It is unfathomable in so many ways and yet here we are, moving into a whole new phase with our communities opening and the pandemic loosening its grip on the country. This is such an interesting time – we have been physically separated, socially challenged and emotionally drained and now we are moving again and creating what’s next, potentially in new ways.
I’m left with a few questions … what did I learn? How have I changed? What’s next? Big questions that got me writing this month. The learning is the easy one to see, throughout 2020 I immersed myself in online learning opportunities. I learned about racial justice, racialized embodied trauma, presence, embodiment, adult development, resilience, and even a bit about neuroscience. So much amazing content that I devoured in the midst of the monotony of lockdown. Now I’m left with lots of new ideas and many new tools which is both exciting and daunting. I want to live into these new possibilities, and I often fall into my same old habits. And the big, overarching learning is that that’s all part of my journey, I learn something new, try it sometimes and other times don’t.
So that brings me to how I have changed … in some ways I’m not sure I have and in others I feel completely transformed. My family and I have made it through COVID-19 unscathed for the most part and some close to us did not. We are grappling with what that means and feeling the pain of losses that are ours and those that are not ours directly. And what I’ve realized is that this sense of collective pain and grief is at the heart of how I have changed – I’m starting to see that my pain and your pain and the pain of the homeless person at the off ramp of the freeway and the pain of Black and brown people and all who we “other,” it’s all the same pain, it’s our pain. Don’t get me wrong, I’m NOT comparing levels of pain or saying I know what it’s like to be “othered” in the United States today – that I truly do NOT know or feel. What I AM saying is that we are impacted by each other’s pain, even when I stay in my own comfortable, privileged bubble, I am still part of this messy, often painful world, and what’s yours is mine and what’s mine is yours, it’s our pain. Just like my joy and your joy and all joy is our joy. Although we live in separate bodies, we are also part of one collective body of connection and love. As Richard Rohr says “Living wholeness is participating in the dynamism of love that gathers everything together into greater unity and consciousness. It is to live with an openness of mind and heart, to encounter others, not as strangers, but as parts of one’s self.” This wholeness feels like a game changer to me, it is ultimate community and is woven with compassion, starting with ourselves and extending to others. This vision of the fabric of compassionate community leads to my last question (of this blog post) – what’s next?
What is next? How to live into this wholeness, compassion, and connectedness with intention – that’s what’s next – so next is now, living into all the gifts and opportunities of 2020 and beyond. And it’s only possible for me to live in the moments, not in the past or the future but in the now. So that brings me back to marking time and people – these golden threads in the fabric of my and our community. And we still do this in the moments, when we choose to be here. Pause, breathe, move, one moment at a time. We all have the capacity to be here with ourselves and each other right now – and that’s where we find the power of us, amid our collective aliveness. What have you discovered and what are your gifts and opportunities from 2020? I’d love to hear about your moments and what you want to create next – let’s connect!
Epilogue … thank you to those of you who are still reading! As I get ready to push publish for this post, I’ve just listened to the sentencing of Derek Chauvin. A year and a month later and I’m feeling more than ever the importance of creating collective and compassionate community by choosing to be here, right now, even when I feel uncomfortable and uncertain. And I’m so grateful to call each one of you part of my community!
Caroline Cochran, PhD is a Certified Presence-Based® Coach and a Leadership Development Consultant with over 25 years of experience.