The Gifts of 2020

I vividly recall a dinner out with my leadership group in early 2020. We sat a large table in a dimly lit restaurant discussing the direction of our project. As the dialogue morphed into our personal lives my friend asked our thoughts about the coronavirus. We took turns sharing what we had heard and taking wild guesses about what might happen moving forward. Parts of the northwest were starting to shut down yet we were still naive and hopeful that we would be able to continue living our lives. Little did we know that would turn out to be our last in-person meeting.

A couple of weeks later the world shut down entirely. The only time we went anywhere was to get groceries, which in a lot of ways felt terrifying. Not knowing much about the transmission of the virus and if my family and I would be safe, I found myself disinfecting each item carefully in the garage before entering the house.

Everything that was a part of my everyday routine suddenly disappeared and with it came a massive feeling of uncertainty – would things ever be the same?

The year progressed and the world slowly and carefully started to open up again. Being in a small mountain town showed to be quite advantageous in being able to get outside or meetup with people in the fresh air. Even though things were improving, the dark cloud of uncertainty continued to loom. Political strife ramped up and massive fires broke out throughout the state – as well as most of the west. 

More uncertainty also showed up as school started for my kids. We knew that at any moment it could be shut down and moved to an online format. I felt torn on whether to even work or not, knowing I wanted to be available for whatever came my way. Reluctantly I reduced my work schedule and really put as much effort into keeping things calm and organized at home.

Vulnerability -as defined by Brené Brown- is “uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure.” We all experienced collective vulnerability in 2020, some of us more than others. One of my key learnings from 2020 is that I have much less control over the circumstances of my life than I’d like to believe. I like to convince myself that I am in control but things can change drastically in an instant. What we are all ultimately faced with is trying to let go of our need for certainty while cultivating more faith and intuition.

For me, faith looked like having faith in myself. Having faith that I can change how I am showing up in uncertain situations. To work on being more adaptive, flexible and resilient in the face of change. And to trust my intuition around what I know to be best for myself and my family. It is trying to go with the flow of the river rather than making a futile attempt to paddle upstream.

This is a practice, one I know is far from over. But what I do know about 2020 is that I learned to show up (more often than not) more aligned with my values and my best self. And that is something I am extremely proud of.

If this is a practice you’d like to cultivate or continue working on, I invite you to attend our event this month – Daring Women and Water. Tickets are on sale here and we will be discussing faith and intuition as we navigate the Colorado River.