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“This time, like all times, is a very good one, if we but know what to do with it.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Perhaps the reason seemingly all of us are on tenterhooks is because we don’t know what the future holds, what it will look like, what will be expected of us, what will return, what will not, how it will permanently affect us or benefit us. However, in the not knowing is understanding that the future could be quite bright. And where there is unknowing there can also be hope and an opportunity to make it what we hope it will become.
Someone recently said to me during a conversation in which we were talking about a myriad of personal things, “You’re on the brink. So much is just nearly at your fingertips and on the brink of emerging.”
Now, depending upon your perspective, you could have read the first sentence and supposed the statement was cautionary, urging one to step back. Contrarily, as it was intended, it is a statement of strength, optimism and reassurance. And I could not help but apply it to our current moment in history.
I think we are, as a culture, as humanity, as a global community, on the brink of opportunity. We are at the point where we must take a leap. In order for the leap to be successful, we must prepare ourselves, educate ourselves, do the homework, take a strong lead up run before we soar to the other elevation and fly over the chasm in order to land securely on the other side.
Arriving at a brink is to arrive as close as you possibly can come to something before you must do something differently to actually arrive at where you wish to find yourself.
And it is with this analogy in my mind that I considered the idea that perhaps 2020 is a year, an entire year, to reset our lives and our understanding of how we wish our lives, our world, to move forward.
Questions to ask ourselves: Why did we used to do what we had always done? Why were we comfortable adhering to behaviors, habits that seemed to serve us, but that we were all too glad to let go during the past three-plus months? Who encouraged or rewarded or supported such behavior as necessary? Who discouraged us and why did they do so from other behaviors, routines, practices?
These are just a few questions worth asking to help us each in our own way arrive at the answers that will allow us to reset. Below are five areas of our lives to consider resetting during this year of 2020.
1.Your Daily Schedule
“Do the thing we fear, and death of fear is certain.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
What schedule do you wish you had? No doubt many of you are enjoying parts of the schedule you were forced to keep – more time with your family, more time at home, spending less money on gas, more time to sleep well; and equally, there are parts of your schedule that you miss or long to step back into partaking – traveling, dining at a favorite restaurant or café, going to the movies, grocery shopping without lines or masks. What an awesome gift this shift can be seen as to allow us to truly examine how and where and for how long and with whom we feel productive, truly supported by, etc.. Examine these realizations and begin to put them into practice as you can and when given the opportunity to do so.
~Read this post for more ideas for how to establish a Daily Routine You Enjoy
2. Your approach to love
“What we seek we shall find; what we flee from flees from us.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
While admittedly an overly general aphorism, if we apply it to love in our lives, we may discover a nugget of truth. Not necessarily does this imply romantic love or any one particular type of love, but love in general that is a part of our daily lives and worth examining.
As we know, we cannot control others (not if we desire to attain a healthy relationship), but we can be considered in how and with whom we engage. We can establish the mindset that we are deserving of love and while being respectful toward others (not controlling and demanding), we can be open to love by being loving.
A reset of our approach to love may require for us to seek out a counselor to better understand why we behave or seek out what we do and why it has or has not worked out. A reset may require an honest examination of where we need to grow and the conversations we need to have with others to discover if we are in relationships that are mutually supportive. Whatever reset you need, whether it be in your friendships, family, community, romantic partnership, give yourself this gift of an opportunity to create a social community that fills you up and those around you as well in the best possible of ways.
3. How and why you use social media
“Life consists in what a [wo]man is thinking of all day.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
The use of social media has since its inception been fitfully dynamic. In the past couple of months, it feels as though said dynamism is zooming along at Concorde speed.
I chose the quote to accompany this item not to suggest everyone should put down their social media. In fact in this book by Lydia Denworth, new studies have revealed that in fact social media can strengthen and expand our social network and thus offer an essential part to living well that is our social well-being. Rather, I propose we consider how social media has influenced your thinking.
