In a meeting last week, a colleague of mine brought up an article she had read recently about how such people as POWs, or people who have other horrifically traumatic experiences, go on to have productive and meaningful lives.
Basically, how do they survive, and even thrive after such trauma? How do they embody such resilience in the face of enormous adversity? One thing she said she re-membered from the article, was that they all shared the trait of staying in the moment, surviving and being grateful for what they had in that moment, even if the only thing they had in that moment was life.
This conversation got me to thinking- about resilience, and about myself. It’s hard to know exactly without being in the situation, but I have the sneaking suspicion that I would not be one of those people who was grateful for whatever I had- even if all I had was the promise of quick death. I have the suspicion I might be more like I am right now through this pandemic- which is to say I think I would be angry, frustrated, sad. These days, I spend a lot of energy in those emotions. It struck me as my col-league was talking about resilience- I am not being very pandemic resilient right now. I have been angry; I have been frustrated; and many days I think- “I just want things to go back to normal. “ I am not practicing mindfulness or gratitude, or even finding moments of joy in the midst of this crisis. And the truth is that those moments of joy do exist in my life- I just need to notice them.
After my conversation with my colleague, I began to purposely shift my mindset. There is a hidden opportunity in this upheaval. There is opportunity to find joy in the the little things in life. There is an opportunity to practice gratitude (an opportunity I have to remind myself of at least 5 x per day) :)) Also, and perhaps biggest of all, this is a chance to reflect on the things in our lives we want to keep, and the things in our lives we no longer need. Sometime we continue to do things out of habit, or not want-ing to rock the boat, and even thinking we have no choice. This pandemic has the hidden benefit of making us realize how much is truly not essential in this life, and how much we can choose. As this pandemic forces us to evaluate absolutely every-thing we do in a risk/benefit analysis, we end up with more choices about the things to which we say “yes” or “no”. When most things carry more risk than previously, and we have to evaluate risk for everything we do, you begin to realize what is really important, in other words, what is worth the risk for you.
None of this is to say that anger, frustration, and sadness aren’t valid emotions during this crazy time. Pandemic fatigue is a real thing. Decision fatigue is a real thing. The stress of the big and small every day decisions can wear a family down.
If you or a member of your family needs help to deal with the effects of this pandemic, we can help. If you would like a space to evaluate your future choices amidst the opportunities of this pandemic, we can help with that too. Call us at 865-238-5696.