Before there was Thank You Quarantine, there was a busy world. I, like many people, was out and about trying to “do” something with my life but quietly yearning for more impact, meaning and connection. I was newly in love and yet awfully aware that romance wasn’t enough for me when these three words came all at once: Thank You Heartbreak.
What began as a 10 question Q&A series has grown into a podcast with 170 episodes and counting, which essentially amounts to 170 hours of conversation with strangers. I got what I was aching for, alright.
The topic of heartbreak has very much become the heartbeat of my days.
To hear the origin story of Thank You Heartbreak, since, without it, there very likely never would have been a Thank You Quarantine, click over to the first installment of this series where I reveal how we got here and introduce you to our first spotlight or catch up on past spotlights.
Otherwise, here’s the CliffsNote version: Thank You Heartbreak celebrates individuals who haven’t just stopped after their heartbreak. Rather than recalling a sob story, aka the universal experience of heartbreak, TYHB is deeply invested in those who choose to shine a light on the silver linings they discovered in the wake of disappointment, in the shadows of uncertainty, and in the waves of grief. And, now, so does Thank You Quarantine.
In this series, everyday people—people just like you and me—answer questions they’re not used to asking themselves from an environment they’re not used to being in and, in the process, discover an upside to the global heartbreak we are all experiencing.
Simple enough and yet self-inquiry is often a daunting undertaking. With this in mind, may we honor the guests who have let us in on their otherwise private revelations and may we remember that this series is for us.
May Thank You Quarantine guide us toward feelings that strip us down and into answers that awaken us.
May we learn about others through the details of their lives and notice ourselves in the universal experience that we share.
And may all of this turn us into connected humans and thankful people.
let’s learn from
our 4th guest…Digital Wellness Coach & Founder of TTYL, a tech-free community dedicated to a human connection, LIANA PAVANE Spotlight
1. Weeks into quarantining, with more silence and less distractions, is there something that you feel like you are being called to face? Maybe a feeling about yourself that you can no longer outrun, a fear that has been exacerbated, a dependency that’s been crippling you, a relationship that you realize you’ve been neglecting?
Right before everyone went into quarantine, I began to have nightmares. Or rather, I began to admit to myself that I had them. I always thought nightmares had to be super scary like a horror movie in your head, but mine seemed practical; they were filled with fears that anyone could have, and I would wake up at 4am in a cold sweat every morning. I began to think that they were stress-related. Or that I was putting too much pressure on myself, and the stress was emerging in my dreams.
When I left the city to quarantine in New Jersey, I thought they would stop, but they only got worse. My fears and anxieties were at an all-time high now that everyone’s future was truly unknown. I tried to suppress them, but they still came to the surface every night. I began to realize that I hadn’t been releasing my feelings in a healthy way for quite some time. I paused my journaling practice for months for no other reason than I thought I didn’t have time. Now that I have all the time in the world, I’ve picked journaling back up into my practice. By allowing my fears and anxieties to be released onto the page, I have been noticing I’m sleeping through most nights, which is all I can ask for.
2. If you turned this period of quarantining into one long personal development project, where would you most need to breakinward in order to look back and say, “That time benefited me and I emerged healed and stronger in thanks to the pandemic”?
Listening to my intuition again and slowing down. Pre COVID-19, I was running around trying to juggle every aspect of my life with minimal breaks in between. Now that time has literally slowed down, I can go back to focusing on myself. In doing so, I have noticed an internal shift that was suppressed for the past several months. By spending time journaling, taking long walks, and other recreational activities, I have felt more centered than I have in a long time. With more time to spend on my business, I am noticing that I am more methodical than I was before as well. I am listening to my gut in everything I do to make sure that what I’m putting out into the world is in alignment with who I am.
3. What is the most poignant memory you have of feeling isolated in your life? How did you breakthrough that isolation and eventually reengage with the world?
At the beginning of 2019, I was feeling stuck in my own routine. I was in a job I didn’t enjoy and felt as though I was on a constant hamster wheel of going to work only to come home to do more work.
I began to have episodes of disassociation where I would feel as though I was peering at my life from an outsider’s perspective.
