I can’t think of another word that is more vital to embrace after what we have gone through in our world this last year and continue to navigate.
I don’t know about you but the anxiety I felt for the first time, wearing a mask in public and seeing masked people driving around town, was so alarming!
There were moments in the grocery store, where my glasses would fog up and then my mask would breathe in way too close and I would try to move it away without touching it directly with my hands and I felt panic rising up in my chest. I avoided public spaces for weeks because of the fear.
Eventually I found masks that allowed me to breathe. And I absorbed the reality of how we are doing our part for public health and saw my discomfort as a small price to pay for the betterment of the whole.
Glaring Need for Food Banks
I am fortunate (and I know it and am grateful) that my work allows me to work at home. In the early summer, after gearing up to leave the house for the weekly shop, the roads and the sidewalks were virtually empty. The emptiness felt creepy.
On my way home, I turned to go into my neighbourhood, there was movement. I watched this tall woman quickly cross the road with her little baby in a stroller to get in line at the pop-up Food Bank at the local school that I didn’t notice before. Time stopped. And the reality of this picture haunted me. And then I cried. The pandemic is real. People are hungry, this is real.
Amazingly, almost right after that, our community filled a whole stadium with donated food. Heartbreakingly beautiful and simultaneously heartbreaking.
Racial Inequality and Unrest
First, I am not qualified to speak intellectually on this topic as I am still unpacking and unlearning and learning. But after the murders of unarmed black people in the US caused a global movement, I felt rage and then hope for humanity. Seeing people come together, united for justice was inspiring. I signed up for webinar after webinar and crammed my mind with education on the history of slavery and colonization and systemic racism, I felt guilt and shame of my white privilege and ignorance. And then, my dearest person was targeted with racist hate language, which brought it home, literally. It is our duty as humans to learn from the past and do better. When we stay in the dark, we are never free.
The abruptness of closing the schools revealed the gender inequality that exists and persists. The she-cession has impacted women globally and brings me to my knees in overwhelm and how to make change and help people cope with it all, in its unique and varying ways. Families are hurting. Single parents, grief, suicide prevention, depression, work life balance, emotional labour and pay inequity have been consuming my mind and my reading list.
If you have children under 14 right now with no one to care for them, how do you go to work? Many women in food and hospitality have lost their jobs and many others are in precarious situations. Women in the labour market is the lowest it has been in decades. Universal child care has been touted as a possible solution, along with equal pay and education on gender bias but we need the vaccine.
The pressure to do it all, be it all, have it all, is proving to be impossible for many and that realization is either liberating or crushing.
Over the weekend, we began to unpack our Christmas decorations, eager to start celebrating, even if its just our immediate family this year. I lifted my favourite snowmen family from the box and squeezed them to me like a child and then I touched the area in my chest and remembered the cyst that may or may not be growing, the one the doctors are “watching” every 6 months.
And I became acutely aware of how unknown the future feels, how unreliable, unsteady, unfamiliar, unsure everything can feel … when we look at the weight and expanse of all that we are facing. It is all too big. I held my husband and daughter — rather they held me, as I cried. It’s a complicated gratitude, that we simply have each other and our health, holding the awareness that not all are as fortunate.
I feel like it is a normal occurrence right now, that I cry, my friends cry, my family, my clients. We tell each other (virtually) how much we love each other. We have been quite bold. If you are waiting to say these words in your life, now is the time!
A global pandemic, political unrest, polarization, economic instability, borders closed! This is all real, so get real with the love you have in your life and don’t waste another moment! Share it! There is little else that is as real and transforming as love.
I am used to feeling things deeply. I always have been highly sensitive, intuitive, empathetic and being this way requires boundaries and time to rest. But this year has taught me that…
We must actively strive for equality for all, to promote and live with respect and civility in our own minds, at home with our spouses, children, family, at work with our colleagues and clients and in society and demand the same from government.
Even as I write this you see when you start from the inner world, it extends out and shifts – EVERYTHING can be reduced to love ~ to learn, to choose to give and receive love. Practice.
If you feel compelled to create more meaning and change your life and align with your life purpose, practice getting really good at giving love and receiving love.
Whether you are a taxi driver, doctor, teacher, politician — your purpose is to clear out the clutter, to perform your work mindfully (to be present) and give and receive love in the process.
Really, that is it.
So, while the bigger global pictures are bringing us to our knees, as I see I have repeated throughout this post, it is our love that will heal us and our commitment to equality for all. We are resilient — we are capable to recover after stress.
So, if this is overwhelming or confusing about what to do next — approach it like this: Whoever is in front of you, beside you, listening or talking to you, choose mindfully to love them, look into their eyes and start this healing that we need to do, every day, one ripple in the ocean each day, one interaction, one thought at a time.
We are planning some really soul nourishing workshops this month, I invite you to join, connect and find some peace. If you need assistance or guidance on how to create change and begin your journey, I also offer one-on-one coaching services at Embrace Your Life coaching. If I can be of any help to you, I would love to schedule a complimentary session to discuss your goals.