The Debts I Owe Myself

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For about six weeks now we’ve been home, safe, in our cozy apartment- much to the resident cats delights (we think, anyway).
Having a well timed month long holiday in New Zealand with my boyfriend, mom and set dad to “ease” ourselves home and into pandemic mode. Our travels were really not effected and our transit home was moments before major restrictions and stressors hit air transit.
New Zealand, by the way, was absolutely great. We did everything. From private dinner cruises in the Bay of Islands complete with jumping off the boat and swimming in the ocean, riding up a mountain with my mom and cousin at sunset, and down by moonlight, checking in on seals, visiting old friends, hiking forests, coasts, and taking in all the sights, smells, foods, and local beverages we could find. It was a holiday, it was a reunion. I can’t say I feel done with those islands quite yet.
I’ve been lucky in the sense that while I did suffer from a bout of economic uncertainty, it’s evolved into more opportunity. Working in allied health where in person sessions became unadvisable. As we arrived home I faced the daunting tasks of cancelling with uncertainty of when rescheduling would happen about 3weeks of fully booked work. I face the reality of my income dropping to about 10% of its regular pace.
Even amidst this initial uncertainty- I felt an inner sense of calm- which at first was a bit unsettling. For one, I had just returned from a extended trip to places that almost a decade ago forced major growth. Between jet lag and that feeling of needing a vacation from your vacation- I felt settled into knowing I had a few more weeks to reorientate. And yet on the other time there was the pressure to react to a growing global pandemic that was sure to effect my immediate materialistic survival and business structure.
I knew I could move at least some work online, and remained optimistic that federal funding would come through to help support basic living and business expenses during the national emergency.
As I shook off jet lag and reorientation to the new “normal” I eased myself into online teaching and upping my virtual therapist game.
The weeks that followed that initiation into this new world have brought many interesting evolutions- both personally and professionally.
The strangest, to my logical ego brain, was how my body has changed and released. Between body composition shifting, many imbalances begin to show signs of resolution, and just simply feeling more like me again.. I noticed this first throughout our holiday and immediately in the weeks that followed being “stuck” at home. In reality- I felt FREE.
After the initial superficial stresses I had regarding my work life changing, I quickly sunk into a sensation of freedom and relief. The pressure of “regular” life had been taken off.
Over the past eight or so weeks I’ve had away from the previous normal I’ve had a chance to catch my breath and begin paying off debts I owed myself. Judgement free hours/days of no agenda. I don’t even think I’ve opened my literal master agenda since we arrived home from NZ. While I have been working it’s been at under 20% of my usual and even that feels like enough. Being confined to our apartment with our two cats, working from my living room floor and teaching/seeing clients through my computer screen (via our albeit sketchy internet connection) has never felt so right.
The energy behind this pandemic, to me, in my relatively privileged situation is as a collective pause. The pressurized perception I subconsciously seem to exist in, the social anxiety I didn’t realize I had until I contrasted it with my reality being condensed to staying home and the occasional walk around the neighborhood.. all paused. Lifted. Released.
In fact, the first time I’ve felt like I’ve stopped breathing and experiencing the moment in the past number of weeks has been today, when the province released guidelines giving businesses like me permission to begin reopening to in person clients. My body froze, resisted, and panicked.
“I’m not ready” it said. “You still owe me”.
While some might be extremely set off by that type of visceral response related to their professional reengagement.. I am choosing to acknowledge that I do indeed have the opportunity to continue honoring what my body and soul need while professionally existing.
The jolt of having to snap back into “normal” is an illusion created by the part of me that has been steered by social pressures and conditioned expectations for too long. While I’ve always been drawn to designing my own normal and life, this is the first time I’ve been doing so without the subconscious guide of social conditions or expectations… and turns out I really like the results of that.
Not only were both my businesses flourishing in new ways, I was. Does this mean aspects of how I operated before professional won’t still exist or return? No. But I think it means that they will exist with more truth to myself, and less obligation to what I once believed was “necessary” and “normal”.
I’ve been settling into the realization that I have enough, and I am enough. Many layers of I knew consciously before- but am now leaning into deeper realizations of. As a woman I am settling into moments of honoring what conditions my ancestors, the generations before me, abided by to simply survive and cope with their worlds- and what privileges I have to shake free of those conditions in my world. Simple things like freedom in movement, freedoms in my body, my sexuality, and my expression in the world. It’s hard to settle into these freedoms when up keeping the day to day workings of a modern young professional- and yet here has come daily opportunities to still thrive in material income and career while also having the energetic time to sink into myself and be well.
It’s always been easy for me to identify myself through my work and offerings to others. Taking that back and learning myself outside of my outwards professional life has been a process over the last years, and the opportunities in social distancing have only furthered that storyline.
In looking at the reflective side of times in history like this, where so many of us have had to press pause on “normal” and some even taking the chance to evaluate what their “normal” is- which parts they like, which parts they don’t.. Who are we to rush so eagerly back to “normal”? Potential illness risks aside, political agendas aside.. how much is there to still unravel in the moments we’ve been granted here. As individuals and as a collective.
Life will carry on, one way or another, I for one am diving deep into that evaluation of what stays and what goes. What serves and what does not. For myself, for my future selves, for what I offer in the world.
Wherever you are on your journey and in this moment, I hope you are finding moments of inner truth and contentment too.
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