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  • Writer's pictureLaura Roeven

Return from COVID

We have all had our own COVID experience. Every person you meet upon the return to society has had their own fears, loss, and impact. Each of these vary for every person on the planet. Our experiences are as unique as a fingerprint yet also shared collectively by our world. It’s a double experience of our own community being touched by COVID as well as what we witnessed in our global community. We each experienced COVID, the lock down, and our year in our own ways in our own homes. This difference can be felt in conversation with someone down the block, on our work teams or in friendships. It’s important to understand that COVID was an individual experience, a community hardship, and a global trauma. That mix of experience is individual and highly personal. It’s not assumable to know what another’s experience was. It’s a time to slow down and connect upon our return. It’s a great time to begin with the question, “How was this last year for you?”

Adam Gopnik author of Dept. of Returns: Sitting with Strangers: New York comes back to its communal spaces The New Yorker June 14, 2021 said:“What we call culture is basically the act of sharing air with strangers. Restaurants, theaters, small stores and large ones, concert venues-all are reopening, and, like victims of a traumatic injury relearning the steps that once seemed second nature, we are remembering how to dance.”

How am I? How are you? How are we?

Talk openly about your experience and allow others to have different experiences. When it’s safe to share your experience and feel understood, we perform better. We want to collaborate with people who care, express concern, and listen. One way to listen is holding the intent to fully understand the other without judgement. There is an open heartedness in wanting to know how the other is and has been that can be healing to receive. This type of caring opens the hearts of both the teller and the receiver. The gift of caring can be simple and genuine. It is simply allowing the other’s experience to be their story that you are fully present to.

What normal are we returning to?

“While you'll feel compelled to charge forward it's often a gentle step back that will reveal to you where you and what you truly seek.” ― Rasheed Ogunlaru

How are you emerging with your experiences of recovery from a COVID year? Take the time you need for your return. If you are springing forth to blossom, charge ahead with your own blooming. If you need time to emerge petal by petal, grant yourself the grace to open.

Gopnik went on to say: “Other places feel weirdly reanimated. The “Twilight Zone” quality that many observed in Times Square at the height of the pandemic has shifted into something more like-well a “Twilight Zone” episode in which everyone, aside from one B-actor, forgets that a pandemic just killed tens of thousands of people and shut down the city for a year.”

Be gentle with yourself with the returns of your choosing. As we celebrate solstice, pick what is right for you.

And then pick again. And again. And again.

One at a time, we can emerge in our own ways.



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