Playlist — #NaPoWriMo Day One
There are lyrics I would steal
– to reach back and remember
the way things felt. To dance or
to laugh. To fight. Tiny doorways
to what might be nostalgia –
felt as longing.
There are melodies to sample
that hold relationships. Rhythms
tell us where we expanded /
Breathe in. Breathe out.
Time — encoded in song. An
entire world in a single note.
How do we know?
What kind of leadership does your company need to move through these times?
How do we adapt to living in a post-COVID-19 world?
What are the kinds of things that your customers are going to want from you as we navigate the impacts of coronavirus on our lives, and our economy?
Does anyone know the answers to any of these questions?
I suspect not. Charles Eisenstein goes directly at this in his wonderful new essay, The Coronation:
…[N]o one knows what is really happening, including me. Let us be aware of two contradictory tendencies in human affairs. The first is the tendency for hysteria to feed on itself, to exclude data points that don’t play into the fear, and to create the world in its image. The second is denial, the irrational rejection of information that might disrupt normalcy and comfort. As Daniel Schmactenberger asks, How do you know what you believe is true?
In the face of the uncertainty, I’d like to make a prediction: The crisis will play out so that we never will know.
It’s in our nature to want to know. Especially in times such as these. Knowing can bring comfort. It brings with it a sense of control. And in that may be one of the most profound learnings we can bring into our lives right now — the recognition of just how much is beyond our control. Beyond our knowing. Beyond our ability to do anything.
Of course we are looking for comfort right now. For many of us, this may be the most uncomfortable time in our lives, so seeking comfort is normal. At the same time, I wonder about these questions, and the speed with which we try to answer them. I see article after article passing by on my LinkedIn feed trying to get to some of this. I hear colleagues seeking marketing strategies in these times. It makes sense. And might we wonder, what if we have no idea? We certainly don’t now. Heck, we don’t know if our economy is going to survive. It might not. If it doesn’t, we are going to have a whole host of other questions to reckon with.
Perhaps one of the great invitations right now is to do more unlearning than learning. To notice the stories we are holding and question them. How do we know what we believe is true? Perhaps now is a time to be in that inquiry.
Releasing the wrattling
A stay home order seems like the time when the writing would happen, doesn’t it? I saw a tweet a couple of weeks ago that said something like, “A whole lot of Americans are going to find out that they need a lot more than plenty of time at home to write that book.” All too true.
It certainly isn’t that I haven’t had things on my mind to write. It’s something else — something that I think many of us can relate to. Focus has been a bit hard to come by. Not only is being cooped up a real thing (and we’re lucky, we have a nice yard to go into and a nice neighborhood to walk in), but the emotional and mental energy that is used right now is, well, a lot. It takes up a ton of space, not leaving much room for the many things that I’d love to be doing.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful to be amazingly creative right now? Wouldn’t it be amazing to just be churning out thing after thing? Would it be so.
It’s been a couple of weeks since we really knuckled down and decided to stay home. It’s been almost as long since I posted here. I’m okay with it. Indeed, I’m letting go of any need for me to have to do anything to justify my existence. Truth is, I have done things. There is this and this and this. In fact, that’s kind of a lot.
That said, I feel the words rattling around. I feel the desire to move them out. And what perfect timing. Wednesday is April 1st. The first day of #NaPoWriMo — National Poetry Writing Month. This will be the third year I’ve done it. The first year I did it, I posted it to Medium and to Instagram. Last year, I was sneaky. I put it only here, under the poetry tag. This year, perhaps I’ll be more bold. We’ll see.
In the meantime. Here are the words that shook loose today. May they find you healthy and well.
How many more things about COVID-19 can a person read? We have just begun this journey together, a journey that no one knows the length of. What we can know is that we are in it together. This isn’t something that can be avoided.
Many will lose (and have lost) their lives. Let us hold them in our hearts.
Many will lose (and have lost) their work. Let us find ways to lift them up and support them.
Many are isolated from loved ones, some of whom they don’t know if they will see again. May we reach for them, offering our hearts and open connection.
Many are at risk of adjacent challenges — be it related to a medical condition or financial situation. May we keep them in mind as we call out to our elected bodies, encouraging them to do the work of government: supporting the people.
We are all here together in this — even if we are forced apart. May we find our way toward a new world, one where we each matter to one another.
Probably one if the most toxic attitudes we can hold. Is it behind our (my?) inability to connect? Is it (at least part of) what keeps us (me) from being able to be curious or engaged with those whom we (I!) disagree?
So much more to be said on this. But today, with the amount of energy I’m feeling, this is the most I can do at the moment.
What a turtle can tell us about life
Imagine an ocean. A big one. Maybe one as big as everything. In the ocean swims a single turtle. This turtle is the only life form in this infinitely-vast ocean. Upon the surface of the ocean floats a wooden ring — just wide enough that the turtle would be able to fit its head through, should the two ever come into contact.
What are the odds of this happening? The turtle surfacing for air, and its head slipping through the ring as it floats on the surface?
Imagine: Infinite ocean. A single turtle. A small wooden ring.
I don’t remember where I first encountered this idea, but it is something like this: the odds of you being here — of being alive — are about the same as this turtle and the ring making contact in an infinite ocean. In other words, they are very slim.
What do we call this?
I call this a miracle.
That is, from where I sit, what all of this is. A miracle.
It’s all too easy to get lost in the specifics of the day — coronavirus, the election, the plunging stock market, the division among us — and to lose sight of what is happening around us. Life is happening around us. This miracle that is almost impossible to fathom, even though it occupies every square inch of our lives every day.
Sure, there are things that we need to fight for and change. There are concerns that need addressing. This is all true. And, it all happens in this field — this wild and fascinating field — of life.
We are, after all, alive.