I had a very interesting dream last night about a “Female National Super Hero” who supported us all through the coronavirus until things were better.
But apparently, no such hero exists. There is nobody who is going to save us and make things better.
The thing is, that’s really what we all want, isn’t it? We all want a coordinated effort that takes all our needs into consideration and does the right thing to keep us all safe and sound and prosperous.
This is what we expect of our government and our elected officials. And we are all a little ticked off that things aren’t going as perfectly as we’d like.
But things are the way they are. They are a mess. We hear one message one day and the opposite the day after. Will there be more testing? Will we get another bailout? Will we get a baseball season?
Perhaps this dumbest thing we can do is expect that things will be different, that things will improve. That may be optimistic, but it’s also incredibly naive. We have the government we have doing things the way they do them. And we can expect more of the same.
As they say, things are likely to get a whole lot worse before they get any better.
So, I don’t spend a lot of time and angst blaming the government. What good does that do me or anyone else? Nada, zip, zilch. It only gives me heartburn and a headache!
I think the only relevant question these days is, “What can I do to make things better for me, my loved ones, and those in my community and network?”
And complaining isn’t on the list!
Look, for the past two months in my newsletter/blog, I’ve shared a lot of ideas about what we can do as self-employed professionals to survive and thrive in these challenging times. I’ve also been sharing those ideas in my Radically Virtual Webinars. (The one last week with Alan Weiss was fantastic!)
I’ve mostly shared external strategies, things we can put into action to keep our businesses moving forward. But I think our internal strategies are just as, if not more important.
When a crisis happens that we have no control over, it triggers a lot of emotions. Fear, anger, worry, overwhelm, even hate and disgust.
All of these feelings are normal and natural. But when they arise we may feel debilitated by them. They take a lot of our attention and energy which drains our creativity and resourcefulness.
But if you take a closer look, you might notice that we tend to resist these feelings. We don’t want to have them. We don’t like them. After all, they don’t feel good, do they?
And these emotions then trigger negative, fearful, and separating thoughts which in turn trigger more negative emotions, including blame, resentment, and accusation.
Pretty soon, we’re so consumed by these thoughts and emotions that it becomes difficult, if not impossible to get any productive work done. And it also exhausts us.
So, how do we deal with all of that?
Look, I don’t have THE answer!
But I do have an approach that really works for me. After all, I get triggered like everyone else. I experience fear and anger. And I can blame and accuse just as well as the next person.
But when that happens, I have an intervention, a practice.
First of all, when I feel negative, overwhelmed or outraged, I stop for a moment and just notice that. I notice that I want to scream or lash out at someone.
I don’t try to change what I’m feeling. I don’t try to feel differently. But I don’t ignore what I’m feeling either.
I slow things down and just get present, into the “right now moment.” And I notice something very essential. In addition to how I’m feeling, I notice that I am simply aware here and now.
And I notice that I’m not controlling anything. That emotion, that fear, that rage is just happening, just in the same way that the clock is ticking or that the music is playing on my stereo.
None of it means anything. It’s just happening.
My feelings are happening, my thoughts are happening, my bodily sensations are happening, my perceptions of the world are happening.
I’m not trying to change anything. I’m just silently aware of it all happening.
And in that silent awareness, I notice a new thing arising. You might call it calmness or peace. And I didn’t make that happen either.
I notice that underneath everything, that presence, that calmness, that peace is always there in the background.
It seems to me that this presence, calmness, and peace is more real, more essential than everything else that is happening. You might say it’s like the blank screen on which everything else is appearing.
And I also notice that when I come back to that presence, that the anger, overwhelm, or blame seems to melt away effortlessly.
I’m just here and I’m OK.
And then new possibilities arise. Creativity, resourcefulness, resilience, equanimity. And I don’t generate those things either; they are just there, available to me in the moment.
I’m no longer concerned about how things should be different or what the government should do or not do. I’m not looking for a superhero to save me or make things better.
No, aware and alive in the moment, I’m my own superhero.