a good chance you will begin to feel something inside you relax a little. But as you practice these micro-moment pauses over time, that feeling of relief will grow. And how you move through your days will move in the direction you are wanting to feel.
You see, it turns out we do have a say in how we feel as we move through our days. But it’s so much harder to get where we want to go if we fight against where we really are in the micro-moment.
So I invite you to join me in asking yourself these two questions: How do I want to feel in my life right now? How might this unwanted emotion/experience be happening for me? And then pause your war against whatever unwanted emotion or experience is showing up for you…and be present with it for a micro-moment or two. I’ll be busy practicing this over here in my COVID-filled house, knowing this tends to prove to be the fastest way for me to find relief, which is my hope for you, too. Let me know how it goes, will ya? ❤️
P.S. My girls are doing well with their COVID infections. The younger one has no symptoms! And the older one has symptoms which are remaining manageable and we are so grateful. 💕
P.P.S. Know a loved one or friend who is looking for relief in THIS moment? Share my free MICRO-MOMENT RESET with them so they can move into relief, feel more ease, and find more clarity without having to work so hard to make it all happen.
P.P.P.S. If you’ve been enjoying my weekly blogs and are itching for more daily inspiration, follow me on Facebook (Emily Colwell), Instagram (dr.emily_colwell), and Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCh1EqJz3wcFJfICkN60krnQ) . I post frequently and humor leaks into most of my posts!
Emily Colwell, MSSW, ND
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