Zoom and Doom (and my new plan for summer classes)

Updated: Jul 9

I thought I was so clever. Given the Covid-19 situation, I needed an online system for running drop-in summer classes. I spent hours setting up a new system for booking classes and buying class packages on my website, and then I linked my website to Zoom so that a unique Zoom link was created for each class and automatically emailed out when people registered. Pretty slick!

I was feeling like an online champion. Then it happened…


In an attempt to be even slicker, I tried to connect my Zoom account with a friend’s so I could co-host an event. Then I realized that wasn’t what I wanted to do, and in the process of undoing it, I deleted my account. All of my scheduled classes…gone! All of my slick, automatically-generated Zoom class links…useless!

I am a mindfulness and yoga teacher, so, of course, I stayed calm and took it all in stride.


OK, that’s a big lie. I panicked. I called Zoom representatives and begged them to do something, anything, to help me. They didn’t. I raged. I cursed myself: “You are such an idiot!” I cursed Zoom: “Why, for the love of God, will they not help me?! They could. They just won’t!” I cursed the state of the world: “A yoga teacher shouldn’t even have to be working with technology! This is so unfair! Damn pandemic! Damn technology! Damn everything!”

Then came my holier-than-thou inner critic: “Look at yourself! You are freaking out about something this small?! There is real suffering in the world! Are you so privileged and entitled that you can’t manage what is truly a minor setback? You snivelling…” etc., etc.

Now, I was both panicked and ashamed of myself. Not a productive place to be.

After this went on for a while, my training as a mindfulness and yoga instructor (and a parent) kicked in. I was able to take a metaphorical step back and look at the situation. Was cursing myself and others helping? No. Was beating up on myself helping? No.

In situations like this, I like to think of myself as a toddler. When a toddler throws a tantrum because you cut their sandwich into four pieces rather than two, does it help to tell them that what they are crying about is silly?[1] No. What is the best thing to do when a toddler is throwing a tantrum? Hold the space for them, let them throw their fit and be there with a hug and some kindness when it simmers down.[2]

I did this for myself. I acknowledged that this was a difficult moment and let myself feel the feelings. I recognized that I wasn’t just upset about this incident. Everyone is going through a tough time right now. Of course, it is much tougher for some people than others, but all of us are affected. I recognized that I was feeling tired and frustrated over all of the change that has occurred, all of the decisions I have had to make recently that I didn’t have to make in the pre-pandemic world. Then I offered myself some kindness and understanding.


Some phrases that may be useful when we have made a mistake are

  • This is really hard.

  • Everyone feels like this sometimes.

  • Everyone makes mistakes.

  • You aren’t stupid. You are human.

  • This is difficult right now, but you will get through it.

When we are upregulated (psychology speak for “wound up”), we can’t think clearly. Our focus narrows. We can only see the problem. We can’t see any possible solutions. This happens with small stuff as well as big. Our bodies often can’t tell the difference between a life-threatening situation and a Zoom-tastrophe (should be a word!). They react the same way. This is natural. We just don’t want to get stuck in this state.

Self-compassion can help us downregulate (psychology speak for “calm down”), and the sooner we downregulate, the sooner we can see possible resolutions to our difficulties.

This has been a really big lead-up to letting you know what I decided to do for my summer classes. I have decided to apply the KISS (Keep It Simple, Stupid) principle. Here is the plan, in bullet form:

Summer Yoga Class Plan

  • All summer classes will be drop-in and by donation.

  • There is a recommended minimum donation of $10 per class, but please choose whatever works best for your budget.

  • 25% of all summer class fees will be donated to the Heron Emergency Food Centre.

  • When you lose your sh** over something small, sometimes it makes you think about people who are going through actual troubles and how you can help.

  • There will be a number of “ticket” options, which will allow you to pay what you want.[3]

  • Once you have registered, you will receive a Zoom link.

  • Barring any Zoom-tastrophes (see how this word is gaining traction?),[4] this will be the same link for all summer classes.[5]

  • Having one link for the whole summer means that once you have donated once, you have access to all summer classes.

  • Can you pay just $10 and attend all summer? Yes, you can. Can you pay $100 and attend all summer? Yes, you can. Can you pay different amounts at different times over the summer? Yes, you can.

  • It is up to you. I trust you.

Click here to register and donate.

[1] If you need a laugh, take a look at this article about ridiculous reasons toddlers cry. [2] I like thinking of myself as a toddler because it evokes up my caretaking instincts (and the image makes me laugh later when I have simmered down). If this doesn’t work for you, try thinking of yourself as a friend. Ask yourself, “What would you do for a friend who was in the same situation you are in?” or “What would you want a friend to do for you right now?” [3] If you don’t want to pay with a credit card or you want to pay an amount different from the amounts on the “tickets”, send an e-transfer to hereandnowottawa@gmail.com and I will email you the link. [4] If a Zoom-tastrophe happens, I will provide a new link. [5] Classes will be held Tuesday mornings at 9:30 a.m., Tuesday evenings at 7:30 p.m., and Thursday evenings at 7:30 p.m.

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