After months of feeling disoriented, isolated, and disconnected from what I wanted my life to be, I began to work with a life coach. Through weekly sessions, we developed something called “solo experiences,” where I picked one night every week to go on a date with myself without technology. After having not taken the time to sit within my thoughts for more than 10 minutes in a month, the beginning process was challenging. As the weeks and months unfolded, I began to notice an extreme shift in my overall wellbeing, and the voice inside of me was speaking again, telling me what I needed to do to achieve the life I wanted.
4. As you practice self-isolation and physical and social distancing, what and/or who are you missing most from your “old life?”
I often find myself in reveries nowadays, especially on my walks, as I allow my mind to wander just as much as my feet are. I miss the possibility of meeting someone new or exploring a new area of the city. I miss walking to the water in Brooklyn, staring at the skyline as the sun sets while licking an ice cream cone on a hot summer day. I miss going to my favorite restaurants with my best friend and sharing new dishes. I miss waking up next to my boyfriend, cuddling, and him rubbing my back.
Most of all, I miss being able to choose between being social or spending the night alone.
5. In a perfect world, where life resumes to normal, what would the perfect day look like to you? Who would you see, what would you do, where would you go, how would you act? And would this look and feel any differently than days of the past?
Ironically, my best friend and I just did this on our walk the other day! I would spend the day with her because she is who I do everything with. It would be a perfect end-of-May day, right at the edge of summer, when it’s warm enough to walk around without a jacket at night, and there’s just enough humidity in the air.
We would start our day with an awesome workout at Overthrow boxing near Bleecker Street. We would get ready at her house close by and put on fantastic outfits for no other reason than because we can. We would skip down the sidewalk to our favorite restaurant Vic’s for their decadent scrambled egg and cheese on bread with a cocktail because why not?! Then we would head over to Cha Cha Matcha for a nice boost.
Our early afternoon activity would be the Museum of Illusions, which we’ve been dying to go to. We would take tons of awesome photos for fun. Then we’d head to Van Leeuwen for a much-needed ice cream cone break. Our evening requires a new outfit, so we scope out Aritzia and Free People for the perfect dancing attire. Back at her house, we drop our bags, blast some throwback tunes, and get ready for our evening.
We head over to Bar Primi or San Marzano for a delicious pasta dinner followed by Levain cookies or Schmackery’s because calories don’t count on this perfect day. Then we’d head over to Bar Veloce to meet my boyfriend and her date for some wine before heading to LPR for their 90’s night! After we scream all the songs at the top of our lungs and dance like nobody’s watching, we grab a pizza before heading home.
This would be the perfect day because none of us would have obligations other than to hang out with each other. We’ve both been working on the weekends recently, or she has been traveling, so having a day where everything aligns perfectly with all our favorite things would be magical.
6. What is the upside of solitude and why do we work so hard to avoid it? What question do you have about your life that bubbles to the surface when you’re in solitude? Is there a question you feel like others keep busy in order to avoid having to ask themselves?
This is a great question and one that I ask myself often.
Last year, I began taking myself out on solo dates purely to understand why I was so afraid to spend time with myself. I started this practice because I began to notice the only time I was spending by myself was right before bed. At that moment, all of my fears and anxieties would bubble to the surface. I would use sleep to push them away but soon realized avoidance was not the answer.
The upside of solitude is that we hear our intuition. When we give our brains space for technology and distractions, all the nerves that we’ve been having about our lives come into reality. Whether we’re questioning a job, a living situation, or a relationship, spending time with ourselves is the answer to all our problems. However, many of us fear our truth because it often tells us what we don’t want to hear, even though we know we have to.
I often find myself asking, “What is my purpose?” or “What more can I do?” or “Am I making the right decision?” I’m often thinking in a business mindset, so I find myself questioning the bigger picture of what I’m doing as an entrepreneur.
I think many people find themselves questioning their life’s purpose or perhaps if they chose the right path for themselves, wondering what their lives would look like if they went in a different direction.
7. How would you define freedom? When do you feel most free?
Freedom, to me, is when I have no obligations and can truly live in the moment. As someone who is constantly working towards a new goal, I find it hard to stop and smell the roses. Quarantine has actually reminded me of the importance of literally freeing up my day, to do just that. I make sure to have multiple breaks throughout my day where I am truly just being.
