In a time of such a global, collective experience as is the COVID-19 pandemic, where much of the globe is in some form of lockdown and staying at home (where possible), it’s a very unique opportunity to look at what this forced time and introspection means for each of us.
While there are many who are still out there working (thank you essential workers of all kinds keeping us healthy, fed, receiving mail from the outside world + more!), and working at home so have found new ways of doing things, there is still a definite air of space and time. Space to find new routines in how your day looks – I don’t remember the last time I wasn’t out teaching in the evenings most nights of the week. It’s refreshing and I like it a lot! Time to hopefully process the influx of information, the lack of information, the uncertainty in how, why or how long, and the impact it might have on you personally and your life plan. There is a collective pause we are giving that even Mother Nature is noticing.
It’s in this collective pause that we are able to take the time to reset our foundations. This isn’t about suddenly becoming an over-achiever simply because you’ve got all this time on your hands, especially at the expense of taking care of your mental and emotional health. It’s about how we can assess, and then reassess how we do things, how we show up, what we do.
Communication & connection
We have the opportunity to notice how we acknowledge others, prioritise our relationships of all kinds, and choose our words at this time. Maybe we notice it most because it has changed in light of not being able to physically see someone for another couple of months. Or maybe it’s the change of routine that has you deciding whether or not you really want to spend time on a video call with that person without other distractions or buffers around. Or how you feel even more importance in connecting with someone because your priorities are becoming clearer as you realise how much time you’ve wasted otherwise. And then to look at the words we use – with loved ones, with colleagues, and how that changes (or doesn’t) in light of the remote connection. It’s all shifting, but not necessarily with less feeling of connection. It’s shining light on the importance we put on these connections, and what we’re willing to do about it.
The resetting of the foundation here is in choosing what we’re going to continue doing on purpose, during this experience and long after.
Do we belittle another’s experience simply because it’s different from ours, or are we learning healthy empathy – where we don’t need to wear another’s experience, stress or trauma in order to acknowledge it? In this time, there are plenty of examples of “You think you’ve got it bad, well let me tell you about my sh*tstorm of a situation!” There are potentially even more examples of some variation of “I’m sorry to hear you’re going through this. What do you need right now?” There’s a beauty in being able to acknowledge someone else’s experience, without making it about us or the comparison between situations. While our frontline workers in the medical and health industries cannot work from home, someone else’s mental health may balance on their ability to focus on work or something productive instead of sitting alone in isolation at home. Both are not ideal. Both deserve to be responded to with compassion, even if we don’t understand what it’s like to experience that.
The resetting of our foundation here is in looking at how we either judge a little too much without compassion, or try to wear other’s hurt as our own a little too much than is good for us.
Space for ourselves
Ahh. In a world where we were perhaps conditioned to be constantly ‘busy’ without being productive, where that notion was glorified as the state of being to aim for, not giving us time to process what we were learning or experiencing throughout our days, or without time to really connect with those we care about. It can leave us feeling overwhelmed and unable to respond in ways we want to. Maybe you already had a healthy concept of what was ‘busy’ and what is ‘useful’ in work. Or you were already able to take time out for yourself and read a book, or ask for that time from your partner or family when you needed it. Maybe you didn’t. But time and time again we seem to be brought back to the importance of this space for ourselves to enquire within, or work on what’s important to our souls, or rest, or connect, or however this space needs to be spent (but not *filled up*).
The resetting of our foundation here is noticing how, if at all, we take space for ourselves and how that gives us what we need to then give space and energy to others in due course.
While there’s a lot going on externally, know it’s okay to use this time to look at what foundations are being reset (or could be reset) internally. There will never be any “going back to normal” here. Simply a new normal. And what a beautiful opportunity that is for us.
Photo by Vitalis Hirschmann on Unsplash