Emerging Into the New Normal

Meg Hirshberg
Portrait of Meg Hirshberg Meg Cadoux

Stage 1, Stage 2, then Stages 3 and 4. This list of stages is very familiar to cancer patients, who pray their disease never reaches the dreaded metastatic Stage 4, which presents dimmed prospects for long-term survival.  

Now with COVID-19, countries, states, and cities are approaching re-opening with another series of four stages, or phases. This time we pray for Phase 4, which will signal that we get to freely co-mingle once again, without fear.  

While I dreaded my cancer treatmentssurgery, chemo, and radiation–they did make me feel protected, even “sheltered” from diseasethe equivalent of a Phase 1 lockdown. But when my grueling regimen came to an end, and my own psychological shelter-in-place was lifted, I felt strangely bereft, thinking “Now what?”  The same way we all might feel vulnerable with this reopening from the pandemic, I felt vulnerable when my treatments ended and wondered how to re-enter my own normal life and community with confidence. 

Many of the questions, then and now, are the same. When shelter-in-place is lifted, how do I live in a way that will enhance my survival?  How do I slow down and remind myself to be more intentional in the way that I move about in this world?

The decisions we make each day add up. The foods we eat, the amount we move, the products we use, the way we let go of things, and whether we are able to choose happiness and fluidity over rigidity and stress. Small changes DO make a difference in promoting overall well-being and keeping our immune systems strong.

As we slowly re-enter this next phase of life and a new way of living, and march through its various stages and phases, I hope you’ll find our newsletters, our website and our course useful. No matter who you are or what “phase” you are in, these are very trying times for us all. As we tentatively re-emerge into some kind of normalcy, perhaps we’ll find that our trials have revealed hidden strengths we never knew we had.

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