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Like many of you, I was looking forward to all that 2020 would bring.

Like many of you, I heard about the Coronavirus in February and didn’t have any appreciation for what it meant.

Like many of you, the world I knew stopped in March.

And I tried not to panic. I’ll be okay. We will be okay. This will be okay. And, while I’m still sure it will be okay, I finally let myself fully feel it and the dip down the change curve began.

DENIAL – The first experience of change is generally associated with some type of ending.  We become aware and yet don’t quite accept or process that something is changing. In my case, a friend I respect a lot told me around the first of March to expect schools to shut down in three weeks. I had a really hard time believing him and told him that I wished for his prediction to be wrong (which, of course, it was not).

As everything began to shut down, my children began schooling at home, my healthcare clients went into crisis mode and we were told to social distance from everyone except our immediate family, the uncertainty compounded and I dipped down the change curve a bit more.

RESISTANCE – Given that I’ve done transformational change and consciousness work for years, one might think that it would be easier and softer for me to move down the change curve. I even tried to tell myself that.  And, yet down I went kicking and screaming with fear and resistance until boom, there I was. In transition. In a deep well of grief. And then angry.  And then sad. I was in paralysis not knowing what to do next.

And then I finally entered the valley of despair. I’ve been there before through the many changes in life and I know with a deep conviction that some of the most creative impulses are birthed in the valley of despair. And yet, there I was, not happy to be visiting again. I stayed for a while even though I didn’t want to be there. I explored all of the untapped emotions, bodily sensations and life assumptions that were sitting down there waiting for a visit.

It is a magical place to explore as a human if you’ll let yourself. Our culture doesn’t give us much time or space to be in places of transition, darkness and despair. Yet, it is there that magic can begin to unfold.

EXPLORATION – I started to get curious and move to a place of inquiry about what may be on the other side of this.   How might I support my clients and the world differently?  How might we make this homeschooling of two elementary kids, who were not happy to be schooling from home, work? How might my self-care take on a new form?

And so, I moved to experimentation.  I’ve applied for grants to serve community health clients. I’ve started a series of online experiments with colleagues, one of which explored grief and courage last week. I’ve asked for help in areas where I’ve not had to ask for help before. I’ve been more vulnerable. I’ve been more open. And, I feel the spark again.

COMMITMENT – Slowly but surely our family is adapting to this emerging way of living.  We’ve playfully named this new organization, “Darr Enterprises” with two subsidiaries, my business, InSight Coaching & Consulting and the kid’s business, Remote School, Inc. We are playing with acceptance and gratitude for all of the choices we do have. All of the new ways of being we have discovered.  We even welcome and accept the waves of grief and exhaustion that hit us all at different times.

I don’t know much right now, but one thing I do know is that being present with our experience and letting ourselves ride the curve down and stay for a little while is the way back.  The way back to courage. The way back to love. The way back to this new way of being in the world.  And again, I look forward to all that 2020 will bring.

Note: The change curve is adapted from the works of Elizabeth Kübler-Ross and William Bridges.