Did we just go back to “normal?” Because it’s not working.
Do you remember in the beginning of the pandemic how deeply we wanted things to just “go back to normal?” And as certain things did, there was a sense of relief and a return from our exile. A sigh-like feeling of “Yes. This is how it’s supposed to be. I’m back in a giant indoor play space with my kids again. Sure missed this crowded enclosed space.” (Well, maybe that last bit was just me!)
But there were also people saying, “we CAN’T go back to way it was.” Because “the way it was,” wasn’t actually working. Not for most people. Sometimes it feels like the only take-aways from the pandemic are the fact that everyone now wants you to check in/order/sign-up online. If that’s true, we’re missing out. Because the pandemic was a lighting bolt for many. A catalyst. A wake-up.
Here’s a good metaphor. The other night, in the middle of the night, while fast asleep, I heard a large thud. I also felt it. I rolled over and asked Tommy if he’d heard and felt it. He had.
It was the bed. The middle board had completely cracked. After I got out of bed, I looked back at Tommy, sunk down in the middle as if the two sides were sandwiches. I’d only bought the bed frame about six months earlier.
I called the company and they tossed me off to the supplier. I called the supplier and they offered to send me a replacement for the center board. I had to explain that the frame was TOO broken to have a new board attached. Then they offered to give me a replacement bed frame.
Do you know what the problem is with that?
If it’s not obvious, let me tell you another story. For years, when I was much younger, I lived with a lover who was an alcoholic. Every time they left, I felt destroyed. Every time they came back I felt…relief. Things were “normal” again.
We are creatures of familiarity. We often do what’s not best for us because it’s known to us and known is comfortable. We get afraid and afraid of change. We don’t know how to walk out of one picture and into another.
Back to the bed now. Imagine taking a new middle board and attaching it to the places where the original one ripped off. A lot of people try to do that. Get one new part but don’t bother to correct or repair or replace the structure. We do that with how we think, how we live, how we reason. We go further when we replace things, don’t we? But I didn’t want the replacement bed frame because I no longer trusted the product. It had literally crumbled underneath us while we slept. That’s a badly designed bed! What I wanted was a refund so that I could get something different.
My friends, we need a refund. We need to get something new. The still covid/not so much covid world isn’t an invitation back into an abusive relationship with someone who wasn’t good for us in the first place. I mean, it feels like that. But it’s NOT that. It’s not a moment to just sit back in the crowd and do what you’ve always done. What you did before.
It’s an opportunity into something deeper, more meaningful, more life giving, more healing, more holistic, more encompassing, more universal. A moment for unthought of ideas. I talk about these kinds of fresh ideas in last week’s podcast–and about the power of thinking new ideas even if we those ideas don’t end up working. Just thinking them shifts things for us.
If the pandemic stirred up a lot of things for you (which it did for everyone), have you taken the time to wrestle with that stuff and dig up the gold? Have you sifted through the rubble and found the treasures? Have you used what came up during that time to propel you in new directions?
In my mentorship work, I’m always inviting people to think differently, even if that means thinking differently about something you’ve thought the same thing about for fifty years. We already released the familiar in the “unprecedented” moment of the pandemic. The question is what do we grab ahold of now?
YES! Thank you for your reflections, Sam.
Moving into the gifts of the “unprecedented!”