We are in the midst of a global crisis, one which it has never faced in modern times. Not on this scale anyways. Yes, I’m referring to the coronavirus pandemic.
Personally I’m not worried about my health or those dear to me but I also don’t want to affect anyone else by my lack of concern so I’m staying home, washing hands and… distancing.
There are those who say it is no big deal and we are all overreacting but facts say otherwise. There are those who are panicking but panic is just making things worse; we all need basic supplies after all. But it is the economic impact that I think is the most to worry about. People have and will lose jobs, business will close, entire markets will dry up. It will be intense to say the least.
So what does one do when faced with such intense change on this scale? Be the water…
Let me explain. Think of the change as a rushing stream carrying everything with it at a rapid pace. If you focus on fear you become the rocks that are stuck in the mud. The water rushes over them and they sink deeper and deeper. The change, ie., the water in this metaphor, is going to happen whether you are afraid or not. Those that are locking themselves in their homes with hands raw from washing and their blood pressure rising with each news update, are sinking into their fears, immobilized just like the rocks stuck in the river bed.
But this change, this crisis, is not selective so the people who are downplaying this change and fearlessly rushing to take advantage of cheap flights or ignoring the recommendations and are gathering together, will also be affected.They are, in my metaphor, the flotsam that is swept along by the river of change. The word flotsam has two meanings “the wreckage of a ship or its cargo found floating on or washed up by the sea” or “people or things that have been rejected and are regarded as worthless”. Those that ignore the crisis and the impending change that it demands, may flow free for a while, laughing at what they see as overreaction by everyone else, but eventually the change will divert them unexpectedly until they crash into the rocks of fear.
The only thing we know for certain is change is coming. One way or another, everyone’s lives are going to be different after this crisis. Therefore, the best way to survive this change, in my opinion, is to embrace it. Be the change, be the water. Step outside of the situation, of how it affects you personally and immediately, let go of what you can’t control, prepare where you can, and most importantly, see how you can adapt, adjust your life and expectations so you are more aligned with the change instead of resisting it. Allow the change to lead you in new directions.
Of course there is tremendous stress with this change, no doubt about it, and I don’t mean to minimize how intense that will be for many, including myself, as we protect our health and may be forced to seek new forms of income. But by accepting that the change will happen, you can have more control on how you experience that change and where it leads you.
Here’s an example. Back in 2017, I decided I wanted to become a yoga instructor so I signed up to start training in the fall. Just before Thanksgiving, I noticed a lump in my breast that turned out to be cancerous. My life was turned upside down. Two more lumps were discovered and 4 days after I graduated as a yoga instructor, I had a bilateral mastectomy with reconstruction, an 8 hour surgery.
Cancer was not welcome, this pandemic is not welcome either. While having cancer completely sucked, now it is 3 years later and my life has evolved where I teach yoga to people with injuries and other health issues. My personal health issues has allow me to heal others. The river of change led me to a positive result but I had to wind around many rocks to get here.
So my advice is, see the positive where you can while we ride this out. Enjoy the time at home by reading the books you never have time for, spring clean the house, dive into a craft project, cook the meals you have been too busy to make, and cherish the family you get to spend more time with. Seize the opportunity of this current isolation to become more self-reflective. Reexamine your goals. Maybe it’s time to look at a new career path, different area to live, or finally start that book. You now have time to consider everything while we let this all play out.
That’s how I’m approaching it anyway, I’m immersing myself in this river of change and seeing where I float to…