2020 Taught us a lot

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As the year-end approaches, I cannot help but to reflect on this eventful and momentous year of 2020. It has been both a curse and a blessing for me. Different versions of existential questions keep coming up and demanding my attention. This “perfect storm” provided me a rare occasion to examine what it was that I was striving for, and the bigger question of why.

During these atypical times I have been making it a point to create some quality time to savor as well as to experiment with new ways of looking at the world, my work, how I do what I do and why.  I have realized that there are many new lessons to be learned, opportunities too good to be wasted, and some a-ha moments which I would most likely missed if it was just another “normal” year. Some are as follows:

  • While taking a hiatus in writing these articles because I was not sure what might be helpful, with everything changing, I have become more of a reader. Devouring both fiction and non-fiction books and have discovered that I have a penchant for procedural crime stories created by ex-professional investigative journalists. Their writing seems to focus on clarifying and connecting the many twists-and-turns of the story, everything is laid out meticulously, intricately; events which appear trivial may prove to be utterly vital to the whole investigation. Those who know my writing, I like to draw parallels. I was comparing how I approach my work vs how a detective approach “dead bodies”. Surely mine is less gruesome and traumatic, however I am beginning to wonder what we can all learn from investigative police work. My takeaway: Relentless. Diligent. Heightened sense of observation and intuition in order to “see” the less apparent but indispensable cause
  • Another key theme for me this year is self-care. I thought I was in tune with my body and understood how to avoid injuries, but how wrong I was! My exercise regime has always been robust and vigorous which consists of ballet, yoga, weight training and long walks. During the early days of lockdown where we were all confined within the four walls, yoga became the default choice. My wish to keep moving was so potent that led me to push myself off-my-edge, that resulted in a major muscle pull that took me “out of commission” for two months. That was painful, psychologically more so than physically. To heal and to compensate the loss of mobility, I gradually discerned my own rhythm and choreography where I slowed things a few notches down and pay attention. Then all of a sudden, it was as if each individual body parts are telling me when I was doing things correctly AND incorrectly, i.e. the signals which I was not able to hear when living in a noisy world and now became clearer. All of the sudden, my eyes and ears are open for those little voices, I find the feedback loop reassuring that in fact I am competent, capable and do know more than previously thought. From this I started to look for parallels or in my work-life. What new equilibrium in movement could be achieved?  How could I stretch and not exerting superfluous effort? My takeaway: Slow down. Pay attention to invisible cues. Change my thinking about exploring new ways to work trying to have fun with what I now call experiments: Integration vs isolation; effortless vs effortful. Work intelligently and intensely. Everything is a process, not an on/off button, but more like a dial. Ultimately, we can find our own true answer internally, if we listen

I do not know about you, but this year has been both long and short at the same time!  A lot has occurred while time seems to be at a stand-still (which is not true I know, just look at the lightning speed of the arrival of the Covid vaccine, what an achievement for humankind!)

If nothing else, I think we have all learned the importance of being resilient and constantly looking at creative ways to bounce back, which I believe we will need even more often going forward.

What are your stories? Any learnings or fun things to share?