“We are hardwired to connect with others, it’s what gives purpose and meaning to our lives, and without it there is suffering.” Brene Brown
I vividly remember the lazy Saturday mornings of my childhood when I would slowly come awake as the sun peeked through my blinds and the birds began to chatter. I loved those quiet, peaceful moments. And okay, I’m 52 now, so yes it was a long time ago, but it really seems like an eternity. In the last several decades, a “busyness” has crept in so slowly that many of us can hardly recollect a time when waking up leisurely with nothing to do was OKAY.
Many Americans are finishing week three of “shelter-in-place.” Our worlds have stopped on a dime. Every “normal” thing that we took for granted on a day to day basis has changed. We have joined many countries throughout the world in this effort to flatten the curve of the spread of coronavirus.
And while we are collectively trying to navigate this pandemic and the global ramifications, we are individually trying to process it as well. We are grappling with emotions like grief, gratitude, sadness, anger, compassion, frustration, confusion, powerlessness, joy, fear and even full-on outrage. It’s an emotional roller coaster, to say the least! Sometimes the waves of emotion are slow and gentle and they ease in and lift us up, and other times it feels like a tsunami pulling us out with such force that we can hardly catch our breath!
While we have disconnected from many areas of our lives, in the days and weeks that have already passed I have begun to reconnect to myself and to the world around me in ways that I haven’t in a very long time. We have been given a collective “time-out.” If you have children you are probably familiar with “time-out.” When my kids were toddlers time-out was how I helped them redirect their frustration and aggression. Now, they didn’t always like going into time-out, often kicking and screaming as they were sent to their room! But by the time they emerged they were usually more peaceful and calm. Usually!
So, while we have been placed in time-out, many of us kicking and screaming, this is a chance for us to reconnect with areas of our lives that we have all but dismembered. Many of us are reconnecting to creativity, neighbors that we seldom see, nature that we rarely get a chance to enjoy. Maybe you now have precious time with your own toddler, that you once had to send to daycare for over eight hours a day. Or time with your teen, who is about to go out into the world to start their own journey. Maybe your body has been whispering for years that you need to take care of yourself. Or maybe you have squashed your dreams and passions in order to take on more work to pay your bills. Many people in our communities have suddenly become aware of how big of a problem homelessness is, or how many children struggle to get enough food. With this time-out, we can come together and provide for those that otherwise would have gone unnoticed due to our busyness!