This quote has been circulating online since the coronavirus crisis shut down our country:
"In the rush to return to normal, use this time to consider which parts of normal are worth rushing back to."
-- Dave Hollis
Our politicians have started to discuss the possibility of reopening the economy and sending people back to work. Just yesterday Governor Cuomo of New York announced a multi-state coalition with representatives from New Jersey, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and Delaware to formulate a plan, taking both economic and health care priorities into consideration. A similar coalition has formed on the west coast. We all want to go back to normal, but in a post-pandemic world what does that even mean?
This dramatic recalibration has shone a bright light on both the good and bad aspects of our lives, at a personal level and a societal one. Relationships that were struggling are now falling apart from the stress. Businesses that were teetering financially are unable to stay afloat. A health care system with serious shortcomings is in full crisis.
But there are good things this situation has brought to light as well. With so few people driving the air in cities is clearing of pollution. Families are spending quality time together. Friends are reaching out to one another for support. For me, a daily walk has become a mental and spiritual touchstone.
As we move together into an uncertain future it will be important for each of us to decide what parts of normal we want to rush back to. If there is any saving grace of this terrible tragedy it is the opportunity to pause and examine our lives and our systems and to leave behind that which no longer serves us. November’s elections will no doubt be a referendum on how we want to move forward as a country, but we each can make these decisions in our personal lives as well.
The work I do to help people organize their homes often involves asking many of these same questions: What is serving you right now? What things are you holding on to from your past that are preventing you from moving forward? What do you want your life to look like and how can your home support that? We can think about this situation as an opportunity to declutter more than just our stuff, but also our routines, relationships, and what we consume.
It may still be too soon to figure all of this out, but I encourage you to pay attention to how you feel during this time of crisis, to tune in to the recent changes in your life that have made you feel better and those that have made you feel worse. Start a list of the new habits you want to bring forward into the new normal. For me, exercise, cooking, and connecting with friends have become daily habits that fill my cup and make me feel stronger and more grounded. Staying up late reading terrifying news reports is something I should definitely let go.
There is no doubt we will be permanently changed by this experience both as a country and as individuals. It’s up to us to decide what direction we head in and what parts of normal we rush back to. Let’s spend this moment reflecting and thinking about where we go from here, because it would be a shame to ignore all the lessons this great pause has taught us.
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