Like me, you’ve probably had lots of conversations in recent weeks about how we are all coping with this sudden shift in our day to day lives. We’ve gotten through the initial shock and disbelief, and now we are settling into management systems, which necessarily remain fluid and responsive to changing information.
There are undeniable challenges and tragedies. And at the same time, I’m hearing some folks talk about “sweet surprises,” as one person called it. Time to spend with family, read a book, work in the garden, take a walk, call a friend. Another person spoke of opportunities, a chance to slow down, contemplate the deep questions, engage more fully in a spiritual practice, a chance to stop doing and just be.
Some people embrace these opportunities; others resist them. I have spoken with a few people who have the freedom right now to take advantage of these opportunities to step out of their usual hustle bustle, but they seem unable to, offering numerous justifications for why they must carry on, even if they are overwhelmed.
So that got me thinking. What are we afraid of? What is so scary about empty space, time to do nothing? Where does the demand come from to, as one person says, “soldier on”? What do we think would happen if we just stopped? Really stopped.
Circumstances have stopped a lot of external things for us. Yet many of us have continued on at the same speed internally. What lurks in the shadows of stillness that is so threatening?
This is not about what we should or shouldn’t do. This is about a chance to be curious, to see ourselves and our lives in a different way. To question our basic assumptions, to reveal our hidden expectations, to explore who we are when we are not what we do.
Perhaps our inquiry starts with a gentle awareness of our resistance, our anxiety, our grief. If we accept ourselves and whatever our experience is with honesty and compassion, we might discover some sweet surprises. We might even allow ourselves to enjoy them.
Let us accept truth, even when it surprises us and alters our views. ~George Sand
It’s that element of surprise. When you lose control, you discover new things. ~Daniel Lanois