Opening doors we didn’t even know existed
Change is hard for all of us, myself included. In this new series, I’ll be sharing daily mediations on transition, change, reinvention. Look out all you rock and rollers, turn and face the strange.
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Sometimes the architecture of the world will start changing before our very eyes.
Initially, when something like this goes down, the change is confusing and scary and lonely and disorientating. It feels like motion sickness. It’s like you have nowhere to go and all the time in the world to get there.
Personally, facing the jolting reality of such a worldwide wakeup call makes my sense of control evaporate like a ribbon of steam. As my doctor friend once warned me:
Your body might not be infected with the virus, but your brain might feel like it is.
This experience is quite maddening to me. It triggers the part of me that seems to have so many problems with reality, and it’s awfully hard to let that go. My ego convinces me that it’s better to be right than to change, which goes like this:
Goddamn it, go require that your life be perfect in order for you to love it. Happiness isn’t good enough, we demand euphoria!
But the cold truth is, we have no choice but to accept and accommodate this new architecture.
Hegel, the godfather of the philosophy of idealism, once called this man’s way of reconciling himself with reality in order to be at peace with the world.
Wow, that’s no simple task. It means we have to become masters at negotiating. We have to educate ourselves on how to get what we need when we can’t get what we want. Only then can these traumatic events that quite disgusted us one day become infinitely acceptable the next.
Are you a master negotiator? Can you bounce back from disruption like a rubber ball?
If not, then join the club. It’s so bloody difficult to do this. Why can’t somebody just come over to my house and do everything for me?
But the good news is, resilience is equal parts willingness and ability. Our skills of adaptation may not be expertly honed, or are rusty from years of underuse, but we can still manage change effectively.
Maisel, the therapist whose work has had the biggest impact on my personal growth, summarized it beautifully:
If you are in fact willing to practice resilience, to bounce back, and to not dig in your heels in a dark place, try this. Take a feeling that is burdening you, hopelessness, for example, and enact a ceremony to bring back hope. The very act of engaging in such a ceremony is an act of resilience and signals your willingness and desire to come back to life.
This approach really works. Been doing it for years. In my experience, a ceremony like this, carried out for a particular purpose and performed in a ritualized way, doesn’t inoculate us from contracting the virus.
But it may make life feel less difficult for us along the way.
In some cases, the coming back to life ceremony becomes the gateway that opens doors we didn’t even know existed. It may sound cheesy, but when humanity seems to be one step closer to the apocalypse as the doomsday clock advances towards midnight, we should take our hope wherever we can get it.
LET ME ASK YA THIS…
Are you confronting obstacles with flexibility and patience, or aggressive reaction?
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That Guy with the Nametag
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