Ahhhh, 2020. The year that put the most insane, terrifying roller coasters ever created to shame…and we’re only two-thirds of the way in! This is the year that showed all of us how naive we were to even think that we had any control over anything.

It was early into the Manila quarantine when I randomly came across this quote: “When everything is uncertain, anything is possible”. Even in the midst of all the turmoil I was feeling, a light went on in my head. What a brilliant thought! (I can’t find the author of this quote, so please comment if you know who it is). When I read it I realised that when things seem overwhelming, sometimes it’s about dropping our resistance to what is and learning to get comfortable, or as comfortable as we possibly can, with uncertainty.

So how did Ito and I manage that? When leaning into the discomfort-zone we found ourselves in, the first thing we discovered  was that loosening our grip on how we thought things should be was paramount. We just had to let that go. Surrendering our need for control allowed us to just experiment with whatever presented itself to us, no over-planning, over-intellectualising, or over-analysing–simply being and creating.

Even as we tried painting or photographing different things, we focused more on the process and didn’t worry too much about the outcome. The benefit of creating in this way was that it was very freeing and meditative, almost stream-of-consciousness like, and it allowed us to release emotions that might otherwise have been pent up (plus it cleared out a lot of our junk–figuratively AND literally!).

This turned out to be a very healing process for us in a surprising way. While creativity has always been a means for us to make a living, this time it was a way for us to nurture and care for ourselves in a completely different manner from before, starting from the inside out. Through our experimenting we learned that we didn’t have to know how things would turn out, and that we would be okay and could exist (relatively) peacefully in not knowing.

It was such a soothing antidote to any anxiety that we were feeling and even managed to add a feeling of lightness and freedom to our quarantine days. (On another unexpected note, Ito’s photo shot in quarantine got into Getty Images and I got included in a newspaper feature “Painting Purpose & Joy Into Their Lives” in Business Mirror 🙂 Very thankful for that!)

So, now what? Are we over the hump yet????

It’s been five months and we still don’t know where things are going. But while the world may be a long way from finding the answers–or the vaccine–that we are all waiting for, I feel that we can at least allow ourselves some calmness in the chaos.

When we give space for our creativity to flourish (baking, gardening, sketching, writing, making music, etc.) we make peace with the unknown and take small steps towards healing and strengthening ourselves mentally, emotionally, spiritually and physically. And because our personal health, taken collectively, plays a big part in overcoming any pandemic, these small steps may just lead us towards the big overall healing that the world is looking for.

I’ll be continuing to blog about our ‘adventures’ from home (since we aren’t going anywhere anytime soon!) and sharing some of the things we’ve learned and/or are still learning as we go along (click here to read my next blog post, “Sowing the Seeds”). I’d love to know, how are you coping with this supposed “new normal”? Any other tips you’d like me to share or topics you’d like me to explore? Feel free to let me know, I’d love to hear your thoughts 🙂

*Photos by Ito

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