Going into Week 8 of confinement, how’s the morale?
I don’t know for you, but for me it’s been such a roller-coaster of emotions!
Sometimes, I feel short-tempered and irritable (especially when watching the news or reading other people’s reactions to government decisions). Then I swing to frustration at not being able to go running out to the stores or work out at the gym. Other times, I find myself feeling bad for my students who are telling me about how they’re dealing with their kids, workload and spouse who is away for the day at the office or hospital.
Don’t get me wrong, on the whole, I’m getting used to my home-office remote-work day, walking around the neighbourhood with the dog, taking an occasional jaunt to the local pharmacy or grocery store and binge-watching Netflix series.
But, Monday was a bad day. It just got to me.
After yet another day of typical technical glitches for some unexplainable reason, I had a discussion with one of my sons. How long will this go on for? When will things go back to normal? Will they ever?
While I was the parent (read : the One Who Is Supposed to Have a Handle on Things), he was the one bringing me down to earth and confronting me with the cold hard truth : you need to accept that this is the way things are for the well-being of the community.
What? How do you do that?
Since Stress-Coping Strategy #1: Go Shopping is no longer applicable, I went for Stress-Coping Strategy #2 : Reading.
And I’m glad I did. I started reading the book When Things Fall Apart, by Pema Chödrön. Three main questions came up for me as a result.
#1. How dependent is our well-being on our routines and rituals?
One of the main take aways I’ve gleaned so far from Chödrön’s book is that life is impermanent. Things change. Nothing is forever. In other words, as long as I am alive, I have to expect change (or at least be ready for it). It’s normal and it’s okay. The problem is that if my well-being depends on the stability of my circumstances, then I’ll fall apart as soon as things shift.
This crisis has brought about numerous shifts for all of us. I don’t need to list them; I’m sure you can reel them off for yourself. The problem is: how dependent is our well-being on the routines and rituals that have been disrupted by this crisis?
#2. What are we learning right now?
What an invitation to sit down and get better acquainted with the very nature of our existences! A time for curiosity, exploration and openness about lifestyle habits, organizational policies and procedures, and community customs. What are we learning right now about ourselves, others and life?
#3. What is the transition we need to be celebrating?
To go back to the book, Chödrön also talks about how humans have always celebrated transitions as a way to highlight the end of one era and the start of another (ex. birth, death, marriage). She goes on to explain that celebrating is a very human and important way of getting in harmony with the inevitable rhythm of life, by recognizing and accepting both the positive and negative sides of our existence.
So my question is, no matter how we may personally feel about this crisis, what is the transition (note I said transition, not crisis) we need to be celebrating right now? What will really change (at home, in our communities, places of worship, schools, workplaces, societies) as a result of this pandemic? What do you think? Share your ideas in the Comments section below. Each person’s answer may be very different, but they are certainly valid in their own way. I’m curious to hear your ideas.
And thanks so much for reading! I’m always excited to see new countries come up in my readership. In fact, I’m tracking them on a world map in my office!
Take care, stay safe, and keep learning! – Claire :O)
[Photo: Andrew Neel/Unsplash]