We cannot ignore reality. We could try to avoid it, discredit it or get furious about it. Yet, at the end of the day, it’s staring us clearly in the face. Now, more than ever, showing up authentically takes a level of mindfulness: the decision to focus our awareness on the present moment, or being conscious to what is happening.
The reality is that in this crisis we are directed to practice social distancing. The wise choice is to comply. However, this doesn’t mean that we must face this crisis alone. In fact, it is important that we do not face such a large-scale crisis alone. The pain – discomfort, suffering, etc. – is happening to all of us at some level. Therefore, I would propose that the wise choice is to be communal in our response. Look for ways to practice social connection. After all, we are wired for connection and is crucial to our well-being.
Fundamentally I have two choices; one is to take care of myself and the other is to make the choice to engage with others. Here are my two resolutions for managing the crisis.
First, I make the choice to take care of myself.
I need to be mindful of “what is actually happening” within me, in my mind and heart. It’s emotionally healthy to take the time to ask and answer questions like, “What am I really feeling right now…is it anger…fear…sadness…anxiety?”
Rather than slow down and ask the challenging questions, I may be tempted to only take some type of action. After all, I tell myself that my action is something I can control. Being responsible is good. Avoiding feelings is not good. Ignoring them (burying, stuffing, etc.) won’t make them go away. It goes into an inner reservoir of pain that in some way at some time, will be transmitted to other people.
I make the choice to take care of myself: to slow down, quiet my mind, pay attention to my heart, and rest in grace.
Secondly, I make the choice to engage in socially connecting with people.
The premise is simple: connection is not an option. It will not happen by osmosis. It will not happen if I wish it so. It happens when I make the courageous choice to ask for connection. Why is this courageous? Because it’s vulnerable to admit that I need connection and it’s just as vulnerable to ask for it.
I am all for exploring the options of shows to binge watch and YouTube videos to explore. However, they will not fill the gap of human connection. While social disconnection might appear to be a gift to the introverts and a bane for the extroverts, every human being needs connection.
So, I find myself having to make the choice to turn off the television, close Facebook and look for people with whom I want to connect. It may start with an email or text depending on the relationship. For those closest to me it’s having phone, Facetime or Zoom conversations. I end the conversations feeling more enriched and most importantly knowing that I am not alone. We are suffering together. And we are figuring out ways to cope. We are sharing mutual gratitude and inspirational stories of how so many people are creatively and compassionately responding to the crisis.
I make the choice to engage in connecting with others: to hear their stories, to listen to their pain and share their hope for the future.
There you have it, two simple resolutions. How will you choose to show up authentically to your world?