I feel most free when I go for a walk or when I’m dancing. Anything where I’m moving allows me to feel most connected to my mind, body, and the world around me. I am grateful that both of these activities are still accessible to me right now.
8. What are you learning about the importance of self-reliance as well as physical touch?
I am lucky to have experienced myself as a full-time entrepreneur before the quarantine. Last fall, I spent five months purely focusing on my business and had to rely on myself for all productivity and decisions without anyone else providing their input. I am realizing now how valuable that time was for me to come and understand the importance of self-reliance. The schedule I have created for myself in quarantine fully represents my productivity methods as well as my creativity, which I don’t believe I would’ve been able to come up with if not for that experience.
The more time I spend away from society and the people I love, I’ve begun to notice my body has a longing for touch. The mind releases oxytocin from a hug that lasts 20 seconds or more. A hug is such a little thing that makes a huge difference. My best friend and I are giving each other hugs most days, but going most of the time without one or even holding someone’s hand isn’t easy. I’ve realized how much I rely on simple affection from others. Wrapping my arms around someone when they’re cold, receiving the best hugs from my mom, or cuddling on the couch with my boyfriend are all simple things that I’ve come to miss greatly.
9. What’s a moment that you’ve really enjoyed since quarantining?
I am quarantining in New Jersey with my best friend, her brother, and his girlfriend. We started making pizza from scratch every Friday. We will roll out the dough, coat it in toppings and pop it in the oven. Everyone’s pizza tends to come out a bit differently, but we’ve all perfected our specific preferences over the weeks. Over dinner, we will discuss our weeks and drink some wine.
On one particular Friday evening, my best friend and I watched 10 Things I Hate About You after dinner. It was towards the beginning of quarantine, and we were both in a slump, not yet wanting to accept this as our new normal. My best friend turned to me and said, “I wish we could go to 90’s night at LPR.” It’s our favorite dance spot where there’s a 90s cover band with a huge dance floor for everyone to go wild. Rather than end the evening on a low note, my best friend turned to me and put on a 90s song on her phone, got up and started jumping around screaming the lyrics. I turned to her with complete glee and started doing the same. To make it even better, she grabbed the disco ball from downstairs, and we turned off all the lights to make it feel like a club.
After about an hour of DJing throwback tunes, her brother and his girlfriend came and joined us. We began to play Disney tunes, High School Musical, and ended the night poorly singing Defying Gravity from Wicked. That night, I couldn’t stop smiling (and panting from the amount of jumping I was doing.)
The four of us had managed to create a bit of normalcy to this crazy time. I am grateful to be surrounded by people who find light in this situation and wish to make the most of our time.
10. When the going gets tough, what’s one mantra you’d like to try and live by?
Nothing is permanent. The light on the other side of the tunnel may not be visible yet, but it’s coming.
Inspired by Liana’s own reflecting, here are three questions to consider:
1. As a result of suppressing her fears and anxieties, Liana says, those fears and anxieties have been finding their way into her dreams. The takeaway? There’s no escaping what we really feel. Inevitably, the only way to shortcut a feeling is to feel it right away. What’s a fear of yours that, were it to materialize, would leave you feeling like you’re living in a nightmare? Think about all your anxieties. If one anxiety vanished, how would that better position you to go after your dreams?
2. Liana reflects on the “solo experiences” she’s been creating for herself and how they’ve helped her tap into her inner voice. How would your life change if you were able to be solo and at peace? What conversation do you really need to have with yourself?
3. If you’re anything like Liana, and the rest of the world quite frankly, you’ve probably noticed that stopping to smell the roses is a challenge. Let’s take this one step further though. When was the last time you bought yourself roses (or some token of appreciation) rather than waiting for the day someone would buy them for you? How would giving to yourself, rather than waiting on others, help you access joy?
Now, it’s your turn to reflect.
To work with Chelsea to “break up” with the beliefs and relationships that are no longer serving the highest vision you have for yourself and to learn how to Breakupward in the face of loss, disappointment, and heartbreak of any kind, visit her coaching website.