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"We tend to think that the future happens later, but we're creating it in our minds every day. When the present falls apart, so does the future we had associated with it. And having the future taken away is the mother of all plot twists."
- Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
Nearly everyone is having some version of what Lori describes happen right now. We're neck-deep into a circumstance no one was prepared for. We're having to put dreams aside, plans on hold - and it's not clear if, when, or how we'll be able to get back to them.
That future we had been creating in our minds every day up until around March-ish - that future will need to change. And it's okay to mourn. It's okay to be annoyed, frustrated, sad, angry, or shook up.
It's a mother of a plot twist.
But at the same time, that plot hasn't ended. We're still writing. What we do in the present influences and creates the new future. It won't be what we had planned, but it may still be what we dream of.
- - -
"Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms - to choose one's attitude in any given set of circumstances."
- Viktor Frankl, Man's Search for Meaning
This pandemic has taken many things: future plans, holiday traditions, public events, family gatherings, small businesses, financial security, normalcy, sanity, and also loved ones.
But it will never take our ability to choose how we face this. The attitude we project; the encouragement and support we provide others. The community we can build and share, right now. - - -
"How many times have you noticed that it's the little quiet moments in the midst of life that seem to give the rest that extra-special meaning?
- Mr. Rogers Change and chaos are a part of life. But so are those moments of unexpected joy in unexpected places and times.
The calming pitter-patter of rain on the roof as I slowly wake up.
Looking out the window at a new flower's bloom.
The grumble sound of coffee percolating.
A message from a good friend.
The silly wagging dog tail.
A kiss goodnight.
- - -
"Just because someone sends you guilt, doesn't mean you have to accept the delivery." - Lori Gottlieb, Maybe You Should Talk to Someone
We're all feeling a heightened and unusual amount of emotions. Highs and lows. Calm and anxiety. Frustration and acceptance. Joy and sadness. All of the above. Mixed together in a blender. On shuffle. To circus music. But one of the more difficult emotions is guilt. Guilt over not being a Super Hero Parent. Struggling to spin all life's normal plates along with a brand new set of unexpected plates with little or no time to practice. Guilt over not being an Ultra Productive Employee / Student. Trying so hard to just keep the show going amidst a barrage of new procedures and protocols and practices and precautions and policies. Guilt over not being an Incredibly Perfect Significant Other. Walking the tight rope between taking care of your own needs and compassionately loving others while flames of uncertainty lick at your feet. If someone is sending you guilt (including yourself) about not being a Super Hero, Ultra Productive, or Incredibly Perfect, remember, you don't have to accept that delivery. We're all in this together, in many different ways. But together in that no one had an instruction manual on this situation. We're doing our best, even on the days when we're at our worst. Ease up on yourself. Ease up on others. Choose love. 💝 Not guilt. - - - "But that’s what bravery is, my dear. The overcoming of fear. If you’re not afraid, it doesn’t count.”
- Phillip Reeve, Infernal Devices
There's a lot of talk about fear lately.
Anger around it.
Opinions about it.
Anxiety for having it.
Info overload fueling it.
Guilt for inability to hide it.
Shame being influenced by it.
But fear is normal. It's a recognition of our inherent vulnerability and fragility. Amplified x10 by these crazy times.
We need to focus way less on all whirlwind of reactions to fear. Fear is just fear. It doesn't define us. See opinions and categories and labels as the temporary and fickle things they are.
We need to focus way more on how to be brave. See the common humanity in yourself and others.
Protect yourself, while helping others.
Promote caution, alongside compassion.
Be brave, while overcoming the fear.
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