|It feels like someone pulled the rug out…|
Anxious and unsettled. That’s what a huge number of my clients say they are feeling right now. Many describe this as feeling “like someone pulled the rug out.”
Can you relate?
For many of you, your job is ok and your health is fine but that doesn’t mean you aren’t affected by COVID-19. In addition to feeling anxious, you may feel a sense of guilt or even shame. Guilt at your good health and stable employment. Shame at self-oriented feelings (like disappointment about cancelled plans). Or shame at feelings of delight (I’m talking to you, my introvert friends).
Add in a dose of acute irritation at the failure of others to observe proper physical distancing. Then throw in a little resentment because everyone on the Internet seems to be talking about how much extra time they have now for crafts, closeness, and self-care while — for you — work and personal commitments have you busier than ever (especially for you parents).
Now, top off all of that with a feeling of inadequacy in the face of trying to answer the question what can I do to help?
We are having many, many different emotions in these times.
As someone I know said, just having the feelings doesn’t contribute to the spread of COVID-19. So go right on and have them. All of them. In fact, it’s healthy. If you don’t let yourself experience the feelings, you know what happens. (In case you forgot, here’s a reminder: those feelings will come out in their own sweet time. It will be inconvenient; it may wreak havoc on your personal and professional relationships; it will suck. Consider yourself warned.)
So I say: feel the feels. And in the midst of all the feels, see that there never was any rug to pull out in the first place. The rug was an illusion. Permanence is an illusion. The past several weeks have reminded us of this in a big way as we watch one little virus disrupt life as we know it.
So, what can we count on then?
What we can count on is the present moment and our own personal experience in the present moment, whatever shape that takes. And in this moment lives a set of choices. Choices we make every day.
In making these choices, my question for myself is, how will I lead?
How will I lead myself, my family, my business, and in my community? I believe leading and leadership are at root about becoming more present, adaptive, and expansive. About locating personal agency, even in the worst of times. To do this well, we must reclaim energy from the things that don’t serve us so that we can find the resilience we need to thrive on unsteady ground. Even – especially – when it feels like the rug got pulled out.
Here’s what I know right now:
First, I know I want to be of service, and my family and I are finding ways that make sense for us to do that. Second, I also know I want to wake up on the other side of this having paid attention and worked with this time in a way that generates insight and possibility. And finally, I know I want to be in touch with you.
I know I’ve been quiet lately, and some of you have been asking me to write more frequently. I want you to know that I plan to. Looking forward, I am more committed than ever to supporting you in becoming an even stronger force in leading consciously in your organization and in your life. I look forward to staying connected with you, hearing your updates, and being a source of wisdom. Stay well.
|The poem below, written by Brother Richard Hendrick in Ireland on March 13, 2020, captures much of the complexity of the moment well.|