Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Hello Educators! Well, we’ve made it to another week although life continues to become even more surreal. Who would’ve thought at the start of the new year that we would be entering Spring on this note? So…how are you managing it all? How are you liking the shift of being at home for long stretches; working from home possibly; caring or checking on family members? What a time we are living in.
I thought I was handling it all quite well until I found myself early one morning at Whole Foods, filling my cart up with a myriad of items as if a famine had just been declared. Mind you, just a few days prior, I had purchased about two weeks’ worth of groceries and had barely made a dent in what we had! Despite this fact, I continued going up and down aisles with full disregard of the list I had created prior to arriving. By the 4th aisle, my cart looked unrecognizable and the actual items I came to purchase still hadn’t been picked up. I realized at that point that I had entered into a space of anxiety and fear. What if we run out of food? What if we’re unable to leave our home and I didn’t get enough for my family? What if the power goes out? What if...what if…what if? I literally stopped myself in the middle of an aisle and talked myself back to a rational state. “Bloodine! What on earth?! Stop…just stop…chill out and put that stuff back!”
I reminded myself of all of the food I already had in my home and that my son and I really were okay. We would not run out of food and starve in our home in a matter of weeks. We were okay. That day, I went home and decided to put parameters around the newsfeed on my phone, I chose to limit the number of updates and press conferences I listened to and upped my time on the different activities that would keep me well. I needed to make an intentional shift to limit the negative dialogue and increase anything that can build me up during this time.
I don’t want to downplay the situation that we’re in at all. It is serious and more so for some than for others. I recognize that many are in significantly challenging situations and unable to figure out how they will manage the basic necessities. Others may be consumed with managing the health and wellbeing of family members or maybe even their own. You may fall into one or several of these categories yourself. No matter where we are on the spectrum of challenge, it is very likely that globally, we are experiencing a level of trauma that is surely having an impact on us individually whether we recognize it or not. As I stood in that grocery store with no real shift in my resources, my family, or my own health, I too experienced a momentary level of anxiety that felt paralyzing. The dread of negative “what if” scenarios possibly coming true was overwhelming.
There isn't much that I can change regarding what is taking place in the world at this time but what I can focus on is what remains within my locus of control and what I choose to plug into and focus on. I might not be able to control the narrative of the story that’s being spun through the news outlets but I can determine the narrative I make my own. I can control the amount of time I allow myself to be immersed in the news, the articles, the updates of the number of confirmed cases around the world. And if I am going to play the “what if” game…why not at least consider a few positive outcomes?
The reality is, what the Coronavirus has given us is a gift that we may have found difficult to obtain on our own. It has given many of us time. Time to finish a project we’d been putting off. Time for the mental space to be creative. Time to stop and think, and dare I say…consider what it is that is most important for us. It may have provided us with an opportunity to increase our connection with others. It has forced us to slow down and has brought our chaotic lives to a screeching halt where we are able to assess and evaluate how things are really going and to reorganize as we see fit. This gift of time, however, will not last forever. This too shall pass and life’s pace will pick up again. The question to consider is, will you use this gift in a way that rebuilds you? Or...will you have spent the time worried and anxious about all of the possible scenarios that never actually occur? There is a quote that states…
“It is the set of the sails, not the direction of the wind that determines which way we will go." - Jim Rohn
Let’s adjust our sails and move in the way that best suits our journey. Although we can't change the situation, we can decide how we will engage in our present reality. The decision we make here can carry far reaching ripple effects into the many areas of our lives. So...relax...and recognize that just because we don't have or know the answer right this moment, it doesn't mean that one doesn't exist. The answers tend to show up right when they are needed so let's learn to adapt while we wait.
In Solidarity and Love,