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News, perspectives, tools & trends.

Viral Disruption: Curse AND Blessing

My heart sank on Friday when I read an email from Past Tense Yoga announcing that the studio was closing – until further notice – on account of the #coronavirus. The studio was my sanctuary – the place I went for grounding and community. I was already in my yoga tights ready to move and breathe.

What was I going to do with myself?

First world problem, true enough – poor me, can’t get my #vinyasa on – while people are falling ill and dying all over the globe – others are losing their jobs – others are watching as their savings dwindle away in this volatile market.

We’re all compelled to react on a dime, right now, adapting in myriad ways to this invasive and unprecedented phenomenon. And the situation is changing moment to moment. Suddenly #socialdistancing is part of our regular vocabulary.

But on Friday, still in denial, I hiked up to Mt Pleasant Street to see for myself; and, sure enough, the managers and teachers were wiping down the windows of now overcome-by-events precautions for members entering and practicing in the space.The Past Tense team were disinfecting the place and regrouping.

I had to regroup too.

#Sanctuary, I repeated in my mind, walking the deserted streets of MtP in a daze, the sun blazing, my adrenaline pulsing and mind swirling over the reality of my crumbling retirement nest egg, Airbnb customers canceling, upcoming SeeChange workshops likely fizzling-out. Where do I go for sanctuary?

COVID-19 is a new, juicy, unfolding case for the change textbooks – an extreme example of an externally imposed change in which we have absolutely no control.

There are changes we do control – getting married (or divorced), moving, shifting jobs, my decision to join Peace Corps years back.

But we are not choosing this change – this change has chosen us.

News came just last night that the entire global cadre of current #PeaceCorps vols is being evacuated, their service abruptly cut; and they've had no choice in the matter.

In the case of externally imposed change, all we can choose is how we react.

“Things don’t change; we just change our way of looking.”  (Castaneda, Carlos. The Teachings of Don Juan: A Yaqui Way of Knowledge.)

Yes, this coronavirus is a curse – a major global disruption to markets and municipalities and families and livelihoods and lives.

But where and how can we discover the blessing? How do we mine this opportunity to learn and grow?

There are models of #changeagency popping up all around us. Here are some I’ve discovered over the last few days...

Back to Past Tense Yoga (, the studio owner, Kelly DiNardo,  didn’t simply close her doors; she got down to work on a #pivot plan. Over the weekend she gathered her resources and began filming classes to post online. I got another message from her on Monday, subject line ‘Practicing Together Through this Crisis.’ The studio was offering virtual classes to all members – and kicking things off with a free guided online meditation for all.

Apparently Kelly had been contemplating for some time how to leverage the internet to provide virtual offerings; COVID-19 was the impetus she needed to accelerate the process and deliver. Kudos to her as a business owner and community leader for her ability to find the silver lining.

On a more personal level,we are also challenged to adapt to and embrace the changes we're facing.

Michelle, a good friend, came to visit on Sunday, having graciously volunteered  to help ‘man’ my garage sale. (I’d advertised virtually – but there was no way to avoid the face-to-face required to move merch.) As we prepped and priced items, Michelle marveled, about a discovery she’d made in transit:  she could travel via Metro from Takoma Park to Columbia Heights without touching a thing!

Going through the turn-style, down the stairs, taking a seat on the train – rather than instinctively grasping for handrails and arms - Michelle used the trip as an opportunity to practice her balance and concentration. She had to watch her footing more carefully, be more aware of other people and her own body in space. “But it’s totally possible. And it was fun!” she exclaimed.

In yoga, we practice not simply to stand in a pose like a perfect statue, but how to adjust to #purturbation when it arises – the bobbling and swaying and possibility of falling that is part of life.

The pandemic gave Michele a chance to test herself off the mat – out in the real world – and she took it and will probably never travel by Metro the same way.

Questions for you...

  • In what ways is this Coronavirus testing you?

  • How are you adjusting and adapting – or resisting?

  • What blessings are you discovering?

  • Where do you go for sanctuary in this time of turbulence?

I find sanctuary in my writing. So this will be just the first in a series of posts over the next weeks and months contemplating the opportunities and challenges of this crazy change.

Plus, I’ll be logging into Kelly’s virtual yoga classes, downward dogging from the comfort of my living room.

Discover your pivot in this time of transition. Contact me for a complimentary coaching session.


Health and blessings, Anne



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