Awareness and reflection in this liminal time.
There is no going back to “Normal”- change is inevitable. Thus, this virus has thrust us into liminal time, the space or threshold in-between, the question is, how will you use this time?
This Covid-19 pandemic has demanded much change from us, I dare say, everyone on the planet, to stop the routines we were accustomed to and isolate. Now however, the mandate is to stay home, isolate, without having the usual distractions of work, sports, and social gatherings… to interfere with our important work of being present and aware. We now have this opportunity of time.
As I listen to friends and observe on social media two patterns have emerged. First, there was the expected reaction of fear, very prevalent in the news and politics, where blame, impulsive reactions without facts, hoarding of supplies, sharp increase in domestic violence… all evidence of pervasive fear.
I know fear personally, both as a father and a father of a nurse.
In the face of fear, there are three natural responses: flight, fight, or freeze. It is equally natural to feel overwhelmed leading to paralysis. As author James Hollis wrote, “ Each morning the twin gremlins of fear and lethargy sit at the foot of our bed and a smirk."
Will we succumb to these natural impulses or have the courage to face ourselves through awareness.
Secondly, people want hope and positivity so started to be creative, posting fun videos and meet ups on Zoom, or seeking to create connection by sending a positive message of hope through inviting people to post pictures of their favorite vacation spot, or album etc. on Fb.
I suggest another direction, inward to our authentic selves. This liminal time is initiatory by nature, bringing us closer to our true-selves.
Since isolation, reflection, and awareness are part of any meditation process, and is fundamental in rites-of-passage experiences, I’ve been wondering how I / we could use this time efficiently and purposefully.
Sitting quietly in refection with awareness with questions such as: Who are you discovering today? What parts of you have you yet to meet? What behaviors would serve you to let go of, or begin?
What / who is truly important to you? What are your core values?
I was recently inspired by my son, when I asked what he was doing today, responded, “ I’m researching: information, skills, and techniques to enhance my private coaching - physical fitness and training runners.”
Out to this conversation a question occurred to me, How might you use this time so that when you look back after the “Stay Put” is lifted, you feel proud of what you've accomplished? So whether that’s developing a meditation practice, learning a new language, practicing a new skill, researching an area of interest, spending time in nature, deepening intimacy with family members…pursue that which calls to you.
Further, I know from personal experience and those I work with, that left on our own, there is weakness , yet, with support we are powerful beyond imagination. It is easy to fall into lethargy and old ineffective patterns. However, when we make a declaration to another, we become committed. Therefore, I suggest that once you have identified how you plan to use these next months, identify a “wingman”- a person you will be in contact with to make your declaration to and use for support.
One of my favorite quotes from William Hutchinson Murray speaks clearly to this, “ Until one is committed there is hesitancy the chance to fall back, always ineffectiveness….that moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too.”
There is no , going back, only forward through whatever shows up during this unprecedented event. This liminal time has presented us with a challenge and a gift, and for some, loss and heartache. How will you create your future for yourself, your relationships, the planet?
Stay safe and be well. May this journey bring you home to yourself. We will get through this !