I am of the opinion that my life belongs to the whole community and as long as I live, it is my privilege to do for it whatever I can. I want to be thoroughly used up when I die, for the harder I work the more I live."
– George Bernard Shaw
One of the most difficult things about 2020 is not being able to make plans for anytime far into the future. Unfortunately, here in the U.S., we still do not have the infection rates of the coronavirus under control. For everyone, that could mean more closures of commerce, schools and businesses in case there is an outbreak or a spike. The natural rhythm and harmony of my life often fall out of balance these days and manifest in many ways, but the most debilitating for me is feeling a total loss of control over my life. Due to the pandemic, I was not able to move forward with my plans of opening a small business as I had dreamed about doing for many years prior to the pandemic.
I know that I am not alone in dashed dreams, let’s take this year’s class of 2020 graduates throughout the world that have been robbed of a grand ceremony of one of their crowning achievements for example. Or, the many weddings that were planned to take place in 2020 that have been canceled, drastically reduced in numbers of attendees or are being planned virtually. I often hear the same stories around me, plans being canceled, and the frustration of living in a constant state of not knowing.
I also had not made a plan B when the world abruptly came grinding down to a total halt, and I know many of you can relate. Since we all had to shelter in place inside this spring, I had plenty of time to lament, imagine and mull over the loss of plan A. I was still hanging on even though what I had hoped to accomplish pre-pandemic was quite possibly unrealistic now given the all the limitations of social distancing, the weak economy and a wary, traumatized public.
What could I do? I could be a better, kinder more patient person to those right near me and participate in community building during social distancing.
“If you want to go quickly, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
Letting in the Good
After the trauma of the recent riots and with tensions running high, I am fully advocating for actively creating a stronger, tight-knit community with your neighbors, family and friends. Following all guidelines and rules for safe socializing is now the new normal, but now is the time to work together.
Choosing the right people for your tribe could not be more prudent right now. It is often said when the hard times hit, you know who your real friends are. Who are they? Do you have friends who could help immediately in case you need it? Call them often, don’t just text them and remind them that you are available too. This is not the time to face anything alone. Make conversation with your neighbors regularly and preferably from a long distance. Let them know that you are able to help out just in case and exchange numbers.
The solidarity of people coming together via the balconies and windows of quarantined neighborhoods all over the world was a bright, encouraging light during an otherwise bleak time. It showed us that with community, we can pull together and get through even the most difficult.
At some point, we must realize the futility of fretting about current unpredictability, and that is the point that we surrender to living fully in the present moment. Like all things that produce the rewards we seek, there must be some hard work, and the hard work involves letting go of anything that does not serve your highest and best good. One of the easiest ways to be present is to help someone else, and even the small things make a big difference.
Letting go of those not meant for us is an act of surrender
We have to deal with an unpredictable and possibly unhealthy outside world, so, we must be able to depend on the people we have in our inner world for shelter and sanctuary. If someone close to your life constantly triggers a strong negative emotional reaction, instead of reacting, this would be the time to step away and start asking yourself some questions.
Does this person lift you up during defeats and cheer you on during victories? If you cannot answer yes to this simple question, then question yourself as to why you should accept anything less. What would happen if you surrender to letting this person go from your life for just a little bit to focus on yourself? Often the misconception of surrender is the suggestion that one is giving up their power, when instead it is being gained.
As our social lives are changed for the unforeseeable future, we are limiting ourselves to a much smaller community. If you need help making a community during the pandemic, reach out to the people that you see on a regular basis, people from the dog park or even the clerk at the grocery store you see every week. Make sure you learn their names and make a connection. If you have elderly neighbors leave a note by their door with your number and offer your services to run errands for them.
By Jyoti Paintel