Oh, What a year pt. II

Part ii of the mini-series. When you reflect on this past year, did the pandemic win? Or were you able to adapt, adjust, and find new unexplored areas of experience?

Before I begin, the intent of this blog isn’t so I could dump all my ‘stuff’ online. The intent is to be more about shedding light in our darknesses and to bring hope and joy.

Enter interruption #2. FAMILY!

With that said, I do believe allowing people into my reflections over this year is valid as we all share in the human experience. If I can go into my own solitude and enter into my mess, and chaos, then that will allow others to do the same, thus creating spaces where people can be free to enter into their own story.

I learned the importance of family, staying together, adapting, and communicating.

Now! To continue on the year. If you read the first post of this series, the year started off with an amazing opportunity career-wise. Being able to work at Equinox was a personal trainer’s dream. Great management, great teammates, and top of the line fitness equipment.

Then… boom. #CORONA.

Enter interruption #2. FAMILY!

I say interruption because if we are honest, we don’t spend all day with our family. Before the pandemic, we worked, went out to bars and restaurants with friends, so it wasn’t like we were with our family for 24 hours all the time.

And that’s an interruption, right? Learning what everyone’s schedule is while we learn to work from home. Not getting in each other’s ways, but doing our best to curb cabin fever.

Forget work, forget all of the extracurricular activities, were you able to spend quality time with your family?

We, like everyone else, had to find a schedule, a routine, and sometimes… we were all over the place!

On the times I would be with my family, my Mom and I made it a point to spend some time together and exercise. Being a trainer, I would give her exercises and create a workout for her.

She would eventually create her own exercises LOL

But, as the summer progressed, lockdown was still in place, I spent the majority of my time in the East Bay with my girlfriend’s family.

We did our best to get some sunshine, whether it was a hike, or going to the beach, we had to do our best to curb cabin fever, cause… it got ugly sometimes.

One last thing- I always found it a miracle that Katia’s mom (pictured right) and I got along, almost right away. – When we first met. So the first three months of quarantine were chill- we played monopoly… a lot. I would either make simple foods, or order takeout for the family, but we spent a lot of the first three months really just, talking over coffee, playing board games, and occasionally I would take her through a full-body workout.

I do hope that, if you are reading this, you were able to spend time with your family. This year really allowed us to shift the way we do life with those closest to us. I do hope that with the interruption of the pandemic closing everything down, that we were all able to adjust, and adapt, and love and hug those we love. If we were not able to, then yes, the pandemic really did win. But to see the interruption as a blessing is to say I’ve gotten a little bit closer to my family because of it. Forget work, forget all of the extracurricular activities, were you able to spend quality time with your family?

My family watching Mulan together

The Blessing of Interruptions

How different would our lives be if we started to see the interruptions in our lives as a blessing? An opportunity to nose dive into life and there would we find deeper sources of vitality.

Now, I know that might sound like a strange title but hear me out–

We all succumb to the ever frustrating interruptions of our daily lives– kids, traffic, illness, weather, — you name it– and that usually sounds like adults who have grown old, and have become bitter.

But what about a global pandemic that literally shifted the way we do life.

This pandemic might be the biggest life-altering interruption we will ever face. Traffic, and bad weather impeding our travel plans seem minuscule in comparison to being locked down for an entire year.

What if the interruptions are actually blessings, and opportunities?

Allow me to submit this- What if the interruptions are our vocation? Vocation is another word for purpose, or mission. What if the interruptions are our work? What if the interruptions are actually blessings, and opportunities?

Henri Nouwen says it best –

“But what if our interruptions are in fact our opportunities, if they are challenges to an inner response by which growth takes place and through which we come to the fullness of being?”, “What if all the unexpected interruptions are in fact the invitations to give up old fashioned and outmoded styles of living and are opening up new unexplored areas of experience?”

And what, exactly, would we be moving into if we saw these interruptions as blessings?

If we have the courage to see the beauty and blessings of interruptions- our lives would move from fate to opportunities, hurts become warnings and boundaries, and stagnancy an invitation to search for deeper sources of life and vibrancy.

Seeing interruptions not just as fate, but opportunities, I can then experience life with a much deeper vibrancy

Maybe these interruptions- however frustrating they might be- are invitations and opportunities for us to loosen our grip on life, and our illusion that we were ever in control of it in the first place; that they are loosening our ties to the ground so our wings can spread freely wherever the wind carries us.

I, like you, am deeply saddened and frustrated at the vision I had for 2020 and the reality that was the pandemic. I take joy knowing that I have something to do about it- there is liberty in knowing I can respond.

When we start seeing interruptions not just as fate, but opportunities, we can then experience life with a much deeper vibrancy; to develop a new style, a new way of living only if we choose to view the interruptions (however big or small) as a blessing, and as an opportunity.