With folks now stuck at home, I guess many of us who don't write in quick-grab social media sound bites, but rather in a more essay form are, perhaps, getting our due.
Whatever the case, those of us who have been preaching about more intentional living for literally all our public lives, are suddenly being searched out. I have recent clicks on blogs I wrote over a decade ago, proving that increasingly, the hunger for positive reinforcement is on the climb.
What amazes me most in the comments, is the one common thread that’s beginning to emerge. At a time when what we’ve perceived as a ‘suspension’ of the quality of life taken for granted, what’s been replaced or even gained, is “time”. Time to …well, just shut up long enough to hear our own inner voices once again.
Ironically, it seems that the quality of life we thought we wanted and missed, is fueling an even richer quality of life many would have probably never discovered otherwise.
I hear from fathers who are reconnecting with the very same children who’ve been under that very same roof all along.
I’ve received photos and MP4s from people who’ve never picked up a paint brush or touched a keyboard or written anything but an email. The content is truly spectacular and deeply compelling. --Undeniable evidence that our creativity has obviously been there the whole time. We just never seem to be quiet long enough to tap into it. Or worse, we’ve never given it the value and respect it so richly deserves.
Is it possible that in the middle of pandemic confinement, we’re rediscovering who we really are when left to our own devices? When our focus shifts from being paranoid news junkies, brittle workaholics, self-entitled opportunists, judgmental influencers or all-around scaredy-cats, have we’ve finally found a moment to just be still?
Has this shared experience actually acted as a global pause button?
Are we beginning to suspect that real self-reliance, unmotivated by approval, is actually within our individual grasp?
Well, if the letters I’ve received are any indication, the answer is a resounding YES! “Don’t know what you got till it’s gone?”
Have we actually “paved paradise and put up a parking lot,” without ever knowing it?
In a response to one gal who finally had the courage to reinvent, perhaps feeling that finally she really had nothing left to lose, I wrote:
"There comes that moment when one finally realizes that the only thing that matters is TOTAL self-acceptance. --We THINK we get it, but we really don't until we block the fear and let the quiet and steady inner voice finally speak to us.
That’s the thing will the creative heart. It refuses to yell over the constant white noise of our brains that can process only what we already know (and all the projecting, fear-based luggage we pile on every thought). Geez! LOL
When we finally are willing to give up the insatiable need, we humans have for "approval", only then can we connect to the unbelievable magic of our eternal creative spirit.
Only then can we dispense with the life we were taught to have, forgive ourselves for the life(s) we thought we wanted, and finally live in the moment where anything is possible…because it's centered in the new belief that the spiritual creative transformation is ours alone. A journey that’s never over. "
More importantly, we begin to understand that, at the core, it’s never about fitting in nor, which “side” we culturally fall on. It never was.
It’s a quiet, deeply personal thing we unlock from within. From the little survival toolkit, we brought with us…the one buried deep in our emotional basement; hidden under all the fear we accumulate day after day, year after year.
Could it be that we’re wakening up? --Not just about social injustice, inequalities or annealable rights, but something way deeper than that? Is it about our choices and the part we inadvertently play that’s contributed to what’s happening in the world around us? --The little choices we don’t question, don't have the energy to rebuke, or just ignore--so we just go along with them having no idea how they accumulate?
Well the answer to that is YES too.
In a world where blame is supposed to be ok now, we’ve forgotten the part we all play in it too. A great illustration of this can been seen in a new 6-part series on HBO called, of all things…Years And Years. It’s a noble attempt worth a look-see and an engaging binge-watch.
Anyway, I digress. My point is and has always been, that we must have the courage to actually BE different. That doesn’t happen by simply "naming" that difference, but actually being it. We now have more new labels to distinguish ourselves than any other time in human history.
We think that by simply reclassifying ourselves, that it sends up a flag for others (who identify with the new label) to find each other.
Beyond superficial support....find each other and do what?
If we truly DO accept ourselves, deep in our spirit and understand that each and every one of us is completely different anyway, aren’t these new labels simply another kind of cry for mass approval? Are we saying that we can’t be exactly who we are without a tribe ---another social order? Another separate line drawn in the sand and one more political group looking for power in numbers in order to be or feel validated or to force change we refuse to make in ourselves first? Are we still afraid that alone, all by our selves, we're not enough?
Perhaps what this indiscriminate virus is brutally showing us is that we are all, by species, exactly the same.
While group agreement will be the only way to physically combat it, in the end our personal, individual quality of spiritual life can only be enhanced by the new choices and priorities and values we determine for, and about our individual selves.
Only we, alone--in the privacy of our individual heart whispers do we know our personal secrets and our real truths.
Only we have the power to evaluate what we were, what we are and how we’ll use what’s in our inherent creativity toolboxes, to reshape our futures.
The only thing that cuts us off from our ability to re-dream, re-imagine and ultimately transform is the lack of faith and self-acceptance in ourselves.
The gateway to begin that process of healing is through our personal creativity.
If we can put our human fear of circumstantial survival into check and learn to differentiate it from the limitless power of our personal creativity, only then can we surmount literally anything. However, that can’t happen through fear because where there is fear, there simply is no creativity.
So, let us all dig a little deeper, past the scary, rocky surface and into the deep wellspring of our personal creativity. As things slowly begin to reopen only half way through this pandemic, let's remember what we've learned about ourselves and use it, not fear or entitlement, to lead us forward.