I hear it often. “Can’t wait till we can return to normal.” And I think to myself, “Really?”
Now let me be clear. I am not a heartless creature who wishes suffering or pain on anyone. I am well aware that Covid 19 has entered our lives and taken many away. It entered our bodies and left millions sick and it interrupted life as we have known it and left millions without work, and shelter and enough to eat. Because of this virus, towns and cities have been shut down, and we have been asked to take responsibility to stop the spread, by staying home. We all know that. So before we rush, (yes I am intentionally using that word) back into the world that cut down trees, and filled our oceans with plastic, and dumped toxic rubbish near towns and villages, and stopped the distribution of food for political reasons, perhaps it would better serve us to look again at our world that has, for the last few months, stopped.
We have been given an opportunity to have a tiny glimpse at a world that could be different.
We have been given a glimpse of a world that is cleaner, clearer and moves a little more slowly. What a pleasure it has been to have longer conversations without those blasted interruptions of an iPhones ringing in the middle of a sentence. We have been given a peek at how working from our home gives our children a chance to eat more meals with their parents, watch a movie together and more importantly go out for walks together.
Communities have not only sprung up focusing on how they can help others and make a difference but many people have welcomed their communities love and care and now feel seen and heard and remembered in ways that didn’t always happen.
We have begun to see ourselves in a different way.
Some of us have been so frightened we are willing to fight for a packet of toilet paper or buy 7 cans of Glen 20 just to be ‘safe.’ Some of us have done everything possible to avoid being alone. Zooming three times a day and watching Netflix for the remaining hours.
Some of us have avoided the one thing that would give us peace of mind. Without this there is no space to ask and hear what all this means and where to go to next. Silence. Some of us talk about being bored with doing nothing and yet doing nothing is the gateway to wisdom. Doing nothing, sitting in silence, opens our consciousness to ideas, imagination, and guidance. As long as we fill our hours with chatter and stuff to do, we cannot create or contemplate, we cannot meditate and concentrate on growing, on evolving, on learning and taking a risk or two. Without taking risks we cannot grow.
The one and only thing that can open ourselves to our inner wisdom, is silence. Sitting still. Not looking down at our phones or filling in all the hours, but giving ourselves the gift of silence between the actions.
Some people have discovered that not only can they still run a business at home but they can teach their children and cook and clean, and smile, yes, still smile! and manage brilliantly. Of course they are tired. It’s been huge, but did you know you could do it? And you did it so well.
We are so much more than we give ourselves credit for.
So, what is the normal we so desperately want to return to? This experience of the world stopping is not an accident. It is an opportunity to look at our lives, at how we have chosen to live and to ask ourselves do we want to go back to that; to rushing to meetings, speeding off to Pilates, squeezing in speedy phone calls in the car and scratching out those surreptitious texts at the next red light. It’s okay to be busy but not if it steers you further and further away from your heart.
For those who were constantly helping their children and grandchildren, coming home and sharing only with a good friend or two how exhausted and tired they are, how every bone in their body aches, we have now seen that our children have managed well without us. No one is indispensable. Is that the normal you can’t wait to return to? No, I’m not saying we stop being available, I’m saying being available only when it works.
Yes our world stopped. And maybe it stopped to show us all how important it is for everyone to occasionally stop too.
And to consider the most pressing question of our time.