Close to the Bone

The more people I’ve gotten to reconnect with this summer—our respite, in the US, between wave after horrible COVID-19 wave—the more I’ve seen a pattern.

Each of us, no matter our circumstance, background, and personal situation, has found our resilience shaken. Our reserves are low. At some point in the past 18 months, we’ve gotten cut too close to the bone.

We carry the accumulated toll of month after month of fear, uncertainty, new responsibilities and isolation.

And while we had a brief window when it felt like the worst was behind us, now we’re entering yet another season with a rising caseload and rising uncertainty; the prospect of putting COVID-19 behind us might be replaced with the prospect that this is the new world we all live in.

Most of this change in us is invisible. From the outside, we look OK. But when we dig a bit deeper and ask more questions, we can see the cracks in the foundation, a shift in our emotional structural underpinning that places us on less stable ground.

I, for one, don’t have a quick answer for how to address this in ourselves. Surely part of the answer is to go easy on ourselves, make time in our days to be in nature, to quiet our minds, to put down our devices and to break a good sweat.

I would also suggest that we can help one another by remembering that no one will come out of this unscathed: while we may emerge stronger in the end, we have some deep valleys to get through from here to there.

Since we don’t need a special occasion to do so, let’s choose to act towards each other with more forgiveness, kindness and generosity of spirit.

Let’s commit to being more open-hearted with each other.

Let’s commit, starting today, to ask each other real questions, and to stay fully present for the answers.

Most of the time, and especially now, accompaniment is the greatest gift we can give to one another.

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