They say that money and alcohol are amplifiers – that all they do is enhance what was already there. If you’re sad, you’ll be sadder. If you’re angry, you’ll be more so. If you’re happy, generous, community oriented – likewise. It seems that crisis is the same. It amplifies what was already there, even if we didn’t realise it was there.
At first it was a bit of a joke. A weird kind of holiday. If they required us to stay home, it was mildly irritating, but mostly okay! And then it started to be about choice, or lack thereof. And fear, and control, and personal space. It started to be about boundaries, and family, and survival. Slowly, the last few months have taken us on a journey that’s questioned what we all believe and hold on to at a very base level. They did warn us at the beginning of lockdown that it would cause a degree of psychological stripping away and it would bring many people face to face with themselves. I’m not sure we really figured how close.
Martin Luther King said, “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” That seems to have remained spot on, not only for each of us as individuals, but for businesses big and small, for communities, for leaders and for countries. Who we have become during challenge and controversy has been interesting. I know I’ve not always been comfortable with, or liked what I’ve seen in myself. Hopefully, the ability to examine that is “character building”.
As weird and occasionally exhausting as it’s been, what an absolute gift it’s been too! It’s been a time of examination of self and of the world around me. It’s been a time of questioning of my own boundaries, and what I want and expect for my life moving forward.
Of the information that I’ve chosen to feed off of lately, a few things have resonated with me along these lines. I’m aware, that my own questioning has done what questioning always does and thrown up contrast. Contrast that allows me to examine the fullness of what I want and don’t want. What I choose and what I no longer choose. I believe we’re all being given far more choice than we perhaps think we are.
In her weekly thought published on LinkedIn, Arianna Huffington quoted Arielle Pardes’ view of time during the pandemic, noting that there are other factors at play, including our collective uncertainty about when it will end and what’s waiting on the other side. Arielle wrote in Wired, “Coronatime has no scale. ‘Time’ has become a stand-in for all that we cannot control. It is both the breakneck speed at which things are changing, and the burden of how much is staying the same. We are scared this might go on forever. We are scared it might end too soon.”
Matthew Hussey said simply, “You’re not behind, you’re ahead.”
Meaning that for all of us sitting there feeling that we’ve dropped behind where we should be and what we should be doing, the reality is actually that we’re ahead of where we would have been thought and development-wise if the virus had not hit. Our thinking has sped up and intensified. Our awareness of our surroundings, of other people and of where our own lives are and who we choose to be in them has vaulted forward with intensity that would not have existed without this chapter in time.
You’re not behind, you’re ahead.
Have you noticed it? The increase in contrast? Have you noticed that the things you want and don’t want seem so much louder? Perhaps they’re not clearer yet, or perhaps it’s the “how” that’s getting in the way of clarity. But for now, all that’s required is that we still ourselves long enough to listen.
Listen to ourselves. Listen to the core of who we are and who we choose to be moving forward. Listen to what’s being reflected back to us when we choose to put different things out into the world. Listen to the contrast, because what we don’t want is often louder and more obvious than what we do want. Listen to how that contrast feels in your core, and pay attention to how you’d like your core to feel. Question your standards. Perhaps rearrange or realign them. Examine what it is you’d like to see reflected around you and what part you play in making that happen.
Adversity, certainly on this scale, has a way of making us feel small. Actually, that’s the complete opposite of what’s happening. Have you tried expressing an opinion lately? The world is buzzing with energy just waiting to ripple when you throw something into it. Everything is personal right now, from the price of pizza to the decisions world leaders make that impact our freedom to move around the globe.
Relish this time. Relish the rawness and the speed of it. Relish the choice of privacy in that rawness and the slowness of each day locked away whilst out thoughts race and develop. Relish the contrast you see around you that invites you to be, do and have something different. Relish the power you have when you speak and act, and above all, be gentle and wise when you do, noting the ripples you make in other people’s rawness. Relish what is here now, today.
The questions remain the same, even as the time and our development moves forward:
Who do you choose to be? Who will you show up as? What is your intention when you move forward and outwards? Because who you are right now matters. It is putting out ripples that will last and be remembered long after the energy of our families and communities have settled again. Are you putting out what you’d like to get back? Without wanting to sound too cliché, what is the change you’d like to see in the world? What have you gained and discovered in this time that you’d rather not forget or let go of again once the world opens up again?
by Christen Killick
June 29th, 2020