Why notice your response-ability?
Dear Why Team member,
I hope this week's message will bring you strength and perspective.
This week we consider:
It’s through the noticing of our responses to life and all its adversities that we gain insight into our strengths and weaknesses.
We, humans, prefer to function on habit; it's less stressful to the brain; which really reserves thinking primarily for dealing with challenges, anxieties, and fears. To be conscious of reality and be reminded of our mortality is not all that popular, even if more beneficial for fueling gratitude, most prefer unconscious habit. And that which arises and forces our conscious awareness can be deemed as a threat simply for making us think. Interesting, isn't it?
It is difficult to improve on that which remains unconscious; this awareness can explain why an attitude that life is happening for us rather than to us is so powerful. When challenge and difficulty come to visit, we gain conscious awareness of those skills we have nurtured well and those which need attention.
Adversity reveals us to ourselves.
This National Crisis has brought to our consciousness that which is strong and that which is weak, calling each of us to ask how we are individually contributing to the whole.
We all have our functional and dysfunctional ways of dealing with anxiety - moments such as these are extreme opportunities for growth. We have, I believe, a responsibility to be good stewards of all that life has given us - both the enjoyable and the very difficult. How can we be more and become more for our fellow man?
It is said that the two most important days of our life is the day we were born, and the day we find out why. As much as some may care little about the risks to themselves, this pandemic has called us all to consider our responsibilities toward each other.
In January, I wrote about 2020 being the year of clear vision. Here it is:
It is one thing to risk our own life, but another thing entirely to consider how our behavior could end the life of another.
My Aunt Daisy served in the military during the Cold War. Some of her perspectives on this pandemic are noteworthy. She relates it to a full invasion, the enemy is here, and not across the ocean. For the first time in our country's history, we are battling an enemy that has landed on the mainland and is approaching from every direction. And how we mobilize isn't all that different than what we had to do to win WWII.
While the actual dangers of this virus are being hotly debated, there is no denying of what has happened to the most successful economy the world has ever known; that so much damage could happen so quickly should help us notice all the more how much we take for granted. It is worthy of consideration that how we THINK about a danger can be as risky or even riskier than the danger itself.
Most of us cannot fathom how our work and spending patterns support each other and our country. In our quarantine response to save lives, we have also hurt them in a measure not yet fully understood. We have found ourselves between the proverbial rock and a hard place, and there are no easy decisions; each has its price to pay.
The battle lines are all around us, six feet from our own neighbor. Isn't it a terrible irony that in a time when we most need to come together, we need to stay apart; that our best way to express love is through distance?!
It's beautiful to see how vital we are to each other - in how we conduct our lives. There is no doubt that putting our lives temporarily on hold has been the best we could do for each other - it's actually a powerful time to pause and reflect - and I think we all hope for answers on how best to move forward to preserve what we have built.
I keep being reminded of chemotherapy and what is often required to kill a cancer. How much chemo is too much chemo? When does the cure become worse than the disease?
What can we do now, in the meantime?
Become better for ourselves and others. Notice and own our own behaviors more than ever: our current abilities to respond. Are we part of the solution, or are we contributing to the problem?
Notice our character or lack of character being revealed in the midst of this adversity. Conscious awareness is an opportunity to grow.
Ask how you can bring to bear your unique gifts to assist others through this extraordinary time.
Find new and creative ways to keep working and being productive, albeit at a safe distance from others. Remember that your spending does support others, it provides jobs.
Have faith and confidence that this, too, shall pass.
Lean into all that has helped you through difficulty in the past and share those paths with others. And a genuine smile and Thank You, even from six feet away, could make someone's day better.
Together we are Better!
We will come back stronger than ever.
Remember what followed the 1918 Flu? The Roaring 20's!
Isn't it interesting that we are right back in the '20s a hundred years later?!
On the other side of this pandemic, we can't help but be more grateful for all life's gifts we can easily take for granted. I'm looking forward to that joy and celebration, the Roaring '20s!
I hope you will too.
Make it a great week!
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