Illustration by Sebastian Curi.

What unexpected blessings did you receive in 2020?

It goes without saying that 2020 has been an incredibly trying, disorienting, and painful year. But I wanted to shed some light on the good that has been uncovered as well.

So, in the holiday spirit, I decided to collect stories about the “strange gifts” of this past year, asking listeners to respond to this question:

“How have you transmuted the challenges you faced this past year into an insight or idea that has changed your perspective for the better? What ‘strange gifts’ have you mined from the hardship of 2020?”

Key takeaways from this episode:

  • Why “surrender” may be the most potent (and challenging) gift of the pandemic
  • How increased online access opened up a new world of participation for those who are differently abled
  • Why the new shifts in the way we work with technology aren’t going anywhere
  • How lockdown gave listeners the time and space to grieve
  • How people learned to like themselves, let go of self-criticism, and stop people-pleasing

Favorite Quotes

“I am a psychotherapist. The strangest gifts of the pandemic include, seeing inside my beloved clients’ homes, seeing their families, their pets, and their gardens. People now do therapy from home (and sometimes from their car), and it is a remarkable shift. I feel lucky to be brought into their personal worlds in this other way, and, for the most part, I believe I see people accessing more safety at home. I think for many this means working more deeply in therapy: men crying, women shouting their rage, dreams, fantasies, and memories coming more easily. What a gift!”
—Elizabeth in Australia

“I am a person living with disability, specifically chronic illness, and the world has become paradoxically more accessible for me now that everything is online. The energy of physically going to many different locations or not being able to properly take care of my needs while away from home have been transformed into perpetual accessibility.”
—Anonymous in Canada

“Before March I would have said that I was a very huggy person. I used hugging as a bridge to connect to other people, friends, family, and often strangers or customers in the store I work in. After Covid hit I had to relearn how to communicate without touch. I had to slow down, really listen, and be in the moment with the other person. I think the interactions have been much deeper because of this, and I certainly hope to continue being this mindful going forward.”
—Mary Anne on Vancouver Island


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The resources that I mention in this epi:

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