The seeds you sow now will blossom or bear fruit in the future, be that in weeks, months or years down the track.
So, may I ask you to invest in a few moments of self-reflection?
– What perspective have you been holding about yourself during the lockdowns?
– What have you been choosing for yourself amongst the chaos and crisis?
Last year, during the first wave of lockdowns in Australia, I suddenly had extra time on my hands; I initially did not know what to do with myself. As someone who does not watch TV, my unoccupied mind wandered. A dear friend suggested I try daily meditation, so I did. Before long, I began to receive ideas in those meditations. The most potent idea I received was that I was to share the story of my mental health transformation in a short personal memoir book.
To give you a brief overview of my mental health transformation, from 2013 to 2018, I experienced five mental health breakdowns, and I was hospitalised each time – from 4 days to 4 weeks.
As I wrote my story into a book, I was amazed at the parallels between the COVID restrictions we experienced and my stays in those Mental Health wards. The other patients and I were confined to a particular space; we couldn’t go out, we didn’t have a lot of choice of what we ate, we experienced shortages of supplies, and we were bored out of brains, as there was only so much colouring-in you can do.
While writing my book in 2020, I reflected on my time in the hospital and realised how, no matter how much your freedoms are reduced, you always have the freedom to choose your perspective. Even when the doctors told me that I would be homeless (due to my dire financial situation and mental health at the time), I still held my personal freedom when I defiantly told them, “No, I will not.”
And so, with the perspective of personal freedom, I created a business venture during my stay in the hospital. Not defined by my condition, label, situation or environment, I put my creative talents to work and created a prototype product and website that I usability tested on the kind nursing staff. Once I emerged from the Mental Health ward, I took those creations further and went to The Farmer’s Market at Australia’s iconic Bondi Beach (you can watch a video about that here).
That business venture I created in lockdown led me from being told I would be homeless to landing a creatively satisfying role with a six-figure salary in one of Australia’s largest banks less than three months later. Further, after $45K in debt in 2018, I bought my own home during the COVID pandemic in mid-2020.
Why did I share all of that with you?
I would love for you to feel that no matter your situation, you have the personal freedom to choose your perspective about what is going on for you. And, also, for you to know a real-life example of how our lives more extraordinary creative spirit is a divine orchestrator of something else for us beyond anything our rational human minds can plan. Plus, I would love for you to integrate a daily meditation practice into your routine.
In this time of chaos, challenge and limitation during COVID, I kindly ask you to reflect on this question:
How might you choose what is joyful for you?
Even if it picking up the phone to connect with a loved one, sending a care package to a colleague or walking the dog around the same block once more, there is still a delight to be had in being fully present with each of those experiences.
So, here’s to a brighter future post-COVID that is beyond what we can currently imagine.
Alana Mai Mitchell is a Results Coach and runs a Coaching & Facilitation Consultancy. She has worked with Managing Directors, Heads of and led virtual mindfulness sessions for 200 people. Her last COVID project was writing a personal memoir titled and her current COVID project is podcast, going live in mid-September 2021. Alana is also one of the most influential product owners at Australia’s second largest Bank, with a specialisation in home ownership and customer. She is open to your questions, reflections and comments.
Liberty IT is delighted that Alana Mai Mitchell was kind enough to share her inner wellness journey with us! Thank you, Alana