Well here we are at the start of another new year. A new year with so much potential for doing things differently. You don’t need me to summarize the challenges and craziness of 2020. Instead, I’m going to share personal reflections, 2020 moments I’m thankful for, and hopes for the future. Like most of us, I’m anxious to return to normal one day, yet my hope is that it is a different normal than that of the past, one that integrates all the lessons of 2020.
Here are the things I am most thankful for from 2020.
- The forced slow-down especially in the early days of the pandemic. There were many challenges of having the kids home from school while working but the close time together uninterrupted by activities and socializing allowed us more time to be present with each other as a family and to consider what is really important in our lives.
- That the planet got a mini-break from air pollution in larger cities and fossil fuel consumption overall.
- The increased self-awareness caused by the pandemic at a global level. Major cracks in how our society functions (or does not function) were exposed as consequences from both the virus itself as well as from the required social distancing were felt disproportionately in the population based on race, age, economic status and other social factors. While this seems like an odd thing to be thankful for – greater awareness and recognition across all of society has potential to be a major step towards change.
- That the world can come together to solve problems very quickly. The development of the vaccines happened at an unprecedented speed, proving that politicians and scientists around the world are capable of acting quickly to solve global problems when it matters most.
- For me personally, the pandemic caused me to pivot to teaching more online – stepping out of my personal comfort zone and becoming more able to share helpful practices with more people .
We are not out of the pandemic yet but there is a growing expectation that the new vaccines will soon allow us to return to normal. While I am looking forward to more social connection, visiting family far away, and maybe even a real vacation, I also hope we don’t forget the lessons of 2020.
Building from the above list, here are my hopes for 2021 and beyond:
- For those of us that saw benefits from slowing down, being less busy and less scheduled – that we remember those benefits and seek them out. That as a society we reconsider equating success with busyness and productivity and reflect more fully on what we choose to value and what is important.
- I’m not going to lie – I definitely plan on hopping on a plane and visiting family in other parts of Canada and overseas as soon as it is safe to do so. Yet I hope we don’t go back to the pre-pandemic level of fossil fuel consumption as soon as travel is safe. Many in-person conferences and business meetings moved online in 2020, with the side effect of connecting many people to conferences and events they wouldn’t normally be able to attend. I hope we keep this trend going – saving $ and fossil fuels while also making room for accessibility and inclusivity.
- I have so many hopes related to the increased awareness of social inequities in society. Perhaps I can sum it up by saying I hope those of us with more privilege don’t return to our lives of busyness and forget what was exposed during the pandemic. That individually and collectively we consider what can be changed for the better including what we may need to give up in order to build a more equitable future.
- We now know that world political leaders and scientists can act very quickly to solve global problems. Climate change? Poverty? I hope we collectively push harder for more action now.
- My personal one – The move of classes to online is not a temporary one. The majority of my classes will not be returning to the studio post-pandemic and will instead be online. This is more sustainable for me and my family (related to #1 what’s really important) as my work hours are now more aligned with my kids’ school hours. It also allows greater accessibility to what I offer at RePose – more affordable (yoga for a little more than $1/day), accessible to more people that for a variety of reasons couldn’t go to the studio, and accessible beyond Yellowknife. My work that remains at the studio will now be more solely focused on private and small group Yoga Therapy (pelvic health, persistent pain, etc.).
This is my New Year’s blog 2021. If you’re wondering how these ideas relate to yoga – yoga is a practice of self-awareness that connects us not just to ourselves – becoming more aware of how our thoughts and emotions connect to what is happening in our bodies (breath, body tension, motor control, ability to sense) – but also to how we use our increased awareness to act in the world. All of the reflections and hopes above can be understood through the practice of yoga.
As we leave 2020 behind, let’s take what we’ve learned and create a better future!
Happy Hopeful New Year Friends.