In my last three blog posts, I talked about how the pandemic affected my perspective in terms of my sense of community and connection, my work and career development, as well as my personal interests and passions. In this final post of the series, I will tie everything together and (hopefully!) find the "home in my heart" that came out of the last two years of self-exploration that resulted from the pandemic.
My Feelings toward My Family
Having been forcibly separated from both me and Chris's direct family made us realize how important they are to us. Family doesn't have to be the one you are born with. It can be anyone with whom you have a deep connection, a sense that they will love you and be there for you no matter what challenges you face in life. While we do have a handful of "ride or die" friends, our family has shown how much they love and support us time and time again over the decades. Moving forward, I will be doing more to nurture our relationships with our family, and prioritize quality time with them.
Participating in Local Community
Having lived in a big city over the past 19 years, I found myself becoming less and less of a participant in my local community beyond my personal interest groups (i.e. my dojo, work friends, social circles, etc). This came from having lived in apartments/stratas where this was the norm, or at least I thought it was. Over the past few years, a group of residents in the townhouse complex were we live took it upon themselves to become more actively engaged in the neighbourhood. They started organizing BBQs and gatherings at our community clubhouse, which allowed us to dip our toes into that world. Am I ever glad we did! It was that same community that banded together during the pandemic to provide comfort and support at a time when so many were isolated. Now I realize that it is so rewarding, and well worth the time and energy to nurture friendships that are literally close to home.
Spanning the Distance
While I have a handful of close friends in Vancouver, I came to realize that my oldest, dearest friends who have known my most of my life are vitally important ties to my past and future. They know me and my heart so deeply, and we have a deep bond knowing that we have been through so much and have stayed friends. The pandemic led me to reach out to a few of these friends more regularly, going for walks while chatting on the phone, or doing FaceTime when we need to see a friendly face. I realized that these friendships are deeply important bonds that I want to hold closer to my heart moving forward. I intend to continue to nurture them, and find more opportunities to see them in person whenever possible.
Having all the work I do to finance my life disappear all at once and stay gone for months is a humbling experience. It wasn't the first time it has happened to me, and who knows if it will be the last. There is a gift in this experience though; the gift of contemplating my career in its current state, as well as its trajectory.
After all my soul-searching, I realized that at the end of the day, what I want most is to be able to be of service to the world in a way that is specific to my unique passions, interests, and skills. One of the things I did during the pandemic was figure out my work "sparketype", meaning the type of work that lights me up and allows me to get into flow more easily. This doesn't have to be tied to any particular form of work, it is more the way we interact with the work itself. Take the Sparketype test to see what your type.. In my case, I found my primary sparketype to be that of "Advisor" and my shadow type to be "Sage."
The Advisor "gets pumped by mentoring others and helping them grow. They are adept at creating a sense of intimacy and trust." The Sage "loves to awaken insights in other people and groups. They don't learn for learning's sake, but in order to share what they learn with others. Read more about the 10 Sparketypes.. When I read the descriptions of my two sparketypes, I realized they had my number.
No matter what field I've worked in and what type of work I've done, whether it has been teaching, marketing, writing, or performing in film, I've always felt most in flow, most in touch with myself and what I was put on this earth to do, when I have been sharing knowledge in some way. The way that I like doing this most is by empowering others to do great things with the things they learn, rather than simply telling them what to do. If I help someone by teaching them a skill of some sort, I don't just necessarily want it to be something that gets the job done in the moment. I want it to also be something that helps reveal something about themselves that make the feel stronger and more confident in some way moving forward. I know that's not always going to happen in every work relationship in a every context, but at least I know to look for these opportunities so that no matter what kind of work I do, I can find that extra bit of satisfaction that I get from leaning into my sparketype.
A Return to Nature
When it comes to my hobbies, interests and passions, prioritizing activities that build on our connection and community was something we did already pre-pandemic. Spending time outside is no longer a mere hobby, but a lifestyle and an important part of my spirituality. As such, my interest in protecting the environment both locally and globally has become an even greater priority for me.
In my mind, it would be a great travesty if we just went back to all the old ways of doing things, of ignoring the reality of climate change and it's far-reaching impact. Why schedule in-person meetings and events when they can just as easily be done online? Or if we're going to do an activity that's in-person, why not try to find the best local option? I understand that there are some things you can only do in certain places, but perhaps it is time that we all try to live, work, eat and recreate more locally to lesson our travel footprint and live more sustainably. We can also start making more sustainable, environmentally conscious choices in how we live our lives. The more we choose with how we spend, the more businesses will do what they can to cater to those interests. I know everyone has a different financial reality, affecting how they are able to do this, but I believe that if everyone just starts where they are and does what they can, we will be heading in the right direction, hopefully before it's too late.
Coming Home to My Heart
The pandemic has been a humbling experience for us all, for some more than others. Some have taken to describing it as "The Great Re-Set," an opportunity for humanity to look at the path that has gotten us to where we are, and to make better choices for a healthier future for ourselves and the planet. This is a concept I am taking to heart, so to speak.
I want to grow from my time of pandemic-induced introspection. I want to show up in the world authentically, with compassion and kindness for all beings. I want to embrace changes that will help our world rewild itself, while living in a way that's more closely aligned with what matters most to me. I am ready for big changes. I'm ready to come home, to start living in the "home of my heart."
Now over to you. What insights have you gained about your life over the course of the pandemic? Are you going through "The Great Re-Set"? How will your life change as a result of what you went though? Please feel free to share your thoughts in the comments, as I would love to be inspired by your example. :)