I can’t seem to maintain my emotional balance. First the virus. Now the protests. I feel powerless and off-center. I am not in control of much.
For those of you outside the US wondering what is happening: we have never examined the role slavery played in starting and building this country. Nor have we examined how our justice system is unjust. We have some reckoning with ourselves that’s long overdue.
How do we find our congruence and our center when the world seems upside-down?
Then, see the reality of our situation. In the words of Jerry Weinberg, “A crisis is the end of an illusion.”
We have ended many illusions this past week.
We ended the illusion we can come together as a country to fight the pandemic. And, we ended the illusion that we have a fair and equal society.
That breathing thing helps me a lot. And, I can continue to work.
I take refuge in my work. I have a home office with a door. I don’t have young children, so I can actually work. And, I’ve been timeboxing my social media, so I don’t let myself get sucked into reading too many threads. (I realize the irony of that since many of you read these posts via social media.)
I can control what’s in my life right now: what I read, what I eat, when I go to sleep, my exercise. That’s all I seem to be able to control.
Even under normal circumstances, I’m not that good at not sweating the small stuff. And, nothing right now is small.
What to do?
- Maintain a daily schedule. I still get up, exercise, and sleep at the same relative times. (I might be off by 20-30 minutes depending on my calls, but that’s it.)
- Timebox my social media. Yes, I put a timer on my phone so I stop when the timer is up.
- Timebox my writing. I got stuck even when I wrote this post. I know that when I write in shorter timeboxes, I stay focused and I write more. I’m doing that right now.
- Maintain my diet. I low carb. And, right now (and for the past week!) I’ve been craving a pizza like you would not believe. Pizza is not on my list of foods, not even for a small “cheat.” Not even close. When I crave food like that, I’m pretty sure the craving is from my brain and not my stomach. Yes, I thought I was past this. No, I appear not to be.
- Reflect often on my actions.
I can create a small reality inside this crisis for me. I create my personal support system so I can maintain as much resilience as possible.
I realize I have advantages you might not have. I’ve worked from home for many years. I don’t have small children at home right now. And, of my place in society arises from privilege. You might not have any of these advantages. I can empathize with you. I cannot know how you feel.
And, our feelings matter, most of all. Our feelings can keep us on-center—or not. I hope we can all find our centers and create a new path, starting now.
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