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5 Things to Celebrate in This Year of Pandemic

“We as a collective have been so incredibly resilient through this time,” said Dr. Henry Emmons. As an integrative psychiatrist, noted author, and resilience expert, he knows what resilience looks like better than most anyone.

At our recent virtual event, Oasis 2020: Hope and Possibility, Dr. Emmons shared five bright spots, or things to celebrate, amid the difficult past year.

As the COVID-19 vaccine becomes more widely available and hope is on the horizon, these are worth holding onto while we consider what we’ve learned and which parts of our “new normal” we want to carry forward:

  1. We have adapted remarkably well. Our world has shifted dramatically over the past 10 months—and we’ve significantly changed the ways we work, live, learn, and communicate. “Granted, it’s not been easy and, you know, we haven’t always felt good about it, but just being able to do that speaks to how incredibly adaptable we are and how we’ve been able to hold things together as best we can,” said Emmons.
  2. We have grown through our losses. With losses of the magnitude we’ve all experienced, there are growth opportunities—and we’ve embraced them. “I think people have come to appreciate one another and some of the things we used to do that we took for granted…in a deeper way,” said Emmons. “This kind of experience, especially with the pain and the grief and the loss…it has a way of opening us more deeply to whatever we experience in life, and that can be a really beautiful thing and a means for growth.”
  3. We have cared for each other in new ways. Some people and groups have been hit harder than others by COVID-19. Knowing that has called on us to reach out and be helpful to one other however we can—to give of ourselves and our resources, to “be a bigger version of ourselves, and that can be a really good thing,” said Emmons.
  4. We have been able to practice acceptance. As hard as it is to accept a reality we haven’t chosen and might not want, “there’s some magic in being able to be really accepting of what is happening,” said Emmons. That doesn’t mean we don’t work to change our circumstances or don’t respond to them, but rather, that we see things clearly as they actually are. “To be able to see and accept what is happening gives us a lot of power, a lot of strength,” he said.
  5. We have discovered there is joy in simplicity. Most experts agree that the pandemic has changed our world permanently and, in some ways, for the better. One way that many people have responded to this extended season of quarantine is by spending more time outdoors and connecting more deeply with nature—which has been a good thing. And for some, COVID-19 awakened a desire to simplify our lives. “There can be a lot of joy and grace in having a more simple life—not making it quite so complicated or difficult,” said Emmons.

Watch our virtual program to hear Emmons’ full presentation and to hear from other experts, speakers, and musicians while honoring the layers of loss we’ve experienced amid the pandemic.

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