I wanted to write an article about transformation in a community, but I was not seeing clearly what is happening in our neighbourhood. I wanted to write about a group of people awakening and realizing how much they appreciate their neighbours, but I don’t live in that community.
I’m lucky to have my eyes met once or twice as I walk in my neighbourhood. The streets are filled with people walking, running and biking, most of whom just rush by you instead of giving the suggested 2 metre space. People rush along, refusing to meet a smiling face, worried about what is coming next.
Everyone is fixated on what is going to happen next, the news and discussions are all the same – if we don’t do this then the disease will spread and then the economy will collapse and then we will lose power and . . . I don’t want to give more credence to the panic by talking about it.
So I’m going to try this differently. I want you to hear what is happening now and what is coming next: We are being controlled, and the more we focus on finding out what the future is going to look like, the more we give up our agency in defining what comes next.
Think about that for a second. The more we spend time worrying about what the future is going to look like, the less control we have over defining what the future will look like.
The response to this situation is to focus on the present, to focus on what you can control – yourself and how you meet this world. A world trembling in fear from a pandemic that world leaders can’t even agree on how to address it. We have no control over what is unfolding.
What I can control is me and the me that I present to the world.
I am only responsible for myself, and my reactions are mine as well.
If I panic at the thought of a pandemic, then those who benefit from me living in fear– you know, the corporations and media houses that sell their fears to us every day – they all have something to gain from that. I have spent my life learning ways to challenge the negative voice and look for the narrative that fits my reality.
But that is it, reality is completely relative. What I experience is not what you experience. Hallelujah for that!
So, my reality is who I am, so this is what I strive to present every day:
I am a smart, polite and kind person who tries to see the good in everyone.
I am a creative person, happiest when there is music, laughter and colour.
I see details and experience things around me deeply. This means that I have to learn to live with strong emotions and learn to think through emotional reactions. This gives me a unique insight into the feelings of others which is a gift that I am learning to work with.
I could go on, but I think you see the point, I am better off focussing on this, on being this person every day of my life than I am worrying about a future that I cannot predict.
It is not my job to see the future, but to live out loud in the present. And by doing that I am influencing the world that I am living in everyday and I truly believe that by doing this, I can influence what is there in the future.
I can’t predict it, but each day, as I grow stronger in my understanding of my reality, I am prepared for whatever comes next. Because I have been present and accountable for this growth, I have not worried about an insurmountable someday. I have adjusted every day and found the strength to face the unimaginably good and the inconceivably bad and with small changes, I have learned that I do have the strength, which is what makes it worth getting up in the morning.