The practice of yoga teaches us that everything is impermanent. Nothing is static in the universe. All things change. This includes our situations, emotions and experiences in life.
As humans, we tend to move towards those things that give us pleasure – and away from those things that cause us pain. But getting too attached to pleasurable experiences can cause us to spend our lives in an endless pursuit of pleasure or even lead to addiction. Our aversion to pain can cause us to shut down or repress painful experiences. Both are part of life. We can appreciate the pleasurable experiences without clinging to them, as clinging will eventually lead to our dissatisfaction and grief when those experiences end. Likewise, we can take comfort in knowing that painful experiences will also pass, and by living through them, we may gain insight and empathy for others.
All of us – every single being on the planet right now - is being affected by COVID-19. This pandemic is affecting how we live our daily lives. After 8 months of limiting our contact with others, we are all experiencing some COVID-fatigue. But the virus does not care. It is going to do its thing whether we like it or not. So, the best thing we can do is take precautions to keep ourselves, our families and each other safe by obeying the CDC, and our local County and City health guidelines. That may mean celebrating the holidays differently this year.
The winter season on the East Coast of the United States, brings with it shorter days, colder weather, and a variety of holiday traditions celebrated by people of different faiths, that generally include gatherings with family and friends. This is often a time of year when people experience seasonal affective disorder, loneliness or depression. On top of this, most of us have been isolating from social gatherings, maintaining physical distance from each other.
It is so important during this time to check in with each other by phone or text or Skype or Zoom – to take care of our mental health.
It’s important to evaluate our best options for holiday gatherings that do not put ourselves and our families at greater risk of illness and even death. It may mean celebrating in different ways – finding creative and safe ways to still be in touch and share joy with each other. Think of it as creating new memories. – This will be that year you can tell your grandchildren about when you celebrated Thanksgiving over Zoom – or stayed home and ate pizza so you didn’t give your family COVID. But, remember – this too, shall pass. Embrace that things will be different this year and find new ways to enjoy the company of others – via zoom or outside visits. Check in with others, especially if you are feeling lonely or sad. Keep your yoga and meditation practice going, as these practices can help you release fear and anxiety and accept the things you cannot change. Practicing yoga and meditation can give us a fresh perspective on this situation, encourage empathy towards our most vulnerable, and remind us that this pandemic will also be impermanent, and that yes, this too shall pass. Be safe. Be well.