Before Things Go "Back To Normal"

A friend of mine recently shared this article by Julio Vincent Gambuto about the ultimate gaslighting* that may occur following the COVID-19 pandemic. Look, this experience has been traumatic, to say the least. I, for one, never thought I'd be stalking the page to order toilet paper online.  But it's also been an enormous teacher of many lessons should we (the collective we) choose to partake in them.

"Hallelujah" 30x40 Acrylic & Gold Leaf

Let's admit it. We've been on a virtual treadmill for most of our lives.

Like hamsters running on a neverending wheel. We seem to pause only when something literally stops us in our tracks; a lost job, a failed marriage, a diagnosis, a death. We treat self-care like it's a reward; a manicure, pedicure, facial, massage, a glass of wine at night, a vacation, a retreat. Sure those things may help us 'care' for ourselves, but what is self-care really? Why does it have to take a vast, often monumental life event to halt the rat race long enough for us to say, holy crap, something BIG is happening here? This is BIG. We finally think, "Let me just pause for a minute and reflect on this. "What is actually happening? Why is this happening? How do I feel about this thing that is happening for me? What do I want to do about it?  How do I want to feel about it?" Why did it have to take a huge, global pandemic to completely stop us in our tracks?

This stay home order amid a global pandemic may feel inconvenient, sure. The hoarding and fear and the media coverage can feel scary and infuriating and downright terrifying at times. But let's consider this; Perhaps this stay home order is a sort of 'Divine Timeout'. 

Perhaps this time is encouraging us to think about the things we want, the things we don't want. The people we love. The way we need to collaborate and support one another. Now, more than ever, but even more so when this ends. 

Before we rush back into reopening and getting things back to 'normal' (whatever normal is), let's consider what we want our new normal to be. Let's review how we want to spend our time. Let's reconsider how we want to spend our money. Let's consider how we want to continue to support one another. Let's examine how we want to approach living. Let's acknowledge how we can continue to maintain our own self-care.

Maybe another way to think about this experience is that we're being offered an opportunity to choose differently.

We have a tendency to seek everything outside of ourselves; new clothes, new job, more money, prestige, title, promotion, bigger homes, faster, sexier cars, a six-pack, a carb-less diet, the list goes on and on. What has that gotten us now that salons are closed, jobs are lost, money is tight, and bigger homes are harder to afford? Perhaps all along what we've been seeking is more time alone to reflect, to pursue creative adventures, to be more present in our lives with family and children. To go within, to heal, and to help one another heal. 

Maybe this experience is teaching us to be better humans; to find the paradise and heaven inside all of us; not outside of us. I've become grateful for the time out. I'm learning what it means to take care of myself, to eat well, (yes, even carbs). To get more sleep. To cook more. To rest when I feel tired. To admit when I need a time out. To reflect more and to go within to ask myself what do I really need. I hope you're able to do the same. So before things go 'back to normal', maybe ask yourself how much of that normal you really want back.

Maybe the last thing we need is for things to go back to normal.

"*Gaslighting, if you don't know the word, is defined as manipulation into doubting your own sanity; as in, Carl made Mary think she was crazy, even though she clearly caught him cheating. He gaslit her. Pretty soon, as the country begins to figure out how we "open back up" and move forward, very powerful forces will try to convince us all to get back to normal. (That never happened. What are you talking about?) Billions of dollars will be spent on advertising, messaging, and television and media content to make you feel comfortable again." Julio Vincent Gambuto