The Rising Resistance to the “New Normal” – It’s Not What You Think
Inside of me, I feel an agitation, even an indignation, when I hear the phrase “the new normal”. Before digging into this any further, I need to clarify that I am in full support of the Department of Public Safety’s response to Covid-19 in our region. In fact, during the first 8 weeks of the pandemic response, hearing Dr. Russell’s voice on the afternoon press release was a comforting ritual during such uncertain times. I am not a scientist. I am not a doctor. I am not an epidemiologist. I do believe that this disease has a rate of contagion that requires measures like a State of Emergency.
The truth is, we’re all feeling like the rug has been pulled out from under our feet. So much has vanished, overnight, really. Covid-19 is thought to come in waves, and we are experiencing waves, too. Of grief, hope, anger, expansion, worry, tension, faith, and it goes on.
The old “normal” wasn’t looking so good for the greater good of our society, especially for populations who are oppressed and vulnerable, and this planet that so freely graces us with nourishment. Some of these issues have been made horrifyingly apparent during these past 3 months and maybe progress is indeed on the horizon. I care about the economic concerns of this time, but honestly, not nearly as much as I am driven by a gut-wrenching desire to see us refocus our energy on equality. We have to collectively start making decisions based on the recognition that all lives are sacred. Maybe we can recognize all forms of employment and therefore, all people, as equal. Maybe our commitment to supporting local entrepreneurs will become more than an ideal. Maybe we will start listening to the innovators who promise energy solutions whose impact will support the health of our one and only Mother Earth. Maybe we can all just step back in humility and understand that maybe we don't have all the answers to all the problems and that diversity is our strength and not a threat.
Maybe we could slow down and feel the rhythm of our lives once more. This isn’t just a flowery, ideology, it was what we were built to do. Our ancestors had it right when they rose with the sun, worked before the heat of the day, ate their largest meal many hours before bed, took a period of rest in the afternoon, slept during the hours of darkness, etc. The ancient science of Ayurveda speaks to the natural cycles of the day, that mimic the way of being our ancestors adopted. There are also rhythms of the week, Monday is moon day. It’s not just because we overdid it on the weekend that we feel slower, quieter and sleepy on Monday. The natural rhythm of Monday is yin-like: cool, slow, reflective, rejuvenative, etc. When we start to learn about these principles, we start to see the alignments of our own energy with these rhythms. It’s fascinating!
Not only is there a healthcare crisis around our globe, there is also a mental health crisis. We desperately need to come back into alignment. Maybe our work force and education systems could consider these rhythms, too.
Just because technological advances and corporate culture tell us we can DO more, and at all hours of the day, doesn’t mean we should. Further, will we experience a greater quality of life by following the machine that propels this kind of consumeristic lifestyle forward? It’s been shown over and over again that the answer is NO! So many of my friends, clients and even colleagues in the wellness world are burnt out from any number of “shoulds” or “have-tos” every single day. They end up paying big money for self-care, and it ends up being a band-aid, rather than the deep nourishment that they really need: “one more thing on the to-do list, oh, and I might have to cancel because I have to prepare for a big meeting tomorrow”.
Our minds are constantly evaluating, comparing, judging and chasing. That’s the nature of the ego and we all have one. The truth is, you will never accumulate self-worth from participating in the grind for a bigger paycheck and fancy toys in the driveway. You will never achieve true contentment by running off on tropical getaways and keeping up with the neighbors. You will never reach the perfection you are striving for; the ego always wants more.
I don’t know if it’s possible to eradicate the ego, I have a sense that in human form, it is not, except maybe for Eckhart Tolle! What I do know, is that the part of the mind ruled by the ego desires can be soothed and trained that we may live in peace, harmony and ease.
It is not a hopelessness, but rather a helplessness that I feel. I do have this utopian longing for a more easeful and peaceful way of being in the world. Make no mistake, living according to your dharma (life purpose) is paramount to me, and I don’t suggest that we shy away from dedicated time at our vocation. To live fully, working with purpose and passion must be tempered with replenishment, play and solid relationships with family and friends. The rush to get things “back to normal”, “new” or “old”, makes me feel like we are missing a more expansive opportunity to devote ourselves to a new way of being.
Friends, I am following the protocol of the “new normal” while at the same time, I am sitting with something beyond government regulations and directives from Public Safety. There’s a bigger question in the background: what kind of life do I want to live? What kind of world do I want my nieces and nephews and my friends’ children to grow up in? What is, as Glennon Doyle would ask, “the most TRUE and BEAUTIFUL life I can imagine?”. I become engrossed by all of this and it's so much to disentangle. The empath in me is FEELING a LOT right now.
Are you feeling this, too? If so, I leave you with this contemplation:
“We can make our own normal. We can throw out all the rules and write our own. We can build our lives from the inside out. We can stop asking what the world wants from us and instead ask ourselves what we want from the world. We can stop looking at what’s in front of us long enough to discover what’s inside us. We can remember and unleash the life-changing, relationship-changing power of our own imagination. It might take us a lifetime. Luckily, a lifetime is exactly how long we have”.
- Glennon Doyle, Untamed
Let’s not put a band-aid on it and fall back into the old normal. Let’s take this time to contemplate the most true and beautiful life we can imagine. I think we can get drawn into the trap of feeling like all of these problems are too big to solve, but here's the thing, we cannot underestimate the impact of coming from a place of compassion and the willingness to listen, to ourselves and to others. I’m determined to believe that there is a way to a life that is true and beautiful for each and every one of us, and that the way begins within.