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Hi There,

I hopped onto a commuter train to NYC for a networking event last week. This seemingly ordinary occurrence and mindless activity, in this instance, caused a swirl of emotions ranging from excitement to anxiety. You see, it was the first time in 16 months I made the former weekly trip.

Recognizing my emotional extremes, I chose to take a walk before the train ride at the end of my work-laden morning. After all, I’d just begun to learn about stress cycles and thought it wise to explore my stress instead of suppressing it as an inconvenience. And I’m so glad that I did!

Besides occurring on a glorious morning, the walk allowed me the space to tune into my anxiety. For instance, I intellectually recognize that I’m inoculated against COVID-19, yet my anxiety about infection kept creeping in. That’s when I realized that over the past year my nervous system has adapted to the reality of remaining physically distanced. Since neuroplasticity had worked its magic for me, it would be unreasonable to think that I’d be able to revert to my old ways of being on just one train ride.  
Ahhh! That realization allowed me to show myself grace and prompted me to be extra mindful of my emotions during my two days in the big city. As such, consistent check-ins were in order. And that’s just what I did! My 3-breath meditation came in handy again and again: as I boarded the train, navigated through the Apple Store, bobbed & weaved through smartphone-mesmerized pedestrians, and shared my building’s tiny elevator with two neighbors (Just breathe, Deborah!)  

The bonus offered by these check-ins was mindfulness of all the post-vaccination firsts I savored: finding my stride as I bounded toward my apartment, seeing (and hugging) some dear colleagues, taking my morning march in Central Park, and receiving my first mani-pedi in over a year!  

As I returned north to the magnificent Hudson Highlands the next day, I acknowledged another opportunity to live a more fulfilled life as an outcome of COVID-19. This thought has been marinating and percolating for a few days now, so I’ve decided to use this epiphany as July’s DRIVEN blog topic. Read the article as well as our newsletter next week and discover how you can appreciate a first, too!

Cheers!
-Deborah


Deborah Goldstein
DRIVEN Professionals / Forbes / Linkedin