Responding to the Global Emergency from the Inside Out
A heightened sense of interconnectedness of our human community is awakening around the world. It is an interconnectedness that is threatening in one way and is life affirming in another. Being confronted with this paradox is a dizzying experience. I believe we are experiencing a global reset that overshadows all other attempts we have made to make pervasive and needed change in the world. To meet this challenge, we need to cultivate an inner resourcefulness and resilience.
Compared to how we have responded to mitigating climate change thus far, this crisis has intervened in our lives in previously unimagined ways. No one is exempt from this impact. There are two pieces of good news. First, for the first time in a very long time the earth is taking a breath of much cleaner air. And as local, regional, and federal governments respond, and as many of us do what we can to not spread the virus, a global protective shield or safety net is developing. Of course, we don’t know what this will mean in the long term for our global community, our economies, and our daily lives. What we do know is that as this global emergency continues, the new future will emerge from within it.
My work with rites of passage as a human systems change framework tells us a great deal about the in-between zone, when the old has abruptly ended and the future is in the process of being shaped. It is in this in-between time, this cycle of death and rebirth that is especially important to actively work with. Our work now is not to copy and paste the past onto the future but to take advantage of this in-between zone, this crisis, to create space for the new to come in—unexpected inspirations, new insights, feelings of creativity, and innovative thinking. To create this space, we need to pay attention to ourselves in a different way. It requires more than mentally figuring out a response. It requires being in-touch also with our emotions and bodies as intelligent inner resources. It is from within us that the new originates. And during this time, it is especially important to take this inner capacity seriously.
Becoming more fully present to ourselves and how we are feeling is the doorway to fully letting go of our expectations or beliefs about what should be, creating an inner spaciousness, and welcoming what wants to come forward now. Here is what I do to cultivate this inner space. Perhaps you would like to try it?
Personal Practice: Cultivating Inner Resourcefulness
Several times a day I remind myself to be patient and to notice my feelings of fear without judging them. I try to meet the fear with a soft touch of empathy and compassion and without pushing it away. I pay attention to my breathing and let it deepen and slow down. As my breath deepens, I relax. I notice the emotions that are moving through me and the sensations that are moving through my body. I meet them with kindness and compassion, take another breath and notice how they change. I hover there for a while and often the fear I have been feeling shifts, sometimes only for a few moments, and sometimes longer. In this inner space I feel more neutral and open, and I am more present to myself than I was before. As this happens, I begin to feel more present, alive, insightful and more creative. It is as though I am touching into an inner resource that helps me be more resilient. Sitting quietly with myself for 15, 20, or 30 minutes can make a real difference for me, especially now as I ask myself each day what is mine to do, in light of this global emergency and its perplexing paradoxical nature.
I find that the actions that flow out of this inner space are very different from the actions I take when I feel disconnected from myself and I am unsure about how I really am. Today after my morning reflection I chose to complete this blog piece—something that connects me to you. This is what wanted to come forward as part of an emerging future. It feels really good to express to you what I care about right now—my connections with others and our collective well-being, now and in the long term.
Cultivating a space of soft self-contact, patience and compassion, helps us know more about how we are really doing and to create the condition to shift out of reactivity and copy pasting the past onto the future and to inviting real creativity. And this inner space is available to all of us. Give it a try.