Show Up and Believe... Now, More Than Ever
It all unfolded very quickly: this crisis that needs no introduction. I couldn't respond the way I wanted to... with immediate wisdom and overflowing courage. Deep down I felt them, but heartbreak and overwhelm eclipsed what I wanted to feel and share. It's taken me a solid week since the coronavirus hit the fan just to come back to myself and the virtual world. I wanted to be a leader in the social sphere, but I also didn't want to add to all of the unhelpful noise. I had to coach myself through some unhelpful internal noise first. I wanted to be a beacon of hope and leadership, but all I could do was lean in and lead myself toward hope and the knowing that there is cause for and power in a pause.
I've been preparing for this. Not a global pandemic, but for putting into practice all of the faith and willingness to dig deep that emerges through a decade of gritty healing and relentless spiritual growth.
It's one thing, though, to walk this road internally, and a whole new level of leadership to walk it and talk it out in the (virtual) world. Oh, social media... what a strained relationship we have. In the throes of grief and overwhelm, searching for connection and relief, I'd hop on instagram only to make it a couple thumb scrolls before a resounding retreat. I did the opposite of what a leader does in crisis: I unplugged for over a week. With little choice, I threw myself into a fast financial pivot and a thick cocoon of self-care.
Apart from private, brief checkins with family and close friends, attempting to respond to an overflowing inbox, and showing up for digital meetings to fulfill basic responsibilities, I damn near disappeared altogether. The whole overnight transition from community based work (punctuated with late night solo-maker celebrations in my studio) shifted... literally over night. I know it has for everyone. We find ourselves in a new era.
So, what I want to say is this: I care... so much that at times it cripples me. But, it's time that we all care enough to put proactivity, equity and gratitude on the front lines.
I've always felt deeply and processed slowly; something that, until recently, I viewed as a weakness. I've always had a deep desire to help others, but only recently have I begun mastering the skills to help myself. I see now that life has handed me -- all of us-- a new curriculum. I recognize my work these next few months as that of deep integration in learning how to outwardly share the depth and breadth of a decade long dance with commitment to healing, service, creativity, education, transformation, and love. The "soft" character skills I strive to cultivate in myself, and teach to the littles, are the hardest to master... and the most important, now more than ever.
Well, here I am. I've accepted where we are, but not before overcoming some serious whiplash and a few meltdowns. The gift in the struggle comes after acceptance. Surrender may feel like giving up if it is unfamiliar. I believe it is to most of us. Surrender is a powerful force. It creates transparency and vulnerability, and these open us to new vantage points. The beauty of surrender is that it leads to breakthroughs. I'm not saying anything feels super peachy over here. I recognize that we are in for a long haul of uphill new normals and I will likely have more meltdowns to coach myself through, but I also intuit that like most of the challenges I've faced so far, this one comes with some valuable learning and opportunities for transformation. I feel it in my bones.
"Generosity of spirit" was the best compliment I've ever been given. We all have this capacity. It's about choice. We must create the inner circumstances to channel that choice outwardly. It sounds simple (and is in theory), but so gritty in practice. Perhaps this is our wake up call to greater collective compassion and cooperation. If only we can show up together and be kind to one another. We're all more similar than we often like to believe.
Now that I've dusted myself off from my literal technological face plant, I can see past my own fear, past my immediate financial drought, past the vast chasm of learning curves ahead, to a clear need far greater than my own: a collective paradigm shift. It's no longer an idealistic nicety, but a necessity worth striving for.
I'm by no means claiming to have all of the answers, but, I have that bone-settling sensation that the work I've been doing these past ten years-- bushwhacking a trail based on an invisible knowing, often questioning why I wasn't casually strolling on the paved path with everyone else I could see and hear-- has been preparing me. There is a powerful transformation in our midst. Our collective task is to uncover it.
Last month I wrote a blog post on ways to combat loneliness as a remote worker. Ironically (or likely, synchronistically) most of us are remote workers right now, if we're lucky. Many of the ideas I outlined are the very practices I'm needing to ground into now more than ever to cultivate necessary self-regulation and self-management for this time of social isolation. My hope for you is that amidst the myriad of challenges you face right now, you allow space for belief in gifts to unfold.
That's all we can do: show up and believe. Now, more than ever.
Life threw a new advanced curriculum at us really fast and many of us still need to master the basics. No matter where you are on the spectrum of ethical practice, we must each figure out how to best navigate these new multi-dimensional learning objectives. Now, more than ever. It took me a week to figure out that the only way to move forward is with transparency with ourselves and with each other...not about all of the outer noise, but the inner work.
I've been so blessed with a circle of supportive, generous, and inspiring individuals who have changed what it means to be in isolation with their kindness and transparency. Thank you. You have been beyond blessings, my virtual life savers.
Figure out what you need to get through this mess, but know that what you need most of all is community. We must stay connected. Find your rhythm and tend to it, but make sure it includes regular checkins with other humans.
I'll end with this: before we found ourselves in a national lockdown for a global pandemic, I'd been thinking a lot about meaning and purpose. Not in the sense of buzzwords for a mission statement, but about the actual experience of them. Feeling connected to a calling on our lives and living through our values; arriving consistently at a sense that our days are amounting to something more than just a paycheck and basic survival.
Well, my dear ones, we have arrived. If you've been waiting to uncover your purpose or deeper meaning in your life, it's here. We need you, now more than ever. We need your story and transparency. We need your gifts.
Show up. Believe. Even the smallest acts of courage and compassion have a ripple effect. No act is too small. It all matters. Don't worry about the money (my fellow financial flounderers, I'm talking to myself too). Focus on cultivating a generous spirit. We need leaders. We need you. Clearly, we can't sit around and wait for perfection. It's about doing what we can now to create meaningful connection and change... with ourselves and those around us, now more than ever.
Don't underestimate the power of intentional, heart-centered connection to transform lives. You are not alone. Keep going. My deep, overflowing heartfelt thanks to each of the following people for transforming my life and keeping me going:
Cindy Miner Kapelke
And at the core of my grateful heart is a family I can't wait to hug again:
My mom & dad
My stepmom & grandad
My aunts, uncles, & cousins
And, of course... you.