Monday, April 27, 2020

COVID19 in-house Day 43: Normal? Who Needs It!

Today's gratitude letter is "y".

I was going to make "y" stand for "Yes!". I was going to write about acceptance. The beautiful messages behind the rainbows and "ça va bien aller". How we need to submit to the reality we are living, gracefully. How the very act of being grateful for what we have is a radical act.

Yes, this is all true.

But what about the "why" of Y? 

This crisis is giving some of us an unprecedented opportunity to ask "why"? Of course, people who are struggling to avoid violence, feed their families, and find shelter do not have the luxury of asking thoughtful questions. Their struggle is real, and it is getting more extreme the longer the pandemic forces them to stay home, or gives their oppressors a chance to exert power over them.

But many of us can, and should, ask why. I don't mean the little "whys". The questions about the details of our lives: the legislations, the rules, the changes, even the source of the virus and why it is happening now, in our lifetime ... these are important questions, to be sure.

Our lives right now are handing us a golden opportunity to ask WHY? What habits have I been living my life by, that I now have an opportunity to examine? What decisions have I made over the years that have left me feeling uncomfortable, and why did I make those decisions? Why have I not done what I considered to be the right thing? Why do I continue to live a life that I do not love and cherish? What is stopping me from changing my life, radically, if I decide that I want to pursue a different path? After all, we have just proven to ourselves, over the past few weeks and months, that we can actually make radical changes in our lives and still be happy, and creative, and productive.

Why would we want to go back to the old normal? Why would we want to get back on to the rat track, the spinning wheel of busyness where we don't see each other very often, we never eat together at home, we don't have time to cook, or clean, or spend time with our children, or sit and think and stare at the sky. 

I'm not talking about deciding to start a whole career change, at fifty, because you're bored. That's the easy way out. I'm talking about the more difficult questions: What does it mean that I have children and how much time to I really want to spend with them? How is it possible for me to live with this romantic partner for our whole lives if I can't stand to be stuck in the house with them for longer than a few weeks? What are my coping strategies and how self-destructive are they?  

What if you find out that you actually love staying home and you want to figure out a way to do so? What if you realize that you always find the most miserable approach to any stressful situation? What if you find out that you don't actually love being around people? What if you know, finally, what you've always wanted to do? And now that your mortality has suddenly become a little closer, you realize that you are just going to do it. 

Or not. You may decide to sit on the knife edge for the duration. Constantly reaching crossroads that you don't know how to navigate. Shooting from the hip, saying things out of turn, making new enemies and friends at the drop of a hat. 

You may decide you have had enough, that as soon as this is over (What is "this"?) you will head out, leave everyone behind, change your name and never come back. 

You may realize that everything you've been doing so far is an illusion; that life is suffering; that you have no use; that the world will continue without you as it always has. 

Think about it: what do you want to do? Shall we return to "normal"? Or shall we try to create something from nothing? 

All questions; no answers. I've never been one to tell people what to do; I was a hands-off midwife, always turning the questions of "what should I do?" back to the person asking, so that she could learn her true path. Because, really, you are the midwife of your own life. I am just here to remind you that NOW is the time that you can grasp on to a new way of being. Our window is only open for a little while. Far too soon, the world will be with us again, with its temptations of consuming and rushing and giving away our freedom. 

What shall we do?

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