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What I’ve Learned This Past Year

What I’ve Learned This Past Year

My dear friends,

I’ve been reflecting lately, even more than usual,  as we reach this very poignant moment in time: one year of this pandemic.

I often like to check my social media “memories” on a daily basis, as I’m just someone who likes to relive old memories and see the change and growth on social media over time. My memories are now showing me the last few days leading up to the days when the world changed completely. And although I am fully cognizant and present to this year anniversary, it’s still so jarring to mark this enormous passage of time, and all that has transpired since March of 2020.

Quite simply, we have been through so much!  I actually don’t have words to write that can encapsulate the magnitude of it all, because although this past year has been a collectively traumatic experience, we all have different, individualistic narratives that have unfolded over this year.

So I was moved this week to share some of my insights and lessons learned from this year, because I feel that there is so much that I have gained.  As a caveat to all this, while I will be sharing my lessons and silver linings, it is not my intention to glamorize or brush past the incredible trauma of what did happen, and is still happening.  I also want to remind us all that if you’re reading this, and feel that the only thing you could do for a whole year of a pandemic is survive, that is enough, and this is absolutely something to be celebrated.

This blog is a place where I share my life experiences with you and what I have learned walking this path, with the desire to let you know you’re not alone and maybe my experience will be just what you needed to hear for your life’s journey. So today, as I share, I truly wish to honor this moment in time. If you find solace, solidarity, or even insights from it; I’m honored, but please care for yourself and know that if none of this resonates with you at this time, that’s completely valid, too.

Setting boundaries and practicing aligned self-care are important daily tasks. If the pandemic showed us anything, it’s that we must take how we care for ourselves, incredibly seriously. Our health, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, is a precious resource, and we must act accordingly.

Rather than being overwhelmed about what the future looks like, focus on what you can do today to further create the life and future you want to live in. I think of Martin Luther King Jr.’s quote often in this lesson, “Take the first step in faith. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step.”

There is great happiness and joy to be found in simplicity. This is the year where so much was stripped away from us. While it’s important to mourn the loss of what was, it’s also helpful to use this as a clean slate, to notice what really matters to you, to uncover hidden values buried in the business of our old lives. I have found that I require so much less than I thought, and that has given me so much.

Living in, and holding onto judgement of others will never benefit you and your life’s progression. This past year was the year of judgment. I think we all can admit that when we saw people behaving or acting a certain way over the course of this pandemic we felt filled with anger, rage, and judgment. While I do think it’s important to know where you stand and have boundaries in alignment with your values, that firm grasp of judgment of others just does not serve us, and our own happiness. I let my judgements of others rob me of happy moments. Rather than sitting in judgment, think about an action you can take that feels supportive and progressive.

Challenging times can make us stronger. I recently realized that I’ve become really fearful of pain and grief and trauma. I know that this is because of the fear and grief and trauma that has already happened in my life. But whenever I notice this in myself, the avoidance and the anxiety about what could happen, I remember that in every challenge and difficult moment, I was tested, but I was also gifted. Each hardship has made me stronger, more resilient, more capable, and filled with new perspective and wisdom. I’ll always be grateful for those gifts.

Cultivating gratitude for small joys, can be fuel through hard times. This year has taught me that I can feel deep, deep gratitude for the things that I often would take for granted. Even though there is so much to mourn and to grieve, I found that gratitude for what remains provides fortitude to persevere. As trite and silly as it seems, I am so grateful for my daily coffee, my weighted blanket, my snuggly cat, reruns of old sitcoms, and my family.

You really don’t need to compare yourself to others ever, but especially during a pandemic. I’ve often talked about the need to release my comparative nature, but this year proved this to be true. We are all processing and moving through life with our own unique perspectives and paths. It’s important to remember this when we find ourselves feeling better than or less than someone else.

It’s necessary to take breaks when needed. For so long, we’ve been expected to be resilient to a degree of exhaustion. That we must always keep pushing and moving forward. We’ve learned this year that we cannot be this way, and honor our health and well-being. Taking breaks and creating space for rest are nurturing, necessary parts of life. We are so much more than our productivity and our success. Honor the rest and relaxation as much as you honor everything else.

Stillness can provide the much needed answers to so many of life’s questions. When we are left to sit, alone, in silence, amongst chaos and difficulty, we have the space for clarity and truth to rise to the surface. As someone who used to shudder when faced with isolation and silence, for fear of what would come up, I now embrace and carve time out for those moments, in order to bring forth these truths.

The connection and relationship you have with yourself is the most important one you can cultivate. How you relate to yourself, care for yourself, treat yourself, and honor yourself sets the tone for the rest of your life. In this period of great upheaval, often times we were only left with ourselves, and our thoughts. We are the ones we spend our lives with, there is no greater task than to make becoming your own best friend your ultimate priority.

Sending you all so much love this week and always,

xoxo Michelle

logo2Michelle Maros is Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life's Creative Director and resident writer. She has a degree in Journalism from Indiana University and is also a certified holistic health coach through the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and registered yoga teacher with trainings with Anuttara Yoga Shala and Strala Yoga. Michelle has a deep desire to help people find happiness in all areas of their lives, and truly believes the Peaceful Mind Peaceful Life movement will bring lasting change to the world. Michelle splits her time between Florida and New York City and loves connecting with people from all over the world. If you'd like to contact her, she can be reached at 
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