This article is a slight departure from my nicey-feel-good-life-wisdom articles. I need a break from the norm. I’m hoping you do too. And while the new norm may feel pretty darn uncomfortable and weird, there IS some wisdom and positivity to be gained from it.
My grandfather used to say that good things take time, but great things happen all at once. ~Rat Race
We live in Coronaworld, now. It is one of the biggest, fastest paradigm shifts our world has experienced since 9/11. It’s such a pronounced shift that ‘Corona’ is a household word. Corona culture dictates that everything be described as ‘Corona’ because this new Coronalife is so weird and frustrating and stressful and uncertain that there’s actually some comfort in knowing you can say the word and others will instinctively ‘get it’. Times are weird.
Just yesterday, I was walking my dog and this guy drove by, finger up his nose like it was the next gold rush. Instinctively, I thought, “He shouldn’t be touching his face!”
My mind tried to rationalize it as okay, but my knee-jerk reaction wasn’t done yet: “What if he got a real good booger and flicked it out his window and it landed on someone? If he’s infected then he could literally be endangering someone’s life. Those are deadly boogers. And he’s armed and ready!” It was an absurd thought, I know, but my rational mind has to admit there’s a little logic to it.
Consider the times we’re living in: A world full of deadly boogers.
“Deadly boogers” are those silly, irrational absurdities that bug, bother, frustrate or maybe even terrify us. As a Happier Life Coach, I’m fascinated by the things people let ruin their day. A broken nail, a dent in the bumper, a grumpy look from a stranger. It boggles my mind, sometimes, that we can let little things bring us down.
Well, now we live in an age of actual deadly boogers. To me, it’s a sign of just how absurd our world can be. It’s an awakening to all the absurdities we’ve allowed to persist. It’s absurd how we overpopulate and over-consume our beautiful planet. It’s absurd that we pollute the Earth and drive innocent creatures into extinction. It’s absurd that we knowingly allow corrupt politicians and corporations to pick our pockets because we’re too busy squabbling. It’s absurd that we take our shit out on each other rather than taking the time to heal ourselves, and each other. Most absurdly of all, we’re actually doing all these things unconsciously believing it will make us happier.
Well, how do we we happy in times such as these? Part of finding happiness in life is finding the silver lining of dark clouds. Or Coronaclouds as the case may be. While this world-changing shift into Coronaworld has been strange, stressful and sometimes scary, there are many silver linings.
One of the greatest silver linings has been how much kinder people are to each other. Some of my friends leave gifts on each others’ doors. The amount of heartfelt, sincere well-wishing has skyrocketed. Even though social distancing feels weird, I see many people doing it as a genuine show of respect for each others’ physical and emotional well-being (rather than fear of catching something).
But there’s a more powerful answer to that question of “How can we be happier in times like these?” In my own life, one of the most important lessons for positive change and healing was “Get uncomfortable.” It came at a time when my entire life was turned upside down and I didn’t know where to go or what to do. One thing became clear: I had to get out of my comfort zone in order to make positive shifts in my life. I had to stay out of my comfort zone in order to achieve the healing my heart and soul needed.
Corona has turned our collective world upside down. Major paradigm shifts like these feel destructive, because they are. Many of our political, economic, and social infrastructures are being smashed like enormous Humpty Dumpty’s. Conventions we took for granted are crumbling. And it’s uncomfortable.
Maybe the point is to feel weird, for now.
I suppose it is tempting, if the only tool you have is a hammer, to treat everything as if it were a nail. ~Abraham Maslow
When we feel weird, our instinct is to try and ‘fix it’. When I look at the way we’ve been addressing the world’s problems, it seems like we’ve been using a hammer. A lot of hammers. We’ve been bickering, lambasting, posturing, avoiding, exploiting, lobbying, destroying. Our tool box has included anger, frustration, selfishness and hubris. No wonder Humpty Dumpty is in pieces.
While being shut down has been painful, the silver lining is that it’s a blessing. Perhaps the deadliest booger of our time is that we have been talking about fixing our problems without actually changing our ways. When our normal instinct is to GO, Coronalife is telling us to STOP. When our normal instinct is to DO, Coronalife is telling us to THINK. We’ve been trying to smash our way to victory with all the hammers in our toolbox. And now we’re learning, very uncomfortably, just how ineffective our methods have been. If we take this chance to stop and think, we will have better success of resolving our issues. How nice of some force greater than humankind to give all our negativity and destruction a literal pause.
It’s time to get uncomfortable in the direction we want to go.
While we’re shut down, let’s see this time not as a calamity, but as an OPPORTUNITY: The chance to put Humpty Dumpty together again in better ways. Sustainable ways. Ways that build and unite us rather than divide and demoralize us. If things feel weird, now is a good time to look at our toolbox and find better tools. It’s time to replace bickering and lambasting with listening and problem-solving. Let’s replace posturing and competition with kindness and cooperation. Let’s learn how to compromise and and use our ingenuity for the common good. And never, ever underestimate the power of simple kindness.
This moment will never come again. Life after Corona will be very different than before and I hope we take this opportunity to make it better. While we have some stress and fear to deal with, I hope we will transform those into excitement and inspiration. Things feel weird, almost pointless, but that is just the time to re-decide what the point should be.
We can’t go back to life as usual. And I don’t want to. Life as usual was destructive and absurd. This whole friggin’ planet needs a break from humanity’s rabidly destructive norm. This is an enormous, beautiful wake-up call telling us — despite what we want to believe — we aren’t in control. Life is. Life will go on without us, but perhaps Life is giving us a chance to unplug from our own madness and plug in to the beauty…of Life.
We will bounce back from this
But we’re going to bounce back different. Different good or different bad? Well, that’s up to us! Great things happen all at once. Let’s bounce back BETTER than we were before, as individuals, as a society, as world citizens. Let’s learn to celebrate this life. Celebrate each other. Explore the goodness this world and we ourselves have to offer. Future generations will absolutely look back on this time — our time — and talk about it. I hope it is because we used this time to bless their lives, and our own, with a better world. Coronaworld doesn’t have to be bad, it can be wonderful. We can make it so.
Yes, we can.