Our new ‘normal’ feels anything but, yet relinquishing resistance can provide the best medicine for the soul
Sometimes feelings are just impossible to describe.
I recently awoke with a real sense of loss floating about me like a dark cloud above my head. Ironically it was a pristine and perfect summer morning — crystal blue skies, birds chirping, sweet air…and still with heaviness. My heart felt tenderized, soft and vulnerable — a complex mix of wanting to cry both tears of sorrow and joy. All parts of me felt confused.
I sat with it. Acknowledged its presence, invited it to be instead of shooing it away. It was safe with me and yet, I didn’t fully understand it. Nor did I want it to overstay its welcome.
Later that morning on a walk I realized it all felt like life in a takeout box. You know how takeout from a restaurant just doesn’t feel, taste and satisfy you the way it does when food is beautifully presented on a plate in a restaurant filled with ambiance and energy and delivered to your table? It’s just not the same experience in any sense. And the process of trying to make it so is not only exhausting, but futile.
This is a time of loss. Nothing is normal, nothing appears to be returning to ‘normal’ anytime soon. I glance out the window at Mother Nature’s majestic summer scape in my backyard and I sigh relief. Thank God this is where I get to hibernate and be. Thank you, God. But I remind myself that it’s also where I need to stay put right now and to settle into what IS. I have to let go.
COVID has shut us down in more ways than we can imagine — some of which are more dangerous and insidious than any virus.
I feel grief and it needn’t be quantified. There are so many things I miss — hugs, dinners with friends that languish and fade into the wee hours, freedom and ease…deep belly laughter. I miss being able to move about in and out of shops in my little town daydreaming, I miss exercising — yoga and Pilates classes, I miss travel — I miss spontaneity — drive-bys, drop-ins, parties and the freedom to be impulsive.
Yet, I did what many of us did — I waited it out…phase 1, phase 2, phase 3…. can we come out yet? Can I get my hair done? A manicure? Go on vacation? Meet a friend for coffee? Hug someone? Feel safe?
Then finally, things began to open…s-l-o-w-l-y. Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I thought we could rush back to ‘business as usual’. Oh, the wishful thinking.
I’m done with making the best of it. I’m done with searching for silver linings. Because the truth is that despite our best and most creative efforts — it’s not the same. Things aren’t the same and it feels like dinner in a cardboard container with plastic silverware and a scratchy, paper-thin napkin.
Of course I was over the moon getting a manicure after months on end, but my sweet manicurist was practically dressed in a hazmat suit with a plastic shield and a mask sweating in discomfort. Shop owners ask you to sanitize your hands upon entry and wear your mask while only a handful of people can enter at a time. All the while, I felt the pressure to move along and let someone else come in. The same went with restaurants with tables spread wide apart and line-ups for people waiting to get in. Small business owners are scrambling to make adjustments so that they can be open and stay afloat. Nothing feels easy or carefree.
So, maybe it’s simply time to stop forcing life to feel as it once did?
Here’s a thought: Maybe we should all stop trying to be ‘normal’ — to make life feel normal again…forcing things to go back the way they once were? Hey, I get it. We like what is familiar to us — our creature comforts, routines and ways.
It’s a default life setting for us; action / reaction. When something happens, our kneejerk reaction is to scramble to gather the pieces and put them back together like a tidy puzzle board.
But who can blame us for trying? I mean, let’s face it — there’s nothing comfortable about where we find ourselves at the moment personally and collectively — staring out into a gaping hole of uncertainty. The world feels like it’s spiraling out of control with us wrapped up within its clutches.
I started thinking about this notion of normalcy the other day after feeling a bit worn thin and beaten up. I recognize that my resiliency has waned as the months progressed. I also realize it is because while I have acquiesced in some ways, I have also resisted in many others. I just want my life back!
I’m going to try it differently…because I’m tired. And it’s not working and causing unnecessary stress. Besides, it’s likely blocking me from seeing what else there is to be seen.
Yes, life may feel like it is in a takeout box…things are cancelled, things are not the same, things are uncomfortable. However, it is also a moment of opportunity to be seized. No more feeling like we are shoving a square peg into a round hole.
Let’s look around to see what we can do and release ourselves from the lamenting of what isn’t right now. Let’s witness what wants to be seen and healed within us. Let’s have a picnic instead! New circumstances bring forth new paths, new ideas and inspirations. And of course bring our Best Selves to the party. As I always say, let’s find a way to use this moment in time instead of feeling like we are being used by it.
Is there a place in your life where you’ve been resisting and trying to go back to ‘normal’? Please let us know what you are experiencing and how you are handling it in the comments below. As always, this is a sacred place where we can connect, share and hold space for each other especially in the most trying of times.