Moving Forward with Resilience
What's ahead? We are getting a few glimpses but really, no one can see very far.
Time has taken on a strange and surreal quality. Daily life can feel dreamlike, with an altered sense of reality. This collapse of time happens when the anchors of everyday life loosen or disappear. The greater varieties of daily experiences that we are used to, like running simple errands, attending public events, traveling near and far, are melting into sameness.
Slowly we move through the portal between pre-pandemic life where we could exist in the world, seemingly with greater freedom, into something different. "What will that be like?" "How long will it take?" We really do want to know.
Each of us has the capacity to deny, avoid, or minimize the sobering reality of this deadly disease. Accepting that we are entering a new reality means staying with this knowledge. Instead of returning to the lives we lived “before," we will find ways to co-exist more safely with this virus. We also will acknowledge that other viruses with pandemic potential will be with us in the near and distant future. To live safely with these threats, we will incorporate new approaches to hygiene and health. We will find new ways of being in the world.
Each of us and all of us are creating new norms. We are finding new touchstones.
I took a small yet significant step in this direction when I recently ordered cloth face masks. Rather than the disposable masks we were using, left over from the fire and smoke disasters in CA several years ago, we now have washable ones that coordinate with our clothing. Masks are necessary now, sort of like socks, I'm thinking.
We long for simple narratives and solutions that make the problem seem over and done with quickly. The reality is that the future always unfolds with complexity and often, with a great deal of confusion. The human capacity to make it through adversity and build emotional resilience is remarkable. As a psychotherapist, I have partnered with many people to find their strength so I trust the process.
With acceptance of these new realities, we can better determine our choices and chart our course.
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