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Learning to Pivot, Again

I had a draft of this blog post prepared days ago. In it, I mentioned seeing a Friends themed picture frame for sale with the words “Pivot, Pivot, Pivot” (photo attached) and I went on to say how accurately it captured 2020. I drew parallels with how we all pivoted this year - employees working from home; parents, kids, grandparents navigating Zoom, Google Meet, and other platforms to learn, work and keep in touch; business owners pivoting to keep their businesses afloat; front-line workers going the extra mile to keep their families safe while they continued to help their communities. I mentioned the importance of mental health considerations, saying that I felt that we were so Covid-fatigued by now that not taking into account the impact on mental health would be disastrous. I ended with a call to find new ways to pivot as much of the world faces a second wave of Covid-19. I even referenced the Pivot scene in Friends - quite cheekily, in my opinion - where I stated that if we didn’t continue to pivot, we’d end up like Ross, with an unusable prize (a couch cut in half) and a $4 store credit.

The problem though, is that I reworked the blog post over and over. It’s how I write…I write my thoughts down as they come to me and then I go back and tighten up the arguments, reinforce the facts until I have a nicely-woven logically-sequenced bundle of info. I reworked it so much that I let my own Covid fatigue permeate the whole piece. I wrote about missing the opportunities to teach yoga, to showcase my jewelry at fairs and markets and to connect with people outside my immediate family. I spoke of missing my loved ones who are out of town and feeling completely depleted, sad and powerless as the number of new Covid cases kept increasing in our hot spot in Ottawa. By the time I printed the draft of my blog post last night and asked my husband to read it, it was essentially a rant with a rather weak rallying cry at the end to continue to be kind, patient and hopeful. My husband agreed that it wouldn’t do. There was nothing uplifting or remotely “yoga” about it. So, here I am, back to the drawing board today.

I could have pivoted myself right into a completely different topic (see what I did there?! Ha!) but, evidently, I’m too stubborn for that. Instead, I’m going to take another kick at the can. Covid-19 is a global pandemic and for the most part, we managed to flatten the curve the first time around. Now, we’re at the second wave. It’s time to hunker down again. People around the world are in the same situation. England just went into a modified lockdown again. Countries are heeding the advice of medical experts and trying to contain the virus while front-line workers continue to fight for us and researchers work on a vaccine. Is it perfect? No. Does it suck? Um. Yeah. Is it possible to get through it? Unequivocally, yes.

One of the reasons my first draft of this post wasn’t so positive is that I recounted wanting to pull over and yell at a large group of people who were trick or treating in my neighbourhood despite Public Health’s recommendations not to do so. I’m not a rage-filled person. I’m usually pretty mellow - a live and let live person. At that moment though, I heaped all the blame onto that little group. Although not rational, they were responsible for lost wages, threats to my family’s health and my inability to travel and see my Mom and Dad out east this year. That made my head spin.

I had to breathe and remind myself that I cannot control the actions of others. Did I think that yelling at them would be the one factor that would make them realize that they should follow Public Health’s recommendations and send them scurrying back home? Not really. The truth of it is that no one can make others listen if they don’t want to. Change will only come when the cost of staying the same is too great. In this case, these people believed that the risk of getting or passing on Covid-19 was less than the enjoyment of their kids trick or treating. So be it. All I could control in that moment was what I would say to my daughter who was sitting in the passenger’s seat of my car.

I firmly believe we all carry and exude energy. We can also often sense someone else’s energy without consciously trying. Think back to meeting someone you like for the first time. Quite possibly, you were able to tell you’d get along with them even before an introduction was made. In the same vein, there might be someone you know who just rubs you the wrong way despite your best efforts to be kind, patient or compassionate. We can sense kindred spirits and those whose energy clashes with ours. Energy is also quite contagious. I know my energy shifted when I spied those pedestrians on Halloween and I know my sensitive daughter felt it because she shut me down with a rapid comment about letting others do as they will. Smart kid.

Focussing on what we can control is a practice. It’s not something that comes naturally or that we’re usually taught but something we come to realize later in adulthood. It’s much simpler to point the finger at others, to blame and to be outraged by their behaviour. Does that help? We may think it makes us feel better to give in to anger but ultimately, all it does is poison our own energy. That negative energy then seeps into the energy of those around us. I would venture that few of us consciously want to infect those we love with negativity.

When I was doing my Yoga Teacher Training, I was asked to choose a quote from The Yoga Sutras and keep it nearby to reflect on what it meant and how it could be applied. The one I selected said “Unwholesome thoughts can be neutralized by cultivating wholesome ones”. It’s the basis of balancing one’s Karma - to put out positive energy into the Universe in order to balance out our own negative energy (which is unavoidable). I taped it to the dash of my car and it stayed there for three years. It was my reminder that having negative responses to outside stimuli does not make one a bad person and that practicing gratitude could balance the karmic energy. Over the years, I tried to avoid labeling external stimuli as positive or negative and rather to consider it all as an opportunity for growth. I chose to focus on what part I could play and how I could inject positive energy into the equation.

Some people refer to it as Karma, others as the Law of Attraction. Whatever you choose to call it, the concept is the same, if you send positivity out into the world around you, you will attract the same. You will be healthier and so will your entourage. It is a cycle and guess what? Right now, it is needed more than ever.

So, the next time I’m tempted to holler at someone walking down the road, I’ll try to remember to pause, inhale and find a way to nurture my own and someone else’s energy. And that, my friends, is how to pivot!

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