These are troubling times, to say the least.
We are confronting the most widespread, extensive, global health emergency in at least 100 years. Our economy is staggering like a boxer battered into delirium. Opinions have become “facts.” Social unrest is boiling. Political “discourse” (such as it is), centered around the removal or retention of arguably the most controversial, divisive, polarizing administration anyone can remember; has devolved to that of a couple of three-year-olds shouting “You’re a poo-poo head!” “No, your face is!” It feels like we’re together, untethered in a 1950s rusty, claptrap old school bus; sans seatbelts, careening down a potholed mountain roadway, out of control, hanging on for dear life while screaming in terror for someone to save us as we hurl towards a cliff on November 3. We’re hoping we don’t go over the edge; assuming all will eventually be okay. Yet, that grating, inner voice refuses to shut up, saying, “Don’t get your hopes up” continues to grow louder. I just want it all to stop.
But wait, there’s more!
Ghia, Mother Earth, is facing an existential crisis, resulting in unending firestorms, relentless flooding, bone dry draughts, and – in general – exceptionally severe weather, which is devastating property and lives (including non-human) on an unprecedented global level. (For the record, I long to live in a world where the word, “unprecedented” is no longer a standard adjective.)
The vise-grip, chest-squeezing, anxiety-producing catalog of happenings has us on hairpin triggers, damaging our collective and emotional physical, and mental health. For those of us who can remember it, 1968 is a Disney fairy tale compared to the Stephen King horror story of 2020. No one – not a single person alive today – has lived through an upheaval like this ever. Not one of us.
Of course, I don’t need to tell you that. You see it. You feel it. You’re living it, just as am I.
As goes the curse, we are living in “fascinating” times. It’s challenging to hold hope high when even the sky is covered in a thick blanket of burnt smoke.
Yet, a flicker crossed my mind.
In the field of behavioral change, it’s known that the trigger that causes change is a combination of fear, force, and pain. After all, no one wakes up one morning, surveys his or her lifestyle, decides all is idyllic, and proclaims, “God, I love my life! Let me see how I can change it.” No, change only makes known itself once we are worn out, scared, scarred, battered, and overwhelmed. It’s called “rock bottom,” that gut-churning sensation that something — anything — is better than where we are, so despite whatever pain or uncertainly lies ahead, we reluctantly, unwillingly, tenuously, tread gingerly into the new. If done gently and repeatedly, change evolves.
As individuals, as a society — as a global community inextricably bound together as one — that is where we find ourselves now: rock bottom.
So, I am trying – weakly I’ll admit – to look at these days not as end-times but as the impetus causing us to question everything, and to hopefully take the energy of the turbulence churning around us as the catalyst to inch forward in the direction of what future historians will call the “New Awakening.” From this hurt, I envision a world for our great-grandchildren and beyond, that is more compassionate, gentle, kind, supportive, cooperative, and in balance with the planet.
I’m not sure you and I will live there; it will take generations to complete the arc. But we have to believe, pray, affirm, and act as if it will happen. The alternative is unthinkable.
We must not let go of hope. We must remember we are all in this together.
About the author: Scott “Q” Marcus is a professional speaker and founder of www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com, where he can be contacted for coaching, consulting, and presentations. During this social distancing period, he is conducting monthly on-line workshops on setting goals and getting past what holds you back. You can find out more at www.ThisTimeIMeanIt.com/intentions