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Finding alignment on the anniversary of COVID

Finding alignment on the anniversary of COVID

Many folks seem out of alignment these days, and I’ve been thinking about why that may be. The uncertainty and unpredictability of the pandemic affected us deeply and highlighted the fragility of not only our day-to-day routines and comforts but of life in general.

One day we had a sense of security in almost everything and the next day, it was gone, never to return fully to pre-pandemic levels. 

Once things settled after COVID-19, society attempted to return to life as it had been before 2020, only to realize things didn’t feel the same. The monumental pause in life as we’d always known it came with consequences, both good and bad. It made us question things like the 9-to-5 work week and virtual learning. It helped progress online services related to banking, shopping and dining. But at the same time, it made us retract from other people and rely heavily on a world viewed through our computer and phone screens. 

Humans are social beings with brains more suited for cave dwelling than advanced tech, so it’s no wonder we stumbled around trying to figure out how to live an existence that made us socially distance ourselves from one another. With all these shifts happening simultaneously, of course we were bound to feel a bit discombobulated once we emerged on the other side. 

Even though we’re approaching four years since the start of the pandemic, it’s clear that an people are still trying to readjust, and with this comes deep self-reflection. Something about the pandemic prompted questions such as, “Is this who I really want to be?” and “Is this the job I want to keep doing for another 10 or 20 years?” or “Is this truly the town or city where I want to live?” and “Are my relationships building me up or tearing me down?” or “What unhealthy habits do I need to shed?”

Sometimes I wonder if this was the divine purpose for the pandemic, to rattle things just enough so we were forced to finally look inward instead of being so dependent on the outside world to guide, reward and protect us. For me, personally, I’ve done a lot of soul searching and inner work since the start of the pandemic and while some of it has felt messy and challenging, I feel wiser and more grateful for every aspect of my life. Certain things, like a walk outside or watching a movie with my kids or taking a road trip, seem more magical and intentional than they used to. 

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When considering whether you feel in alignment with your true self, here are some questions to consider. Do you feel frustrated and why? Are you feeling hyperactive or restless? If so, when do you feel most restless? Do you feel unhappy or empty? Do you require frequent changes to feel stimulated? Is it hard for you to relax? Do you have motivation to get out of bed each day? Are you questioning your abilities and knowledge? Does your work feel purposeful? Why or why not? Are you spending time with people that deplete or increase your energy? What are your deepest desires? 

Simply taking time to answer these questions will offer you tremendous insight into your inner world and your motivation for many aspects of your life. This exercise will also help you discover what small changes you can make to feel more aligned. 

I believe it’s completely okay to not be the same person you were before the pandemic. In fact, that means you’ve grown as a human being. I’ve felt out of alignment in my life numerous times, and I can vouch that assessing my own behavior, feelings and values is the absolute best way to figure out where I can make positive, impactful changes.

There are a few strategies for realignment that work for everyone. The first is to get outside more often because Mother Nature is never out of alignment. She knows when to change seasons, when flowers should bloom, when birds need to migrate, and on and on. Think about the consistency of moon phases and how their predictability month after month feels comforting. Simply appreciating changes in nature will help your body feel more relaxed and alive.

The second way is to give back from a place of love. Offering what you can to others, as long as it’s not taxing on your energy or finances, will offer a special type of satisfaction. Before responding to a person or a situation, ask yourself if you’re acting from a place of love, kindness and compassion and if the answer is “no,” reevaluate why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’ll begin to see patterns that will help you restructure life in a way that feels meaningful.

Thirdly, follow your curiosity. When you do this, you’ll learn more and more about a topic or issue or field of study, which will help you discover your true passions. We’re about to experience the fourth anniversary of the pandemic (notice I didn’t say “celebrate”), and as we do, I think it’s a perfect time to pat ourselves on the back for the growth we’ve made but also ask ourselves if we’re feeling out of alignment and if so, what areas of our lives need attention.

(Susanna Shetley is a writer, editor and digital media specialist with The Smoky Mountain News and Smoky Mountain Living magazine. This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..)

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