It began in March 2020 and, with right consciousness, will last for eternity.

How easy it is to fall prey to the habit of life…the automatic and unconscious manner in which we move through our days. This is not the same as living our days. We do not have to be alive in all our senses and connections to go through our days. So many of us are driven by external foci…schedules, the quest for belonging and acknowledgment from others, wanting more and needing more of something like money, awards, performance ratings, “likes” on social media and so on.

How and when do we pause long enough to notice our lives are not in balance? How often do we tell ourselves, “I’ll do that when I have the time”? To what end do we go to realize we are not living our most authentic self, the life we really want for ourselves? For many during COVID, there is a lot of cleaning out the houses, the basements, the cupboards and the garages. Are you willing to clean out people, careers, hobbies and busyness in your life that drain you rather than sustain you? Are you willing to pause long enough to notice?

COVID-19 is the time of the Great Potential. What we can’t do for ourselves, shut-downs and stay at home orders have provided. This is the time of the Big Pause; to slow down enough to notice the quality of our lives. As Rumi has said, “if not now, when do you begin the journey into self?”

I have embraced this journey and I have deepened my connection to myself. I practice Kouk Sun Do (SunDo) which is a Taoist healing and meditation practice that originated in Korea. Before COVID, I practiced once per week and occasionally more during retreats. Since March, I have practiced six days per week and I can’t imagine not continuing my practice as I move forward. SunDo keeps my mind, body and emotion so well balanced. I am calm and at peace; I have greater capacity to deal with stress; in fact, my definition of stress is changed. I am more patient with myself, others and the world around me. I am living my life more balanced and I am very much aware when I begin to move out of balance; thus, I recover very quickly.

During this time of great pause, I am aware of what is in my control and what is not in my control. I practice shining my light on what is good and I feel great gratitude for what I have in all facets of my life. I trust the organic flow of life.

In this time of great potential and expansiveness, I have reflected on my life with these questions. I share these questions with you in the hopes that you will also reflect on your life. My hope is that you will answer these questions by going inward…noticing body, emotion and connection to self as you reflect. If your answer includes others or materialism (of any sort), go deeper.

1) What “worked” for you in your life prior to COVID?
2) What did not work for you in your life prior to COVID?
3) What works in your life now during COVID?
4) What does not work in your life now during COVID?

Once you can answer these questions from an “I” place with a felt sense of what feels right or not, ask yourself these two questions.

5) What am I willing to change or do to create more of what works for me moving forward?
6) What am I willing to let go that did not work for me as I move forward?

After a long and winding journey, I have cultivated a life that I love and I am sustained by. I have created a career that is fulfilling and rewarding on many levels. I have many interests from sports to music and performing arts. I also have a wonderful home life and partner. These are all the things that work for me prior to COVID.

And, yet…the balance in my life was off. Though I was out enjoying life, I wasn’t home that much. I seldom had a night or a weekend to just be home. I realized during “stay at home” that I like keeping my house clean and caring for the yard when I can do it in the balance of my life…without the stress. As I move forward post-COVID, my goal is to work less and differently to allow for living in balance. I will maintain my SunDo practice. I will find more time at home. I will go for more walks…especially in the woods with rambling little streams and brooks.

It takes great courage to make sustainable change in your life. I hope you will embrace the possibilities within you and allow your life to reflect this great potential.