A year in.

What have we learned, what have we yet to learn and what fundamental changes have taken place a year into a global Pandemic?

The second week of March, marks what has become a transforming, revealing and overwhelming year. March 13th will remain the day life completely and irreversibly changed. It’s 22.24 on a quiet Saturday night and despite all we have gone through; I feel the trials of this year were not in vein. I almost can’t bring myself to reminisce of what was before. There is only what has become, and will come after. We are all forever transformed.

A necessary awakening has taken place. It started with uncertainty, panic, fear of the outside world, anger, more panic and then a slow realization, that this tragic year gave us a once in a lifetime opportunity to stop, listen, understand, create, let go of, build on, comprehend, and quantify our lives in ways never before available to us. We paused. We had to. I lost my shit once, badly. After talking to a dear friend in Athens, which was going through its first severe lockdown, I sat on the corner of my street on the edge of the curb and felt my chest collapsing. I came to the realization that if I’m going to be strong for others, I had to be strong for myself.

I threw all my creativity into cooking nourishing food, and yes I made a lot of bread. I spent the better part of March wondering how I could see my family without putting them at risk. I spent my birthday self isolating with my flatmate and a bottle of wine. We were catapulted into a growing social justice movement that up until march was not in the collective consciousness of every single person with a phone and an internet connection, and then… Breonna Taylor, then George Floyd. The voices of those who were and still are marginalized, went from a whisper to a deafening roar. The world didn’t have a choice any more but to shut up and listen.

Traveling to Greece was not an option, It felt like luxury to even try, and staying put turned out to be the wisest and safest solution. I managed to create a little kingdom out of a small sunlit bedroom. Brooklyn became my universe. Daily meditation, chanting, yoga, stretching, long walks, daily check in with my parents and my beloved friends, forced silence, and time for reflection.

There were countless blessings. A safe home, a beautiful multicultural and multi ethnic proud Brooklyn community, a park I could have taken for granted became my entire world. My solace, my microcosm, my place of laughter and joy, my space became the everyday walk to Prospect Park. Writing didn’t come easy. Images were imprinted for later. Mental and emotional balance was a daily effort, purpose, goal. Meditation became my rock. The Pandemic was a stopping point for certain patterns that no longer served a positive purpose, giving space to a starting point for self realization, motivation and fervent self care. Making a cup of coffee became a practice, a ritual, a starting point.

Movement, breathing, meditation and even chanting has become the cornerstone of my balance and sanity; it is now an integral part of who I am and how I navigate the world. The biggest blessing of this tumultuous year, was the beginning of my online teaching, sharing, breathing with friends, strangers, old friends, and new ones. On the morning of March 14th, I turned on my live feed and started sharing my yoga and movement practice, with no expectation or thought of how long it would go. Self care, mental health care, community care, global care became integral to this new world order.

I am grateful for my health and the health of those I love. I’m grateful for the community that so effortlessly built itself around those that needed it the most. I am grateful to this pandemic for forcing me to take the reigns of my own life. All our lives moving forward were not going to be the same. Nor should they be. If we have learned nothing else, it is to take absolutely nothing for granted.

On the eve of March 14th 2021, this was one for the books, let’s make it count this time round.

March 13, 2021

κουράγιο

Eleana Kouneli

A former dancer, current yoga teacher, writer, curious traveler and wild soul. My fuel and desire is to learn from others and spread healing and joy as I go. Follow my adventures and see where they lead you! All the stories are true, all the poems are real and all the writing is mine. Enjoy

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