The Year of Growth

Oh, the difference that one year makes.

Around this time one year ago, being in nature became my true sanctuary–being as in: hikes and walks outside were basically the only thing we were able to do outside of the perimeters of our own home. The Coronavirus changed the course of nearly everything, my lifestyle and view of the world included.

If you were to show me a glimpse of the current me, the mindset and dreams I have, to who I was in April 2020... I probably wouldn't have believed it. At the time, I was battling internal struggles I didn’t even know I was facing until I grew through them, and was out. The indescribable break the pandemic forced us all to take was what allowed me so much time and space to heal from years and years of prior damage and conditioning.

For that, I’m eternally grateful.

And the thing is, so much of what has changed and evolved about me is within, unseen by anyone but myself and the few closest people to me; that intimacy is what I really cherish. But I think, most deeply, my mind and heart have evolved the greatest.

Getting outside in nature after those days upon days of sitting in the house with no social interaction became my biggest excitement; something that I never really had space for myself to treasure before then. And now, a year and countless hikes and adventures through the wilderness later, nature is still my sanctuary. It likely will be for the rest of my life.

In finding a connection to the Earth–walking barefoot through the mud and grass, sitting under waterfalls and in streams while tuning into the environment around me–I found a deep connection to myself, too. Profound growth has been the theme of my life this past year, and likely has been for many of us.

Isn’t that just utterly beautiful?

Think of propagating houseplants.

You cut off a few leaves from your favorite plant and plop them in water. You’re taking them out of their “normal” environment and expecting them to grow in a totally new and foriegn one. One they’ve never experienced before. Isolated.

But then, after some time and lots of love and care, they grow roots. They adapt and settle in. And then they grow.

That initial adaptation period right after you plop them in the water is the most drawn out. You sit and wonder why it’s taking so long, right? But then, as soon as the first bits of roots reveal themselves, the growth speeds up immensely. And before you know it, they grow into a whole new plant. It’s really magical, isn’t it?

I think that the pandemic forced me to take that same path. But now, here I am. I adapted and I grew more than any other period of my life. COVID-19 has brought so much loss and so much fear. We must not overlook that; it’s important to acknowledge it.

But we should also acknowledge the magic that came from it; this unexplored territory that we all collectively we’re thrown into together.

Look back on who you were at the start of covid and be proud of where you are now. Even if you didn’t make profound steps forward, getting through those crazy times (the crazy times we are still navigating now–wear a mask, please!) is, in and of itself, something to celebrate and be proud of.

This still holds true, now more than ever; so much light and magic comes from even the darkest of times.