How Can We Learn to Appreciate This Crisis?
How many times in the past few weeks have we received emails starting with "we're navigating unprecedented times" or something to that effect? Well, it is true enough to restate. In visiting with parents and much older individuals, nothing like this has happened in our lifetimes.
My question today is what is there for us to learn from the current situation? I firmly believe that life provides us with opportunities to evolve; grow as friends, children, parents, neighbors, and human beings. Are we learning yet? :) There have been a couple other infectious diseases that have expressed themselves in the past 102 years and they may have been the little tap on our shoulder trying to get our attention. But like our health, when we don't learn the lesson from the "first tap", sometimes the condition has to escalate to get our focus. I'm not saying we didn't learn anything from the previous epidemics/pandemics, but maybe there is still more to learn. However, we can only do that if we're willing to ask the question.
Is it possible that we had become too wrapped up in our busy lives to remember what truly mattered? Had we become too attached to our routines and "things" that really weren't serving us? Is there a chance we'd fallen victim to the "us vs them" mentality that is spread so fervently on almost every media outlet and social networking page? Had we forgotten to take care of the very planet that was sustaining us?
During this time of forced social distancing and significantly more free time (unless you're a workaholic able to carry on business as usual from your home or someone who works in an essential business that is providing all of us with our daily care and needs), ask the questions and look at some of the answers. What I've noticed is just how many more people are spending time outdoors, walking dogs, biking, hiking, sitting on porches, playing yard games, having dinners at home, communicating more with the people in their circles. People are also pulling together (not physically) by helping out elderly neighbors, supporting local businesses if possible, being kind to each other from across the street. We're also learning new ways to stay in touch with our loved ones who don't live in our home with video conferencing, playing games together online, or even watching a movie together. I'm hearing more people doing projects they have put off or learning new hobbies that they have always wanted to. And as amazing, if not more, is our earth is healing. It's only been a few months and air quality has improved drastically, water channels are clearing, and significantly less toxins are being dumped into our systems. Countries are helping each other and researchers all over the world are working to solve this issue that has united us.
Is it possible to hold on to these new patterns when the crisis is over? Can we recognize that we have to take care of ourselves, each other, and our planet? Notice, this virus isn't playing favorites, there is no one immune to it regardless of race, culture, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. We are all one species, regardless of any exclusion criteria we have implemented to try and persuade people otherwise.
When this ends, and it will, can we learn these lessons and be stronger for it? I think we can, I think we have to. Take this time to reflect and then let us all evolve to the best version of ourselves we can be.