A few days ago, I flipped back through my journal to the entries I made this time last year. It was interesting to revisit what I was thinking about at the start of 2020, and particularly, the expectations that lay beneath.
By the beginning of March, all of our expectations were out the window. But I think we all hoped, and innocently thought, that the disruption of our daily lives by the pandemic wouldn't last long. A few months and we'd be back to "normal."
Closing in on a year later, we - I - couldn't have been more wrong. Normal is gone. Daily life is completely different. So much has changed. And we're still in it.
As a yoga teacher and long-time practitioner, I practice with and teach the concept of impermanence on a regular basis. It's at the heart of yoga, this idea of coming to accept that, in time, everything changes, everything ends, and something new begins. The practice of not clinging to - or rejecting - what is. The practice of acceptance. But it's an intellectual exercise until something comes along that forces us to really put it into practice - like a pandemic!
I think back to the many expectations I had for my life - hopes, dreams, plans. I worked hard to make many dreams come true. I implemented many plans quite well. But nothing, not one single thing I had imagined, was as I had expected it would be.
I expected that when I realized my material dreams, I would be happy. I wasn't!
I expected that my parents would live to a ripe old age, safe and happy in the home they raised us in, and die peacefully in their sleep. I never saw my mother's Alzheimer's or my dad's stroke coming.
When we worried about Dick's health, it was about his heart. His dad died of a heart attack in his early 60's, and Dick had a small one at the age of 49. He's had no heart issues since, but what we never expected was Parkinson's.
2020 may have brought you many changes that have been and remain extremely difficult. Or, it may have caused you to look at how you were living and make changes for the better. Either way, I guarantee your life over the past year was not a bit like what you expected. Mine either.
Once we emerge from the pandemic - which we will, because this too shall pass - I don't think anyone could blame us for wanting to feel "safe" again, even if safe is an illusion. We never know what will happen. So we have to find a way to incorporate our newly heightened awareness of impermanence into how we go about our daily lives, without it being limiting or debilitating.
2020 gave us a lesson in non-attachment and acceptance that we won't soon forget, and I don't think that's a bad thing. I know that I feel a much greater sense of what Pema Chodron calls, "the comings and goings of things." And I am deeply reminded not to take anything for granted.
When thinking about my "E" post, I kept thinking about elephants. In yoga, Ganesha, the elephant god, is the remover of obstacles and the bringer of abundance. So, here's a picture of cute baby elephants and one of Ganesha.