When you were young, did you ever turn in circles really fast with your arms stretched wide? Did you keep going, faster and faster until you were so dizzy you had to just stop and lay down? Do you remember that feeling? Initially, the entire earth you lay upon tilted violently and you would grip the ground on either side of you to try to keep yourself from falling off of the edge. Eventually, the world would quit tilting and just move gently until finally, peace came back into your world and it was just you, the grass and the big sky above you.
As children we pushed ourselves to these limits out of fun, we wanted to experience the thrill of the world tilting beneath us, yet we were always certain everything would right itself and all would be well. Many of us would go back again and again to experience this many times. As adults, we have lost our faith that everything will right itself after a long spin.
This happened to me this week. I reached my tipping point. I feel like I have been spinning in circles; I started the magic ride, yet it feels like it will not end and I may actually slip off the edge. When I stepped back and looked at our world, it seems to me a lot of us feel out of control and are gripping the ground with all of our might just to keep from falling off the proverbial edge. This lead me to wonder: what happens when you fall? How do I prevent myself from “being anxious and living in the future” or “being depressed and living in the past” and move towards “being at peace and living in the moment” (from Lao Tzu)?
As soon as we entered the time of COVID, a lot of us were depressed because we reminisced about how life was. Many, if not most of us are anxious because we are all wondering what will be, it is hard not to wonder as this affects every one of us and how we live our everyday lives. Before March this year, many of us were working on goals of mindfulness and meditation and being “in the moment”, when was the last time you really tried to be “in the moment” and at peace?
My proposal is to step into the spin. Feel the lurch. Celebrate the gentle rocking as it brings a new state of being: calm acceptance. Until we stop pining for what was we cannot celebrate who we have become and what we have to offer. Look towards the small, step by step, day by day as I believe this is a truly traumatic experience we are all facing.
I started looking into trauma as I was looking at the affects of COVID on us all and found this explanation: Dutch philosopher Ciano Aydin describes a situation as traumatic when it “violates” familiar expectations about someone’s life and world, sending them into a “state of extreme confusion and uncertainty.” Well, that is our lives in a nutshell!
Did you know there are two main ways to heal from trauma related illness or injury:
- get away from “that which is causing the pain”
- to not isolate
We cannot get away from the confusion, lack of certainty and actual virus; it is out there.
We are also instructed that to heal and move forward we need to isolate. There is a sugar coating and it is called social distancing, but after two months, it feels like isolation to many.
So, what are we left with? We need to try to make our worlds smaller so we can stop the spinning within them. In the end, you need to do you. Simple and short. This is a time you need to reinvent yourself and reinterpret your world and priorities. Isolation is horrible for people in general, so you need to redefine connection and how that will work for you. Can you meet a friend, stay outside, six feet apart and walk? My dad needs his social group, he created “Social Sundays” everyone brings their own food, drink and chair, they go to a different person’s house each Sunday. Everyone walks straight through the garage to the back yard and they sit 6 feet apart and “hang out”, it has been amazing for his mental health.
You need to recognize your own spin, foresee the tilt, take a deep breath and walk into it with the confidence of tomorrow. Just like when we were kids, we need to have faith that there is a future even after the spinning.