Fast forward: December 31, 2020.
What does this picture look like to you? What do you want for it to look like? How many times has this image altered itself since January? How many times do you envision it changing until then? Dizzying questions, for certain. Where or how does one even begin to explain and make sense of it all?
Our world has shifted dramatically in a matter of months; a disruption that no one saw coming in this year, let alone in their lifetime. I almost feel as though I need to place a "pre-pandemic" asterisk* next to every post on SeasonedSenses prior to COVID-19 (and perhaps will). Yet, this year is a prime example of what Seasoned Senses is all about. 2020 may have arrived in startling fashion, but it is calling upon us to re-examine ourselves, the world around us, and address the tough questions about how we intend to proceed. Undoubtedly, 2020 has been riddled with tragedy, but it is simultaneously also gifting us with opportunity.
If you had asked me in January what my “Big Things” were going to be as my focus this year, they would have been completely different than those that presented themselves in March, or April, or in May. So much change, so many heavy questions, so much…and sometimes, too much. In an unexpected and uninvited turn of events, status-quo gave way to massive restructure.
And one thing became abundantly clear: we were being directed to place a full-stop on our current existence and LISTEN.
Listen to the world. Listen to our community. Listen to unjustly muted voices. Listen to the environment. Listen to our centers. January’s aggressive (yet predictable) pursuits of chasing a Boston qualifying time quickly gave way to more urgent matters; a full re-examination of my intrinsic priorities in an infected world. February infused confusion and uncertainty into our daily lives. Enter March, our inaugural month of official Lockdown, igniting my emotional defense mechanisms in order to protect my unprepared ego from the threats of fear and catastrophe. These protective, pollyana-esque daydreams conjured during long hikes and euphoric bouts of denial, surrendered to April's confrontational questions about who I REALLY am and moreso, how I needed to transform. My soul was now calling upon a level of sobriety I was not familiar with or prepared for. Yet, following the initial shock of it all, I emerged from this spiritual ice bath and welcomed the hard work ahead, prepared or not. The message could not have been any more direct: this is a rare and unprecedented opportunity to carve out some serious improvements.
Embarking on my internal homework, I became equal parts grateful and mortified to identify areas of myself where I had proverbially, “fallen asleep on the job”. At what point in my development did I drop the ball? I have learned in this great journey that intrinsic life priorities such as relationships, health, and maturity require nurturing, protection and evolution in order to grow….How on earth did I fail to add social justice to this list? It’s not as though one reaches a certain level of moral excellence, rings the victory bell and then rests on the laurels of ultimate wisdom. Yikes. I acknowledged my own privileges. As humiliating as it was to admit my oversight, it was also liberating to take accountability for my shrouded imbalance. There is some work to be done.
I've been keeping myself quite busy. A sharp reminder that complacency is an embarrassing intruder in our lives; our lives which are far more compatible with progress.
So, I ask myself this question again:
Fast forward to December 31, 2020. What does this picture look like to you? How do you want it to look like? And if they differ, how or why do they differ? What is your role, your call to action, in reconciling them? This year has certainly called upon us to carefully consider these urgent action items. It has demanded our ear, our growth, our reverence and it has no intention of ending the way it began. Its ultimate outcome lies with us. So, I will begin there and work backwards on my own personal timeline to the present, as I listen, as I stumble, as I grow, and as I re-envision a new action plan.
Action…being the operative word.
Just imagine how this year COULD end. In the aftermath of this turbulent upending, we could really have a lot to be proud of...if we choose it.