Hi friends, welcome to May.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed with information, opinions, speculation, and advice lately. How to parent during Covid-19, how to strengthen your business during the pandemic, 5 ways to work from home more effectively, and the list goes on. I feel like a flower that’s been overwatered in a pot that has no holes in the bottom: the steady stream of data coming in at this point is actually doing more harm than good.
So this newsletter won’t offer any new tips, learnings, reflections, or even inspiration. It is my hope that it will simply serve as an invitation for you to sit with what’s happening.
And that’s no small ask, because we’re pretty much wired to look for answers when something of this magnitude pulls the rug out from under our feet and changes so much. We want to know why it happened and what we can do to prevent it from happening again. We want to know when it will end and what its impact will be on our future. I hate to say it, but we also want to find someone/something to blame so we can reassure ourselves it wasn’t our fault in any way. And above all, we want to find the meaning behind it. We’ve all had to stop our lives, make drastic changes, and deal with loss in some form since this pandemic broke. It would make us feel much better, I suspect, if we knew all of this heartbreak had a purpose, that it was part of a greater plan that one day we could look back on and be grateful for.
The problem isn’t that we’re looking for answers, but that we’re looking in the wrong places. Because every one of us is experiencing this pandemic differently, the only way to find real meaning in it will be to turn our attention inward. As Gelnnon Doyle points out in her latest book, the saying is “Be Still and Know”, not “Listen to the experts and know” or “Poll your friends on Instagram and know” or “Google it and know.”
As a teacher, I am always looking for new content to share with my classes. I read quite a bit, I watch Ted Talks, I write down inspiring quotes I hear, I tune in to podcasts, etc. What I realized recently, however, is that I’ve fallen into the habit of taking information in on one end and simply sharing it out the other, without giving myself the chance to digest it, connect with it, make it authentic and true for me first. This step is crucial if we eventually want to share something of real value with others, and it cannot be rushed or forced.
One of my favorite quotes (from Brene Brown’s book ‘Dare to Lead’) expresses this beautifully:
“Knowledge is only rumor until it lives in the bones.”
Instead of bombarding each other with information, let’s commit first to our own transformation. Of course we can still share, but only that which truly moves us, and with the understanding that just because it’s true for us it doesn’t have to be true for anyone else.
Be Still and Know, my friends.