There is a reason businesses who are trying to sell their products use social media – it works. When we see something that is similar or intriguing due to our predilections and previous shopping and viewing habits (cookies at work!), we are influenced to consider purchasing or behaving in the suggested way. Understanding how social media affects our thinking will enable each of us to reclaim what we think about and thus how we wish to live our lives.
4. What true beauty is and what to actually invest in
“Beauty without expression is boring.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
Similar to point #3, what do we believe to be beautiful, and why do we believe it? Is it due to what we have been seeing over and over again on our social media feeds or is it sincere to our uninfluenced eye?
Pertaining to physical beauty in a person or décor aesthetics or music or [insert anything you have described as “beautiful” in the past], ask yourself, what actually makes it beautiful? And then go deeper. Is it still beautiful when you dive beyond the surface?
When it comes to making our lives appear beautiful on the outside, we must not spend so much time “perfecting” the surface for that perfect IG shot that we neglect the interior construction. Especially when it comes to ourselves: Yes, taking care of our skin and bodies is a good idea most certainly to feel confident and prolong our good health, but we must not be vapid nor be puppets when it comes to our ability to think well and critically, to be able to hold a coherent and sound conversation, to be able to take in information and accurately examine it without blind acceptance, to be compassionate, to know more than the snippets of the daily news and instead to have done our full homework.
In a world that skips to the next event quicker than we can take a breath sometimes, we must choose to be patient with ourselves as we learn to be our better selves – learning to understand our mind, learning how to be a better partner, learning to be a better thinker, better communicator, better listener, and the list could go on.
True beauty is not only seen with the eyes but felt with the heart and understood with the mind – a combination of calm certainty and peaceful joy as well as celebration of what is being witnessed and experienced.
5. How to communicate effectively to build mutually respectful and respected relationships of equal contribution
“People do not seem to realize that their opinion of the world is also a confession of character.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
It feels in many instances in our current times that people are on a razor’s edge of angst, and observing or saying a certain trigger word or topic can propel them into a conversation few people want to partake in for healthy discourse. Keeping the context of our times in mind has been helpful to assuage any tension that has resulted after the fact; however, it has also revealed the opportunity to improve how we communicate with mere strangers as well, and more importantly, with people we have long known, as well as are newly truly getting to know.
“Happy is the hearing [wo]man; unhappy the speaking [wo]man.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson
I don’t suppose to know why the world finds itself in the situation we are in as we make our way through 2020. I will leave that to that historians and the social scientists, but perhaps as Ralph Waldo Emerson shared, “The reason why the world lacks unity, and lies broken and in heaps, is, because [wo]man is disunited with [her/]himself.”
Change prompts the instinct of fear as the innate desire is to understandably survive, so the reaction is to cling to what we know – even if it is ultimately destructive even to ourselves. But perhaps the change that is needed is to look inward and do the inner work of becoming more honest with ourselves about why we have held disinformation as fact, why we have remained ignorant whilst surrounded by a wealth of history that could wash away said ignorance, why we have adhered to routines or ways of life that no longer serve us or our community well, and why we have closed our minds unconsciously to the possibility of a better life for each of us individually as well as a better world.
The year 2020 has not unfolded as would I imagine any of us had hoped, but what if, paradoxically, it has? This is not to suggest the loss of loved ones was desired, please understand. What I present today is simply a thought to ponder about the possibility of how our lives and our world have the potential to be as we go about doing the hard work of resetting. We have some time to do a thorough examination. I know I am at work currently doing my best to make sense of this unique moment in history, and perhaps you are as well.
Let me leave you with one final thought from Emerson. Keeping in mind we give an effort, we choose to be aware of all that is going on, hold these words close in hand and do what you can. I am confident that there are enough of us willing to make the other side of 2020 a better world and daily life to live in and thereby proving his sentiment to ring true.
“There is a tendency for things to right themselves.” —Ralph Waldo Emerson