We are at a threshold. One we likely never expected to face so abruptly in this lifetime. Naively we play with various edges in life, like our birthdays, New Years, and one of my favorites, the new moon, to serve as an impetus for change. A starting off point, a marker of when we will take on living the life we dream of inside.
Well, here we are. We have just been pushed over the threshold into what may feel like a freefall. So many of the structures of our lives that we have come to know and trust, even if they weren’t ideal, are disappearing. Sure, the need to get out the door each morning to get to school at a set time was a true struggle. The job you went to each day maybe wasn’t fulfilling your passion. Errands to the grocery store and other places sucked away your valuable weekends. But now suddenly we are missing the structure of the school day, the reliable paycheck, and the freedom to shop and move about without fear of absorbing or unknowingly spreading this disease. How quickly our worlds have been stripped away to the bare minimums. How shocking this is and also what a gift.
Yes a gift, despite the fear due to the loss of our business or job income, despite the sorrow at the end of lives that will touch so many of us directly, despite the anger at the mismanagement of this crisis, despite the huge grief we are feeling, this is still a gift.
I see the gift as both the forced time and presence we are being asked to be with each other right now as well as the future we will step into on the other side of this. Both of these gifts are being handed to us all, but some people may not receive them.
This period of StayHome can be passed with each member of a household on their own computers, devices or screens filling the newly opened up time with news or games or entertainment or preoccupied with stress about the world they knew suddenly ending. This is a natural state for week one, I think. But will you come out of that? Will you begin to use this gift of time to reconnect with your loved ones, to find new ways to see friends on video calls or to read at least some of those books you’ve been wanting to for so long? What are the things you’ve always said you didn’t have time for? Make this gift your own creation.
When being forced to cross such an unexpected threshold as we were, it is natural to wish for life to “get back to normal.” How we navigate this is the other gift we are being given. Every major event we are faced with in life, both good and bad, brings about change from that point forward. When two people are married, they don’t expect life to “get back to normal” after the wedding. Life shifts into a new experience; they work together (hopefully) to create a new life. Of course we don’t expect a newly married couple or any of us in this moment to throw away everything from the way we are used to living. So be sure to find some routines or practices you can continue as we move though this period of upheaval. From exercise to a daily meditation or crossword puzzle you always did, keep those habits strong. And as to the future, ask yourself what are the priorities of your life? What do you want to bring into reality in this new world? This is the ultimate gift – to take on living the life we dream of right now.
“The future cannot be predicted, but futures can be invented.” – Dennis Gabor
I want to close with also saying the fear, grief, sadness, anger and uncertainty are all valid feelings. Allow yourself to sit with them for a bit. Cry or dance or scream or write or stand in a long shower or exercise or paint or meditate or call someone to get it out of your system. Do this daily if you need to. These feelings are not a one-time experience. Moving through them as they arise will get you to the other side. Please reach out if you need someone to talk to. I am offering two free 30-minute coaching calls each weekday in April. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to get on my schedule.
p.s. Don’t forget to make your bed each day. It helps.