Connection. Such a powerful word and an essential ingredient in a healthy, full human life. Our globally shared current reality has revealed many things about connection to me – certainly, it has emphasized its essentiality, but also how often I took connection for granted or underestimated my need for it. It has exposed how limiting my “old” beliefs were about HOW to connect in meaningful ways, and what meaningful even means for me. And what also emerged was my need for and reliance on the interdependence that connections brings.
“We withdraw not to disappear, but to find another ground from which to see; a solid ground from which to step, and from which to speak again, in a different way, a clear, rested, embodied voice we begin to remember again as our own.”
— David Whyte
The quote by David Whyte is one of my favorites. I feel his words deep within me because as an introvert and learner, I tend to withdraw a lot as a healthy practice of self-care. I withdraw to reset, reflect, regroup, reconnect with me . . . to be still with myself. But today, in my third week of quarantine, my withdraw feels very different.
In week one, I felt all of the isolation and anxiety in the forefront of my awareness. Today those feelings are still there, but in the background . . . they have moved to a place where those feelings can serve me and inform me, not run amok unchecked internally. Week one helped me understand my limiting beliefs and my needs. It helped me face myself and how I was showing up in the new world around me.
In week two, I felt the doldrums for the loss of my normal – my normal structure, my normal connections, my normal food, my normal everything that gave me the illusion of predictability, of control, of certainty. Today, “normal” has not yet returned and likely won’t, but a new rhythm and pace and way of living is starting to feel more easeful, more “right”, more doable. I am more fully present and my time horizon is now chunked into hours and days, not weeks or months. Until, of course, isolation and anxiety raise their hand and rush to the forefront of my awareness. But in this new pace and place is new learning . . . a clarity of what is in my arena of choice, what is meaningful and why and with whom, and how I can take care of myself in new and different ways supported by my old and proven habits that work and letting go of some that no longer serve me.
In week three, I feel acceptance at a deeper level. I can grasp the clarity around me – my choice and my fear. I know what I can and cannot do to care for me, for my loved ones and my larger community. Feeling the power of choice returning in the midst of clarity is calming for me. As I have shared before, choice rarely leaves the room . . . but sometimes it feels like it does when it was actually my courage that left instead. I feel more courageous this week, more grounded in the present. I don’t feel the impact of the dynamic world around me as much as I did in week one. I feel full of gratitude for those who have more courage than me, inspired beyond words for scientists, doctors, nurses, grocery store workers, postal carriers, etc. – everyone who continues to be on the frontline to take care of me and everyone.
Week three and I are still working out a new rhythm – some things work, some don’t. I am becoming a master ninja at holding everything, including myself, lightly. I miss my people terribly. More acceptance comes as does more resistance. I find my interdependence on so many to be comforting and unsettling at the same time. And I hear my voice clearly . . . it is a bit more gentle with me and with humanity. It has lowered its tone and its expectations. It has tried to be more thoughtful, more full of grace. I do know this voice . . . and I trust she is leading me to the next chapter of solid ground.