While I was visiting a temple in India at the beginning of this year, an old man was saying to me that it was better to wear a mouth mask. He was the first person I had met that was telling me that COVID-19 was spreading all over the world. In that time I wasn’t worried and thought it was just fear of people. I kept traveling and started my yoga teacher training in an ashram. I didn’t have a clue what happened outside the ashram. I was only focused on learning to become a yoga teacher. Internet was really limited, so I also didn’t know what happened all around the world. One of the other students showed me a photo of empty supermarkets in Europe. I didn’t take that seriously. I thought it would be just over in a few months.
When I finished my training it felt like a new start. I had learned many valuable lessons and survived a challenge. It was one of the most beautiful experiences in my life. Difficult and challenging of course, but life changing. The change from a peaceful place in the middle of nowhere to a big and crowded city was huge. I spent some time in Delhi before I had to leave India and bought a mouth mask for the way back to the Netherlands. I planned a week to get used to the life in the Netherlands again and I knew it would never be the same. After that week offices started to close as the COVID-19 pandemic had also reached the Netherlands. Toiletpaper was difficult to get and even other things were sold out in the supermarkets. The government advised people to stay at home as much as possible.
For me, with the experience of living in an ashram, home was like heaven. Comfortable and cosy. I had everything that I needed. With all the wisdom I had learned I also could handle the situation in a positive way. Accept the situation, follow the rules and make the best of it. Where I normally always felt resistance, I didn’t experience that anymore. Of course, I was sad because of so many people who got infected. It was not nice to go out anymore and to keep distance from the people I love. After a few months the situation went better. But many people were not following the rules and it started again. We are already in this situation for a long time, but I don’t see this year as wasted. A lot of life lessons have been learned this year. I have spent my time in a useful way to improve myself and to learn new things. This is a never ending story, but it is good there was less distraction and more focus.
New and better start
Like I could easily follow the strict rules of the ashram, I also could easily follow the rules of the government. Freedom is one of my core values, but I knew following the rules is a way to save people’s lives. That is more important than my own things that I would like to do. This is something we need to do together. Like making this world a better place to live for ourselves, animals and plants, we need to do this together. This pandemic is a strange situation, which we have never experienced. But it also forces us to think about the way we live and how we treat the earth and other living creatures. May this pandemic make us more aware so that we don’t go back to our old lives and habits again. We always have to give up something or go through a difficult period before we can change and improve. Use this time for a new and better start. To improve yourself and to make the world around you more beautiful. We can do this. We can be the change.