As corona virus hit us in Australia during mid March 2020, I began working from home and found myself with more time on my hands, especially since due to the restrictions on our activities, I wondered what I would do with the extra time in my home.
I also noticed a sense of anxiety had crept in and it was particularly acute when I went to the supermarket or travelled on the train. With the corona virus as an invisible force out there, I felt uncomfortable being around other people, as no-one could tell whether they were asymptomatic with the virus.
A good friend noticed this shift in how I felt, so she suggested I up my meditations and increase my levels of acceptance of the situation the world found itself in. These meditations coincided with a lull in my work. Up until then, I had created extra opportunities for myself at work, where I was facilitating workshops for the team, however these came to a natural conclusion, so I chose to embrace the lull.
Embrace the lull.
I dived into meditation and meditated most days. I felt the anxiety shift. I felt myself accept the situation. During one of my meditations, an inspired idea dropped in, one that had me consider “Why don’t a write a book about my mental health experiences?” And so, my passion project during corona virus was born.
I had a 6 year history of mental health experiences, with 5 involuntary stays in mental health hospitals. Two years ago, due to my circumstances at the time, the doctor told me I would be homeless, and yet, three months later I had landed a six-figure salary at a Big 4 Australian bank and went on to create a joyful life.
The title of the book I wrote is Being Brave: From trauma to joy and the writing experience was the perfect passion project to calm me, relax me and put me in a reflective state of acceptance as I wrote the book. With the extra time I had from not travelling to work, the first draft of book was written in 3 weeks. Even more outstanding was what happened when I shared that I was writing a book… Following a post about my book in progress, I had a friend introduce me to her friend on FaceBook and this new friend turned into a private high end coaching client, where the fee that she paid for my coaching covered the investment I made in the editing, design and printing of the book. Plus, with the extra time available as I worked from home, I was able to take early morning coaching calls with my client before I started work for the day.
In my book, I draw insightful parallels between my experiences in mental health wards and the corona virus. When I was involuntarily placed in a mental health ward, I too experienced restrictions, limitations on what I could do and a constrained environment. And yet, during my final stay in the mental health hospital, I created a business with another patient, one that we called “aQuity Coffee” and this business eventually led to my six-figure salary. (If you want to learn more about aQuity Coffee, check out this short video.) What this experiences means for us in the time of corona virus, that yes while there is tragic loss of life and economic impacts on people, we can accept our situation and rise beyond it, such that we can create innovative new business concepts from times of struggle. We need not suffer through this, as suffering is indeed a choice. Instead if we choose to see our situation with acceptance and recognise how powerful we truly are, we can create immensely positive shifts in our lives.
My passion project of writing a book during corona virus has led me to bigger things, just like my co-creation of aQuity Coffee back in the hospital did. I have been interviewed by newspaper reports, radio shows and I have an upcoming interview on a live TV station. My book continues to grow, where I’ve set up The Being Brave Foundation, a space where people can open up to their vulnerabilities and share their mental health story, so that we redefine mental illness, such that it is not seen as a disorder, but a symptom of an opportunity to bring about very valuable change in the world. The change in me and my world has, and continues to be, immense levels of acceptance.
I would love to hear about your passion project during corona virus and what it inspired in you, and others, in the comments.