Last night, a group of my old college friends gathered around zoom to celebrate our dear friend’s birthday. There were costumes, abundance of gifts, and a general lighthearted joyousness all around.
A little over three months ago, we celebrated another dear friend’s birthday. We all barely got it together to figure out how zoom worked, gifts were sparse, and the conversation was heavily laden with uncertainty and worry.
This morning I was reflecting on how much has changed on the inside for all of us since this pandemic began….even though so little has changed on the outside. Like most humans, even though the circumstances that originated our fear and confusion have in large part not changed, we have figured out ways to acclimate, adjust, and make the best of it. My first thought was to celebrate that. We are collectively smart, capable and resilient beings. We figure out a way to make things better.
But a closely followed second thought was the other side of that coin. Complacency. We like to be comfortable. We do not like to be stressed. If there is a way to move away from the uncomfortable to the comfortable, we will find it. And that place can be less than altruistic, less than compassionate, and less than motivating to do what is right for the sake of others beyond our own comfort zones.
With so much of our collective baselines being thrown up into the air with coronavirus, no wonder we were all looking to feel a little more stable. Absolutely myself included. I feel I am more capable of reaching beyond my comfort zone into the world of others when I’m coming from a steady place. That’s all well and good. But I must also look at the place in myself that just wants to be comfortable. That wants everything to be “fine”. That might need to push myself, on purpose, to be uncomforatble because that is certainly what is needed if there will be any real, lasting change in our society right now.
In the past few weeks, there has been a light shining very brightly on racial injustice. The injustice is not new. The collective concentrated motivation though has felt different than anything I have experienced up until this point. I think I am really writing this note to myself, and sharing it in case it resonates with anyone else; now is not the time to stay comfortable. If you have figured out a way in the past few months how to make your personal situation more stable – that is wonderful. Truely. It makes you even more able if you choose, to step out of the comfort zone and extend your voice and action where it is sorely needed. I know I usually write with the encouragement of finding your own center point. I am still doing that, and also asking that we continue to use that center point to guide us out into the world with positive, tangible action. Action that benefits others. Action that might be uncomfortable, take sustained patience and effort on our part.
This is a marathon. Good news; you’ve all been training for it for a long long time. Keep going.
For my part, I will continue to do my personal inner work. Part of my outer work is in helping others find and maintain their steadiness. Not just when there is a crisis, but cultivating over a long period of time a baseline of steadiness within. So when the world around us feels more shakey than usual, we are an army of relatively steady humans ready to go – marching purposefully and consciously through it.
With love and gratitude,