As we round the corner towards the autumn season, a time when folks usually get back to work and children return to school from the holiday season, life should slip back into a comfortable pattern of schedule and normal life. But 2020 has been nothing close to normal and fall promises to continue with that chaotic cycle.
There is no denying that this year has been one for the books. I’ve learned to use words this year like, social distance and mask – and terms such as, flatten the curve, and, we are all in this together. There have been other words that have become present in the media as well – black life matters, white privilege, even calling white women, Karen and through it all, the one word that keeps coming to my lips has been, surreal.
But what I really want to talk about is something nearer and dearer to my heart. This is my birthday month, my personal New Year and as such I usually take some time to reflect on the previous year and attempt to create some goals for the year ahead. This year is no different, except that with this chaotic energy swirling about us, how do I plan in times of such uncertainty?
That’s the thing isn’t it. One could argue that life is uncertain and you just have to get on with your plans as best you can and while I subscribe to that line of thinking, I still have this urge to hold my breath a bit and wait for the dust to settle on this unprecedented year.
What I have learned so far in 2020 is that sometimes you have to let go of the oars and allow the current of life take you where it wants. If I was to sum up my life so far this year, that would be a good analogy. But what also is a good description of my life in 2020 is that the universe has had my back. I described it to my friend the other day as if the universe was saying to me, “Look, we got you covered as far as what you need to survive this year so don’t worry about how you’re going to pay the bills and feed yourself. You are needed by others more this year, so we want you to focus on the people around you instead of yourself.”
I’m a Virgo, being of service comes naturally to me. I usually apply that service to the public at large, but this year my nurturing gifts have been needed for the people in my personal circle of influence and as I reflect on the year so far, I see a personal pattern change that we all could learn from. One that if we all participate in and when the chaotic dust of 2020 finally does settle, we may just find ourselves in a kinder, nicer world.
The pandemic has limited our personal freedoms and movement. Heaven knows there have been many protests around the world against the various limitations to our perceived right to do as we please, but perhaps we have been made to shelter in place for a more divine reason than just a pandemic.
Humans are a stubborn lot, when we are force into a little time out for the greater good of all, some of us have a little hissy fit and rebel, and some of us search for alternate options – if I can’t be there in real life, I can be there virtually, and so life shifted online. In this globally connected world, that shift happened almost instantaneously, our insatiable craving for connection to the world outside us would not be constrained by a little virus.
Here is the irony in all this and in the greater scheme of things, perhaps why we won’t see relief from Covid-19 until we make the shift as a conscious collective and allow this chaotic swirl of change to finally blow itself out and settle into a really true and evolved new normal.
Think globally but act locally
This is not a new concept and in fact this little slogan has been around for a while, but never before has it’s meaning meant more than it does right now.
Before life became so global, most of us lived in a small circle of a community. We knew our neighbors and odds were, our families lived within miles of our own home. The people that you cared about where in your day to day life and as a group, we relied on each other as a collective to make life better for all. Our actions were always local.
An idyllic thought from a time long past but one that this pandemic gave us a glimpse into once again. From videos of nightly group serenades between high rise balconies in Italy, or the 7pm pot banging salute at shift change for frontline essential service workers in your own home towns, to the neighborhood window displays of paper hearts, a creative expression of outward caring and solidarity all over the world; people were reaching out and connecting with each other.
As I turned my energies to the people who I care about and who needed me, I was opened up to a slower, simpler life. I had no where to go, nowhere I could go, so I let go of the need to be somewhere else, and I became present to where I was, my home. I played, I visited with the people in my social bubble, I even reacquainted myself with neighbors who had endless time themselves. I re-connected to the earth and grew a wonderful garden and shared it’s bounty and in turn, excepted the growing efforts from the gardens of my neighbors, but most of all, I re-connected with my humanity, which for me has become the greatest gift of 2020 in the midst of this global pandemic.
What I know for sure is we can not go back in time. We must always be moving forward. Technology is here to serve us but we must keep vigilant that it does not become our master. We are learning again to use our voices and rise up against injustice but we must be focused on the desired outcome and not what caused the oppression in the first place. We must use the chaotic energy of 2020 to create a better world, one where countries work together to find a vaccine for our common foe and not waste our energies pointing the finger of blame. But most of all, we must find our humanity once again and take action within our communities where we can make the most impact for change in our own lives and for the people that matter the most to us.
There are four more months left in this year and there’s still much chaos yet to happen on the global field but when the dust does finally settle on 2020, what will it’s history be? Will it be written that this was a year that a great pandemic swept over the land? Will it be that this was a year of great social and economic change? Will it be written that the rich got richer and the rest of us suffered? Or will it be, could it be, that 2020 was the year that the people of the earth once again found their humanity and remembered what really matter in life and that while we live in a global world, one that is virtually connected as never before, it is the real life connections with our friends, family, neighbors and with mother earth that matter the most.