So much for my first post in January 2020, but here we are, it’s the middle of September and we are in the midst of a global pandemic. I don’t think any of us anticipated we would be here, ever. I know that I would never have believed I would experience a pandemic, let alone having to quarantine.
I know when we first shut down, I kept envisioning scenes from the Walking Dead in my mind. I do remember my son asking what would happen if people started turning into zombies, I just looked at him and I told him to grab his sister and run!
Low and behold, we have not had to face any zombies, thank goodness. However, we have had to face many new circumstances, emotions and challenges than we had before. A lot of people I have spoken with have shared that it has been a time for really investing in themselves and focusing on their own personal growth and development. Some of this has meant changes in their inter-personal relationships, whether it has been ending relationship or learning about boundaries and setting them, engaging in new courses and education or loosing their jobs and finding new purpose; and for others, it has been about developing their relationship with themselves.
It seems that it has definitely forced some of us to pause and reflect. It has forced us to be alone with ourselves, sometimes that means facing the parts of us that we had found to be quite ugly or unhappy or really looking deep to uncover the pieces that we had forgotten to love about ourselves.
I know prior to the pandemic, there were parts of life that just flew by, untouched or unrecognizable in a sense, because there was a lack of time, desire or effort to acknowledge them. There was space to go through the motions of living, but not enough space in life to invest in the truly meaningful and hard work, excuses were easily found to skip past what really needed to be healed, talked about or dealt with.
For some, life seems to have just continued, still working, still moving, still seemingly progressing through life, whereas others, life has flipped upside down. Wherever you are on the spectrum of living, it’s okay. I think that too often we get stuck in comparison and the wanting, rather than focusing on the abundance of opportunities and achievements already in our grasp; and, by simply just being in each moment. We tend to dwell on the negative rather than accepting it as a temporary happening, forgetting to offer ourselves the same grace to which we constantly give out to others.
If anything, a lot of learning around patience, forgiveness, gratitude and acceptance has started to occur. Realizing that life is a process, an evolution and that we should never stop learning or working on our own personal development.
A lot of the reasoning behind my shift to providing private therapy was influenced by my own personal journey, setbacks and changes that were completely beyond my control. The beauty was learning to accept that and to repurpose the skillset that I have and to open up to the possibilities, rather than to allow any hardships or circumstances run my life, knowing that so much of it has led me to this very moment. Rather than disempowering me, it has opened up a world of unknowns, uncertainty, yet so much richness that I had never embodied before. Rather than allowing fear, shame and vulnerability to take over, I have learnt and am still learning to embrace every ounce of it.
I want to thank you for being here and welcome you into this space, which is meant to be a safe, welcoming, shame-free place to connect, to learn, to experience and to reflect upon.
My name is Garion Sparks-Austin. I am a mother of two children, 11 and 6. I identify as she/her, heterosexual, Korean-Canadian, survivor, a daughter, an adoptee and an ally.
Most importantly, I am proud to be able to call myself a Registered Social Worker and Psychotherapist and to offer my support to individual’s, couples and family’s.
Consider this to be an adventure for all of us, so I hope you enjoy the journey as much as I.
Until next time,