When the first lockdown began in 2020 I worried about my practice. I had been practicing daily for a couple of years and felt I could cope with a few months of practicing by myself although I missed the guidance given in session. I didn’t have a large enough house or garden to practice the form at home and I didn’t enjoy the foundation exercises, so I was relieved when the government allowed outdoor exercising. As the summer came I looked forward to our being able to resume full sessions, but in the face of the growing number of infections, the government imposed restrictions once more.
For a while I was happily practicing but began to miss the physical guidance. I had started to listen to the international chanting and meetings over Zoom in addition to the session Zoom calls and committee meetings and started to pick up advice given there and take inspiration from my colleagues. As I added these ideas to my daily practice I started to pay more attention to my body and what it might be telling me. I found it to be an excellent teacher and that there is much to be learned from self practice.
The past year has been challenging in other ways. I was invited to take on the role of branch treasurer and had to learn about working as part of a team again, which I hadn’t done so much since retirement. With the guidance of the organization, I learned to handle complaints about the suspension of sessions without feeling defensive and the advice that being kind doesn’t necessarily mean being nice and vice versa was very helpful.
I find the Zoom calls are giving me a lot of social contact which is compensating for the absence of sessions. Indeed, I think I have more contact now than I did pre-COVID.
Last year a friend accused me of being the most grounded person he knew. I was quite surprised by this as I didn’t feel that myself but I think my experiences over the last year have helped me to become more grounded.