Life is coming at us hard and fast. We are all at risk and must think for ourselves yet act for the greater good. We haven’t faced a collective challenge like this in a very long time and what a golden opportunity it is.
In the last 20 years, my dog Abbey, my brown leather couch and I have seen peoples’ suffering increase as everyday life has become easier. We’ve watched people become dependent on immediate gratification and fearfully resistant to discomfort. We’ve challenged peoples’ faulty black and white belief system that perfection is necessary for success and being good enough is failure. And, we’ve picked people up and dusted them off after their unrealistic expectations of life have left them feeling less than and perpetually disappointed. All while true human connection, the most powerful antidote to suffering, became scarce and we collectively fooled ourselves that we were not only in control but life had improved.
I’m calling bull-plop on that. We’ve been a mess for quite a while and our quality of life, long before now, has been steadily declining. Which brings me to the opportunity facing all of us – right here, right now. This invisible, life-threatening, undiscriminating virus has the power to shock us from our deeply self-involved slumber and rediscover what is truly important in our lives – each other. As it physically separates us and shines a light on our mortality, it actually connects us to what really matters in life. We didn’t pick this challenge. It picked us. Regardless, we all have a choice what to make out of it.
Despite the worry and the sadness that has overcome me for my family, friends, clients, community, and all those people I’ll never know around the world who are suffering, I feel an intense sense of urgency to remain positive and learn from this experience. I am no different than anyone else. I’m flawed. I struggle. My priorities are a bit out of whack. At times, I feel lost in this crazy world. And, I desperately miss my old life when the rectangle I now carry everywhere and check constantly didn’t disconnect me from the healing power of human touch. When authentic connection was the norm and superficial digital communication had not hijacked our lives. What has happened to us?
I believe with all my heart that we can do better at life and now is the time to try. It’s going to take courage. We will need to push against strongly held beliefs, habits, and societal norms. Much like this pandemic, it is going to be scary and there will be a lot of uncertainty. Start small with your own choices. Be a warrior for change. Put down your rectangle and consider what is most important right in front of you. Then get your boots on the ground and give your energy and time to those things. Do it every day for a long time. That’s how we will find resilience in this difficult time, reduce suffering and change the world.
Take good care and Godspeed.