Living on Purpose: ‘Recounting all of the reasons I still have to dance’

Aundrea Sayrie

Living on Purpose

Any views or opinions expressed in “Living on Purpose” are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views or opinions of the Watershed Voice staff or its board of directors.

Want to hear something ironic? For quite some time I have been excitedly awaiting publishing my first article as a columnist. I looked forward to expressing themes on mental health and wellness. The big day has arrived, and the biggest factor prohibiting my progress are matters of mental health. Ha! The irony! 

Around the world there was little time to brace for the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. It has rocked so much to the core, including me. As a daughter, friend, wife, mother… human, I am concerned about not only those that I love, but also those that I don’t know all over the world. 

In the midst of planning, cleaning and assisting, one unexpected emotion that kept circling back was grief. It took me by surprise, but its presence was undeniable. Grief. 

All of the daunting headlines, new mandates, and death tolls, collectively made yet another impact I hadn’t seen coming. If there is anything that I know about mental health, it’s that I must approach it head-on. So what am I doing to cope during the pandemic?

First, I am acknowledging and giving space to how I am feeling. Once I understood the emotions, I began to explore the sources and lo and behold, social media was the main culprit. With all of the “experts,” arguments and that unsettling constant image of the virus… it was all just too much, too “loud” if you will. So… I deactivated my page for seven days. I chose one credible source to log on to for statistics only. Absolutely no sensational stories to navigate through.

Secondly, I am honestly communicating my state of being when asked. Out of habit, I could have responded with “I’m fine.” Instead, I have been more open. Responding with “I’m grieving, I’m sad, I’m upset.” I’m tired, I’m concerned. You know what? No one has called me weak, or was unwilling to explore those feelings with me. It’s validating.

Lastly, I am operating within my circle of control. I am no longer trying to figure out why people aren’t staying home. I am planning meals, shopping accordingly once a week, cleaning, guiding children through daily lessons and stopping.

I am stopping as often as I need to, to step outside of my door and breathe deeply, to soak in sun and take in natural colors. Stopping negative thought patterns, and recounting all of the reasons I still have to dance. Stopping for art, and to snack. Saturday is any day I choose now, no schedule at all. Now, unlike a week ago, when I sleep, I sleep peacefully.

A native of Phoenix, Arizona Aundrea Sayrie is a firm believer in the power of words, faith and a strong spirit. Her greatest desire is to encourage those around her to discover and honor their truth, and to passionately live on purpose.