By Judith E. Lipson, M.A., LPC
The challenge: For generations we have run from the stillness and the silence. Though many of us have been able to enjoy the occasional “quiet” that nature can provide, the majority of people feel threatened when encountering any stillness or silence because of their own inner noise. This inner chatter can be deafening due to the quality of the chatter: There is an inordinate amount of judgment. The judgment towards other people is bad enough, especially for those who really do wish to be compassionate towards others, but the inner judgment that is directed to oneself is frightening and damaging.
Why is it that we condemn ourselves at every turn and with every possibility? Sometimes when you look back at your history you can see how the patterns were established within your family. You can also see the patterns that have been established and perpetuated from our society, including the belief that we live in a world of scarcity. We have each been led to believe that there truly is not enough to go around. We think that if you have something then I will not have enough. We think that if you have toilet paper (chuckle), then there won’t be enough for me. And it isn’t just the tangible items that we feel we need to collect. This also applies to the other aspects of our life that are so important, like freedom, power, comfort and love.
The opportunity: Production and movement have slowed. The world is quieter. News clips, from before re-opening, showed empty roads with a solitary pedestrian or car. Folks in faraway communities have been talking about the ability to see the sky and the land. I read that there’s a section of the Himalayas that is suddenly visible from a far away city, and multiple cities that had been beleaguered by pollution are now viewing clearer skies.
If you’ve been fortunate to recognize the good news during this pandemic, you can see and hear the signs of people who are transforming. The compassion for our fellow man is present. Like those before us who have been called to the front lines of a war to protect their families and community, our own front-liners have stepped forward. These are of course our healthcare workers and first-responders who put their families and their own lives on the line every day to protect each of us. But the lesser-known acts of service are also apparent: I read of an animal shelter that managed to find homes for every pet. There are people who are dealing with their own financial or food insecurity who are helping to support those who are less fortunate. I am also deeply moved by the various agencies and companies that are now collaborating together in an unprecedented way to find solutions and cures for us all.
When I see these stories I know I am witnessing the shift. [Read more…]