In the extra time at home that comes with COVID limitations, I found a six-session course on poetry that intrigued me. Knowing that my creative self can be a bit malnourished, I dove in. Session one: look around wherever you happen to be sitting and identify sights worthy of awe. As I was sitting in my kitchen, I added my French press coffee pot to my list.
In the exercise that followed, I ruminated about the elements that went into the coffee routine each morning. Water trapped over a flame has no choice but to be transformed. The boiling water trapped with coffee grounds transforms again into the essential start of my day. Given any other circumstance (a leaky kettle or leaky press), the transformation wouldn’t happen – the water would stay tepid, the coffee bean remains unchanged, and I’d be droopy all day.
My mind ran to other things trapped together and the resulting transformation, much like the effect on my life at home during a pandemic. My family life is forever changed by these months spent inside these walls — changes that would never have happened with the escapes and distractions of commuting, visiting friends, running errands, and traveling. There are closets whose contents would not be examined and organized; there is a deep self-awareness that would’ve been unrealized without the forced quiet around me and the unescapable container of my home.
It’s coming time to look at a new year and our hopes and resolve for what it will bring. As we look forward, I feel relieved at an exhausting year ending, and sad about the things that 2020 took from so many people I know. I am also reserving some attention to the positive things that emerged inside my forced container.
We all are hoping for our worlds to resume their customary shape. We’re looking forward to the same old distractions that kept us from facing some tough situations. As I look at what I might put on my resolution list, I’m thinking about my French press. How might I keep some of the containers that created some hard wins – beautiful transformations in my marriage, in my heart, and in the way I cope when the pressure gets intense? How can I use the growth from these tough situations to continue discovering my best self?
As you prepare for 2021, what growth can you acknowledge from this year? What has COVID pressure-transformed in you, your relationships, and your way of living that you want to carry into this next year? Also consider what you want to leave behind as the year ends? Most of all, as we enter another period of uncertainty around the pandemic, find gratitude for your triumphs – no matter how small – and enter 2021 with hope and reasonable expectations of yourself and your family.
This blog article was contributed by Margaret Vimont, Vice President of Strategy and Service Development for Nexus Family Healing.
Nexus Family Healing is a national nonprofit mental health organization that restores hope for thousands of children and families who come to us for outpatient/community mental health services, foster care and adoption, and residential treatment. For over 45 years, our network of agencies has used innovative, personalized approaches to heal trauma, break cycles of harm, and reshape futures. We believe every child is worth it — and every family matters. Learn more at nexusfamilyhealing.org.