As I sit down to write this blog, I notice the 20+ tabs I have open on my computer. I don’t typically have this many tabs open and the scene in front of me creates a pause.
The open tabs represent a variety of thoughts, tasks, research, distractions…a medley mix of different topics, likely stemming from a very similar larger search. What might this larger search be, you ask? Perhaps the search for something to hold onto and anchor myself in. Do I work on the ppt for an upcoming Zoom call? Nah. Oh, wait…how about the changes to my website (I seem to be stuck on how to design and bring together the About Me page)? Mmmm…maybe I should see what’s in the list of emails received? Ahhhhh…let’s go with Be Ready Explorers….well, no, I think the timing is still off. Sigh…do I post on Instagram today?
Last week’s blog hinted to there being good in hard and hard in good and the possible experience of weighing up the pros and cons of an endless number of choices and outcomes. And today, I’m definitely starting to feel the realness of — seeable does not mean fully accessible and available. Anyone else?
Just because we can see someone over Zoom, for example, doesn’t mean it holds the same effect as when we are together, in-person. And at the same time, we don’t want to dismiss the benefits technology and virtual connections are allowing us during this time.
To deepen connection in this virtual space, it helps to practice seeing others and understanding their feelings. We can practice this skill with children, too, using this week’s free resource: Seek Understanding.
Someone shared with me most recently that it’s hard for her to hear others talk about their home moments: play-doh , lengthy walks, relaxing family meals, game nights and memory tours across family photo albums. She feels the distance between what this time could offer her with her family and what it is. She can’t fully enjoy fun family moments while facing the uncertainty of how to pay bills and maintain work when much of her work has been canceled. What’s right in front of her (being home with her family that she’s longed for) does not even feel accessible. Over Zoom, I joined her in her angry faces and grrrrrrrrr sounds.
Another person shared that she finds herself feeling frustrated with the multiple mentions of “…just be patient,” “…people are working hard to get you what you need,” and “…if you only knew what was happening behind the scenes.” As she looked inward more, it became apparent that there’s a difference between asking someone to be patient and thanking someone for being patient, and it leads to different emotions. She wondered whether what she was feeling was actually how another was feeling–meaning, sometimes when a situation feels too heavy to hold, it gets passed along to others. Were the “be patient” messages she was reading actually a reflection of someone else feeling overwhelmed with big? Her ponderings landed her with a couple of new (wellness) approaches:
1. Don’t take on what doesn’t belong to me.
2. Notice and challenge my negative thoughts.
And above all, she remembered the importance of continuing to seek understanding.
Our connection to others regulates our physiology and helps us to think clearly. When we feel connected and safe, our capacity for empathy becomes more readily accessible and usable. On the other hand, when we feel confused and uncertain, we may not be able to focus well on anything–even the good that surrounds us.
Everyone will find their own unique way to navigate uncertainty. Some, by necessity, put themselves and their families at risk by going to work. For those staying at home, some might stick to a tight, rigid schedule while others meander and move across their day without much of a plan. Some feel better crossing off items on their to-do list while others focus on cocktails at 3pm. Whichever path we take, we must find a way to connect to ourselves and to others. It’s the moment-to-moment understanding and connection…relationships with people we care about that can preserve the sense of calm we need to move forward to whatever comes next.
This is part of our process, our journey. Let’s continue to make room for understanding honest moments.