How are you faring during this exquisitely unusual time we find ourselves in?
Many of us are challenged by truly life-altering situations. Some of are navigating illness. Some are on the front lines of COVID-19 management. Some are grappling with devastation from tornadoes, fires and flooding. Some are alone with mental illness in a stay-in-place situation. Others have watched their minimal food supplies be ravaged by locusts and are now waiting for the second wave which will reportedly be 20 times worse than the one that came 2 months ago…which seems impossible and unimaginable.
For many of us, our challenges are less extreme but life feels strange and uncomfortable. For many of us, our days are a little more quiet. Our personal world has become a little bit smaller. There is more space and more uncertainty in our everyday life experience.
Limbo Often Feels Uncomfortable
In some ways, we’re grieving life-as-we-knew-it and are uncomfortable with this prickly limbo that we find ourselves in. Part of us is finding that we like a slower pace, a more flexible and open schedule and some time for reflection. Part of us is fearful—about so many things such as finances and food and illness…and toilet paper (I couldn’t resist)—and wanting to numb the fear. Part of us feels compassion and concern, knowing that so many others have it so much harder.
This is a time of a wide myriad of emotions as we navigate our daily lives that feel different, in many small and big ways. You’re not alone. And the harder emotions and states (fear, anxiety, dread, depression, apathy, laziness, procrastination, grief, loneliness) need to be honored and recognized as messengers that we are out of our comfort zone and traversing some tricky-feeling seas.
The Roots of Growth
Yet we also catch glimpses of emotions and states that feel positive and hopeful. Maybe we realize that there is a large wheel set into motion over which we have no control—and we relax and stop resisting it. We take steps to mitigate ramifications in our personal corner of the world, and do what we can to support others…without wishing things were different. Because they aren’t different.
Any maybe, right there in the uncomfortable mess, is the perfect soil for growth. Upon realizing this, maybe we let go a little. Soften a little. Maybe this softening inside ourselves opens our eyes to ideas and opportunities that we didn’t see before.Maybe…
- Maybe we find ourselves out of work, or with a failing business, and are considering how we might reinvent our work selves.
- Maybe we’re still gainfully employed and working from home, but even the lack of commute and “dressing for work” saves quite a bit of time—that we then use for enjoyment.
- Maybe we’ve discovered that many of the tasks and activities that we deemed Important, have revealed themselves as simply urgent-seeming time-fillers.
- Maybe we look at how disaster has changed our lives—the very landscape of our lives—and wonder if there is grace on the other side. Like when fires take down forests and gives way to new and abundant growth.
- Maybe we see that deeply caring for our body’s health, immunity and resilience is a more foundational approach than waiting for a miracle drug or vaccine.
- Maybe, to combat anxiety over the unknown, we’re exploring meditation and mindfulness, and we’re finding that a dappling of clarity shines through the tangled branches of our incessant internal mental chatter. And it is good.
- Maybe, as the external noises of the world reduce their volume, we find that there’s a silence that we never noticed. And maybe—instead of filling it—we appreciate it.
- Maybe, as our benevolent planet Earth is permitted to take a few breaths, we become more aware of how we suffocate her. We wonder if there’s a different way to live on Earth without defiling it…and we wonder how we can help.
- Maybe, as we marvel at how quickly a large and seemingly-robust economy can topple, we wonder about the foundational health of it. We maybe become curious about what true economic reform might look like. We wonder if unending economic growth is actually more like cancer and less like thriving.
Growth and comfort don’t co-exist.
While most of us are finding the world situation uncomfortable right now, maybe we can get curious about where we can ask questions, where we can grow, where we can re-assess, and where we can evolve—both personally and en masse.
Historically, this is what we have done. Will we do that now?
Fertile Soil for Opportunity
People like to be comfortable. They like The Known. Yet what we’re used to may not be what is best for us, individually or collectively. This is our time to be brave, resilient and compassionate. This is our time to turn me-first into we-first. This is our time to learn from our mistakes, as a species, and to shift the paradigm. Many paradigms. Together, as a human family.
What are you thinking about during these unusual times? Where do you feel curious, see opportunity, and feel hopeful? How are you navigating your challenging emotions, and what helps you feel grounded and more Whole?
I always love to hear from you in the comments below. There is strength in community.
With love & ponderings,