April Sunshine and the Value of Staying Flexible
Lately, I’ve been thinking of that classic Beatles song, “Here Comes the Sun.” Written by George Harrison in 1969, it reflects an optimism at the end of a “long, cold, lonely winter.” George wrote it when there was terrible in-fighting within the group; the song reflects the idea that healing is possible—even inevitable—at the end of difficult times.
Doesn’t that attitude kind of resonate with this shared moment?
As spring 2021 takes hold and the threat of CoViD-19 begins to fade, we can lean into this renewal. But it will likely not be all sunshine. Like an over-stretched rubber-band, things won’t return to the exact shape they were originally in. Too many people suffered loss of all kinds, personal as well as financial. Too many restaurants, stores, and movie theaters were forced to close. And too much has happened for us to see the world in the exact-same way. But as we pull out of this terrible chapter, a shift in perception may not be a bad thing. Perhaps we will find fresh appreciation for our so-called “normal life.”
The Importance of Flexibility
The ongoing theme of my blog in 2021 has been “flexibility.” As we transition away from the age of CoViD—not yet a done deal, by the way—flexibility will be crucial. It may be a while before masks are totally things of the past. It may also be a while before we feel comfortable shaking a stranger’s hand, let alone hugging people willy-nilly. So, when we emerge from the bleak shadow of CoViD-times, blinking in the bright sunlight of whatever-comes-next, what should we expect?
My suggestion to you: how about keeping our expectations open?
Flexibility is critical, especially when things are less-than-certain. When expectations are fixed, unbendable, brittle, it is human nature to put a lot of emotional and psychological energy into supporting the underlying world-view we hope will be true. This dynamic can keep us from truly seeing things as they are. When reality does not match the world view, too much energy is squandered trying to uphold a false illusion. (This, by the way, is the very definition of what we mean when we say someone is in denial.) As I mentioned in this blog’s February installment, “…If we are attached to expecting no clouds in the first place, our potential for appreciating silver linings is extremely limited.” The best way to handle promising—but uncertain—times is to face them with gratitude for the aspects that are clearly positive while staying present and simply observing, without trying to twist what we see into fitting what we wish we were seeing. That way we can recognize the best in our circumstances while keeping an open mind as to how to handle any curve-balls that might be thrown at us.
There is one element we should be absolutely committed to.
Spring is traditionally nature’s season of renewal. So I am all in when it comes to all of us renewing our firm commitment to nurture ourselves. Let’s be kind and patient with our insecurities and missteps and acknowledge our victories, no matter how large or small. Let us take time for proper self-care; rest when tired, eat when hungry, reach out to others when we need a loving touch or gesture.
If we can step into this time of renewal with that special combination of flexibility and self-nurturing, then some of that warming light will not be just emanating from the sun. It will be shining from ourselves, as well.