No matter how the last few months have affected you, it’s like we all live in a new world now. As businesses begin to open, and coronavirus cases in Dallas begin to increase, we’re all left to determine how we will adapt to this new way of life.
As I’ve talked with friends, scrolled through social media, and read the news, it’s become clear that the absence of the people in our lives and the practices that were once routine have created important questions for many of us. Who are we if we aren’t able to spend time with the people and activities that help shape who we are?
My day-to-day hasn’t been too impacted by quarantine—I prefer quiet activities at home rather than large crowded public spaces. But I do identify with being an educator, whether that’s teaching students about the history of dance at the local college I work for, or teaching yoga to our community, I look forward to helping people learn.
Having to limit teaching to Zoom for my course instruction and a very impersonal live stream on Instagram for yoga has made me miss the joy I get from seeing something click for a student or the companionship our yoga community offers us. Sometimes this makes me feel like I’m less of an educator or not able to be my full self—but adapting to the situation allows me to see things differently.
Acknowledging What’s Missing
One part of adapting is to acknowledge what we miss most. Are you upset that your favorite restaurant is no longer seating guests? Do you miss the nightlife scene in Oak Lawn? Has your mental state been affected by missing workouts? Did the cancellation of Tomorrowland disappoint you? Are you missing sexual exploration?
Missing or longing for something can teach us about ourselves. Begin to analyze and deconstruct your activities. While you may have been enjoying them for one reason, there may be a deeper purpose serving you. Do the hard work and reflect on what satisfaction was brought to you. Not only can this information help us understand our needs, but it can help us make sense of our new reality and build new meaningful practices.
Re-imagining Our Situation
In absence of our favorite activities, some of us have taken up practices to replace pass time: watching more TV than usual, connecting with old friends, starting a new social media account like TikTok or OnlyFans. It's common to feel the need to constantly be doing something. Keeping busy can be helpful during stressful times. However, does this new activity fulfill you or satisfy the needs and wants that have been taken away from us? It’s easy to get lost in mindless activities. We do it all of the time. If you’ve found yourself trying something new, ask yourself: Is this activity satisfying a need from the activity I am missing? Is this activity a replacement for the activity I am missing? What need is this activity really fulfilling? Productivity is not the goal, but there is always an opportunity to learn and grow from what we do.
Adapting Our Lives and Perspectives
Finally, we adapt. Adapting can be a difficult process. For the foreseeable future, I will not be able to teach group classes. Knowing that community is an important part of my practice, I have been thinking of ways to create an online community during these times as a substitute for my group class. Many of us have likely used Zoom or Netflix Party to join an online workout or connect with friends.
But adapting also means a shift in perspective or rethinking what we thought we knew about ourselves. Maybe we don’t really need to go out to a bar every weekend to fulfill our need for community. Perhaps the gym is only one way to stay fit. Perhaps you are learning that you have sexual needs and interests that only you can satisfy. In the coming weeks, we will be exploring adaptation during a pandemic. Through newsletter, live streamed yoga classes on IG and Zoom socials, we can stay connected and continue to grow together—because this practice doesn’t end when we’re away from our mats.