Did it really have to take a pandemic to allow us to all slow down a bit?
With long lines at grocery stores and warnings not to come together in groups, our expectations for speed and efficiency have dropped to an all-time low. We have retreated to our homes and find ourselves spending unexpected ‘quality’ time with families and neighbors. Our beautiful planet has found a way to get a break so she can rest, recuperate and replenish herself after all the ways we humans have been burdening her.
Many of us are fearing the worst wondering how this pandemic will affect our children, our health, our economy and the larger systems we all rely on. There is SO much to be afraid of if we continue to focus on the past and the project it into the future as we navigate this change. Our focus on past plagues and the loss and fear they generated are terrorizing us today. Our focus on an imagined future where we are in even more fear than we are now is terrorizing us today! Is this the only way we can respond?
What if this slow down offers a new choice? A choice of focus. Where do you choose to focus? In the fear and contraction about what we have no control over? Or in the expansion and gratitude of what we do have?
When we connect to our gratitude in every moment it allows us to fill ourselves, and THEN support others in compassionate and generous ways.
Here is some of the GOOD NEWS about what is happening as a result of the pandemic. We are not commuting to and from work. We are not sitting on the bus or other public transportation to get to school or other events since most of them have been canceled. Retreats and conferences are postponed. Flights are canceled. Cars are in driveways or garages, children are out playing in the yard after their on-line lessons. People are watching movies together in living rooms with home-made popcorn, and we are together at night to look at the moon and the stars.
Our air pollution levels are dropping as we slow down our lives and stop traveling at the typical daily pace. High school youth are supporting younger students whose parents have to work. People are now learning and committed to using proper hygiene for the first time around the world. New mandates are being implemented about sick days so sick people do not have come to work and spread disease like a badge of honor. Workplaces are figuring out how to maintain operations with fewer working hours and there will be increased opportunities for telecommuting once the danger has passed. This contributes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, better housing prices and more time with family and friends.
While our ego hates the uncertainty and the inability to figure out how and when things will get back to normal, we do not have to buy into its story about how we are headed for a fearful future.
What if this IS the new normal? Now is the time to bring our attention back to each moment where we have real control. Where we can find our highest nature and do what is most loving for us without making others wrong or bad for the choices that feel best to them.
Now is the time to play with the children, take that walk, make that soup, connect with a neighbor, call your siblings, shake it all off, focus on the now, take a deep breath, let others know how you feel, sit with a tree, talk to a bird.
How can you enjoy the current slow-down in life?
I love this invitation so very much, Wendy! Thank you!! I am THERE inside the gratitude and the joy of being alive. I’m blessed beyond measure to be writing, making videos, sharing my passions and soul purpose with whoever wants to listen, to be connecting on the phone-actual phone calls with elderly friends and beloved ones, to be relishing the beauty of nature that surrounds me. I am ALIVE and this rushes through my body every single morning that I wake up-even when I’m in tears of grieflove for the suffering of so many people right now. I’ve lived through so many unbelievably hard things in my life since birth (6 months old my head got badly burned by hot steam) and I came through to this moment in time. I’ve been reframing and healing and transforming my entire life including practicing deep gratitude for all that I have and all that I am. Thank you so much for this essay because this kind of shifting is possible! I’m a living testimonial to that possibility. Many hugs to you, my friend!! What an exceptional time to be alive, to share the gratitude and hope as often and as consistently as we can!!
Thank you for sharing your experience and being the evidence of hope, gratitude and all things possible! ❤
Wendy I too agree the slowing downs has been great. Thank you for the inspiration.
I’m so glad Larry! I love seeing the picture of you and your dog. Exactly the feeling we are going for!
Thank you for this, Wendy! Yes, let us savor those small things we took for granted and develop a new appreciation—what a lovely, up-best reminder for the start of a new week.💖
Yes! Thank you for the encouragement to savor! Enjoy the week!
Wonderful article Wendy! I agree now is the time to be present, and I have been surprised how quickly some of my friends and family have gained a new sense of what is important, as the shock wears off. My first impulse when this crisis began was to jump on the computer and write an article, but my inner voice said “heal yourself first”. That was a bigger shock than the virus because I thought I had already done the inner work to keep me balanced through this time period. The analogy of putting your oxygen mask on first before helping others comes to me. This is a time to go inside and straighten out the bends in the road that were unseen. We have a choice to use this time to make ourselves better physically, mentally and emotionally, so we can help our friends and family and then join the work ahead of reshaping our lives as humans on earth. Thanks for sharing your wisdom.
Love that analogy Helen. AND I love this statement you made; ‘This is a time to go inside and straighten out the bends in the road that were unseen’. That is exactly the opportunity right now. Who cares if we thought we already handled that. If the last layers and ‘bends’ are ready to straighten out – bring it on! Thank you so much for sharing.
Wendy, great perspective on our current state of affairs! I admit I’m one of those who still goes 90 mph in my life if I can — even at this age! But especially since it’s spring and the weather is starting to cooperate, I’m enjoying the slower pace. This pace works wonderfully well with where I live — four houses up from a large bay in southeastern Mass., which is just gorgeous!
I hope everyone is able to take a moment or two and enjoy what we have, although I realize this experience will be far tougher for many.
Susan I can so relate! It’s taken me quite while to let go of my over-achieving pace and find one that actually honors my natural rhythm. This is tougher for many and yet I’m glad you are finding a pace that works for you! Thank you so much for sharing.
Beautiful, Wendy! I do admit, I am loving the slowing down. I’ve always been happiest when I’m contemplating my navel or walk in nature and now there’s ample permission to do both! You’re absolutely right that our experience is determined by our focus on a minute-by-minute basis.
I love the slowing down too Kim. Sometimes my ego comes in and scolds me for it, yet I’m learning to let those comments go by without a reaction. Yes-minute by minute is the focus that seems to work best for me. Glad that works for you too. Thank you so much for sharing your experience!