I have been using a lot of deep breathing lately. Sometimes it is a sigh. Sometimes it is a strategy to recalibrate. Sometimes it is just a reflex. We are now in week 7 of social distancing and we still don’t know when the end is coming or what the new normal is going to look like. It is hard to know exactly where to focus my energy some days.
A few weeks ago I hit a wall. And I hit it hard. A few months ago I figured out that I have a pattern. When I am stressed or trying to procrastinate, I start new things. I am an idea generator. I like newness. I like putting my energy towards new beginnings and imagining alternatives to the world I am currently in. Well, turns out that it is a strategy that I also use when I am faced with a pandemic.
So in week 1-3, I started new things. Some things are still up and running and other things have run their course. But either way, the adrenaline ran out and I have had to take a significant look at what I am saying yes to and what I am pausing on.
For example, we launched the COVID-19 time capsule. I love how this came to be. It wasn’t a seamless process. But it was a key example of the magic of our little team. It was week 1 when I started suggesting to the team that we should do something to capture the individual stories that were brewing. Partially cause I was personally curious about what was happening in people’s homes and minds as they were facing this weird new normal and partially because I felt like we could offer a way for others to process what was happening in a future-oriented way.
So based on my curiosity and way too much adrenaline, I propose to the team that we should do something. I basically hear nothing from my team and assume they think my idea is stupid. This happens quite a bit with our team. As an idea generator, I often share ideas that I think sound amazing and then my team quickly brings me back to the ground and reminds me about flaws or challenges with my idea, and then I mope and sort of move on. So I pretty much assumed that is what had happened here too.
But to my surprise, when we had our team meeting, we started talking about it again. And then a few days later Mathura recorded the beautiful audio meditation that lives with the time capsule and shared it with us. Then Blair added music and put it with our logo and voila! we had a time capsule 🙂
Each time we receive a new letter, I am reminded how different this experience is for everyone. I see hope, sadness, fear, uncertainty, generosity, and grief all mixed together. There is no one way to describe what is happening for people.
I am home with my partner and 2 small kids. We are together. We have enough to eat. We have a roof over our heads. So from that standpoint, we are safe. We are keeping healthy and taking precautions to stay healthy. But my emotional and social wellbeing wanes from week to week and my desire to create certainty in uncertainty surges.
My biggest fears about the pandemic exist around the communities that behind closed doors are suffering and the systems that already don’t serve them are creating even greater divides. I hear about food insecurity, loss of jobs, increased racism, challenges with mental health, lack of healthcare and the list goes on and on; it would be easy to keep going down this rabbit hole of despair.
So instead, I am trying to focus my attention on creating learning opportunities for myself and for others. In the last few weeks, we have launched a few new projects to keep us future-focused on and I expect there is more to come.
Being an organization with a core goal to inspire public imagination, we are dedicated to elevating the stories around us to imagine new possibilities.
If you’re looking for a place to make some sense of your own feelings, try out our audio recorded meditation and letter to your future self. Honestly, Mathura’s voice is so soothing. And the questions she asks through the meditation really spurs individual and collective reflection.