The festivals were filling ourselves with lots of good and loving vibes. Our experience as presenters ended with the International Yoga Festival and we were already planning and talking about next year.
However, something was about to happen, from the rest of the world we were hearing news about this new virus, COVID-19, which was spreading fast especially in our home country, Italy.
There was a lot of fear all around and we felt so far away, but at the same time extremely close to our family and friends.
It seemed so unreal listening to our relatives experiencing the lockdown, being stuck in their apartments for weeks. Lifting their spirit was not easy, and I was starting to feel guilty for being so far away from them, here, in New Zealand, where life hadn’t changed much yet.
Nevertheless, I was very grateful to have Dinny next to me because we understood each other and worked together to not judge our decisions and feel remorseful.
Slowly but surely the situation got worse and the government was talking about going into lockdown to prevent the virus from reaching and spreading in the Island of the long white cloud, Aotearoa.
During this period I was also working as the Volunteer Coordinator in Kawai Purapura and everyday was a constant challenge to understand how to make this whole situation as smooth as possible for everyone in the community.
Having this role made me realise how much fear can cloud the mind and not let us think clearly. Decisions were made too fast and without analysing the whole situation, which then created even more tensions.
It was very demanding to remain centred and calm while most of the volunteers were feeling lost, scared and worried for themselves and their family.
It was interesting to see how people were reacting and dealing with this sudden change in our life.
It was the perfect example of one of the “Yama” principles in Yoga, "Aparigraha" (no attachment); life can be so unpredictable and the key to keep ourselves balanced even under pressure is to learn to be flexible and open to changes.
However, it is not something you put into practice from one day to another, if you haven’t practiced this before. It takes time and perseverance to build this principle and let it be part of your life.
From my personal experience, this whole year travelling has helped me to strengthen this ethical principle; as soon as I was feeling overwhelmed by this situation I knew what I needed to do.
Practicing mindful breathing and walking in nature allowed me and my mind to come up with the best solutions for myself and others.
My intuition was telling me to leave that position while my ego was stubborn in telling me to stay and keep on trying to make a change.
Heart and mind don’t always go in the same direction and it can be hard to understand which one is giving you a message. So I spent quite some time sitting under the beautiful gigantic tree in our community, called the “Tree of peace”, asking Mother Earth to guide me, to show me how I could still support people while taking care of my mental and physical health at the same time.
The decision was made, I had to quit, to step back from that role and take time for myself to recharge and so I did.
A big tension that I was holding in my Manipura Chakra, my Solar Plexus, was now melting away leaving me with a sensation of calm and joy.
There was not even one judgemental thought towards myself for stepping away, indeed I felt I did exactly what I wanted to do. I was happy and proud of the decision I made.
There was only one thing that was worrying me, one of the rules of the 'bubble' you could spend this period with, but no gathering with people outside your 'bubble' were allowed.
Dinny was asked to move to a different kitchen than mine, which meant we couldn’t see each other in the only communal space we had together.
I started to feel lost, what about our 4:20 gathering where we were colouring together and unwinding from the day we had.
My mind didn’t want to accept the fact I could not see her for more than 4 weeks even if we were living in the same community.
I was sad and angry but I was not fighting those emotions. I knew that the only way to accept and release those feelings was to put them on a piece of paper, to give them a meaning instead of leaving them invisible and abstract in my mind.
So the day before the lockdown started, I decided to do one of our Art Yoga sessions by myself.
I made a drawing with the intention to find a way to still support and see each other during this challenging period.
LOVE AND LIGHT