What to do when you don’t know what to do
Like many of you, I am holed up in my rental unit, wondering what the hell will happen next. What will the “new normal” be like, or as I am referring to it now, the “new abnormal.”
Change happens at lightning speed and seems to be different for almost everyone. People who worked in restaurants and bars are faced with an entirely different situation than those working in the medical field. (Thank you to both groups for doing what you do. Life wouldn’t be the same without you.)
The first statement I want to make is “I don’t have the answers.” I’m in the same boat as the rest of us. What I will say is that the boat I am in is on an incredible voyage and I have no idea in what port I will eventually dock. This I do know…I am not alone and I intend to keep sailing. For that I am grateful! Because of the ManKind Project and the World Cafe, I have friends, acquaintances, and associates. I judge, many of them are just like me even though our physical environments may be significantly different.
I also judge that we (individually and collectively) are being challenged by the same or similar circumstances, such as the recent explosion of the COVID-19 disease. Granted, some of us may be young and in good health and others may have health challenges that place us more at risk than others. I happen to be in the latter category. I’m still grateful. I’ve lived a good life with moderate success and I still struggle at times with events beyond my control.
I’m no expert on medicine, psychology, coaching, or any other discipline for which people would pay for expert advice. But, I know what I have experienced and I know what, for now, I believe. (I also know that there are volumes of things I do not know. Yay! more for me to learn!)
Okay, so here is my thoughtful encouragement on how to deal with the current circumstances: (This is also what I am doing)
1. Stay Safe — Think Safety First. I recognize there are different schools of thought here, but no matter what classroom you’re in ask yourself…”what am I willing to risk for whatever it is I think I have to gain by not being conscious of the potential harm that may come as a result of whatever action I might take.” If risking your own safety is of no value to you, please consider those around you.
2. Stay Connected — I know how easy it would be for me to disconnect when I isolate myself, but in this time of uncertainty I believe it’s even more important to stay connected to community. It may be in our best interest to isolate ourselves physically to prevent the spread of this virus, but cutting ourselves off from the connection we have with others is, in my mind, unhealthy. Giving in to fear is so much easier on my own and besides I just may have something that someone else needs to stay glued to the here and now. So when in doubt, pick up the phone or the laptop and stay in touch! Oh, and btw, you might want to try the art of collaborative learning. I think you’ll like the outcome!
3. Stay Present — It’s cliche I know, but it is smart and critical . Getting too far into your past or future, in my opinion, isn’t as sound as paying attention to who and what you are in the present moment. Times like these require our utmost attention and focusing on what we need to do for ourselves, our friends, our families, and our communities necessitates our undivided attention. Clarity of mind in the present moment pays dividends. Daydreaming has its moments as there is a season for everything. I vote for staying present in the season I’m in rather than wandering off before this season is over.
4. Stay True to Yourself — I’m talking about practicing what you know to be true for you. I’m not suggesting to stay stagnent, not to try something new. By all means, if there is something out there for you that inspires you, I say go for it. What I am saying is to be yourself. If you know yourself to be a pragmatic person now may not be the time to become an idealist. I’m suggesting that in this moment, choosing to practice what you know you are good at may be more advantageous than going off on a tangent. If you want to try something new, take on a partner, stay connected with someone who knows you and will help you stay accountable to who you are until the time for change is really upon you. If, on the other hand, you are one who would normally change in midstream and an opportunity comes your way that would be benficial to you…again, I say go for it!
”When you are imprisoned by fear, there is only one means of escape…the truth.” — B. Stuart Noll
One last thought. This is as personal as I can get with people I do not know. I need you and that part of you that is the me that I have yet to discover.
Blessings my friends!