The Lesson of Silence - a Corona Virus Isolation Post
Updated: Apr 6, 2020
I think that maybe not getting what you want is often such an un-acknowledged blessing.
It's been about 3 weeks of isolation due to the corona virus pandemic, and I went through a range of feelings that were generally not pleasant. Add to it a growing collective fear, etc, and I was really not feeling good for a few weeks.
There's been so much time on my hands, so much time to think, and for most of us it is a minefield, although I'm begging to think that it's a necessary one that we all must eventually go through.
I say this because I realized something else in the midst of this silence and extreme slowing down of life: I'd really not been living in a way that had made me happy in the present. I've spent a lot of the past 2 years of my life working to try to get somewhere that I believed would make me happy in the future, without taking a moment to stop and remember that such a future moment never comes: happiness is always now and we either let it in or we don't.
Due to this time I've had on my hands to think these things over I'm doing some big changes in my life, both professional and personal, and I can't be more thrilled by my decisions.
And in terms of this website I'm extremely excited to start pursuing some things I thought too risky to get into before. Like mixing some things up and start doing some other art forms I've always loved, but thought would negatively impact the future marketability of my work.
We live in a such a results-oriented society. It truly hits us during these times because a lot of the "important" things we've been working on for a long time are suddenly wiped away and you're left wondering, what did I do with all that time? Did I really just throw it all down the drain?
But within that kind of thinking lies the problem. If you did not experience happiness during that time, working on whatever you were working on and doing whatever you were doing, then yes, you did throw all that time down the drain. There are no results for anything we are doing that will last long enough to justify throwing away our present happiness. All those results will disappear, eventually, sooner or later.
And I understand that you probably have a mortgage, kids, a car, a life, etc, and that such things take money and practical considerations, but I guess what I'm trying to say is that it's always possible, at any moment, to change the train's direction, to slowly but surely take practical steps towards less stress, less things, less complications, more time to think, to enjoy life or pick a new inspiring direction if you don't have one yet. It's not necessarily going to be an easy transition, but the consequences otherwise are heartbreaking.
The subconscious beliefs of society these days can be found in many different phrases that are commonly accepted as "good" and "wise" and which we interpret in a very specific way, such as "Find your passion", or "Make your mark in the world" or "make the most of every day", without deeper thought and reflection into exactly what such pronouncements mean to us in the context of a success and celebrity obsessed culture. For most of us we grow up thinking we need to find a "thing", latch unto it, make it our life's mission, wrestle it to the ground, and that this "thing" will eventually land us celebrity or riches or happiness and will make all the struggle and sacrifices worthwhile.
But what if we analyzed these phrases from without such context? "Find your passion" might mean to some people a way of life, a rhythm that allows for peace and time for reflection and time for making things with their own hands. For others "make your mark in the world" might mean being the parent who nurtures their children into becoming healthy, well-adapted adults. For others "make the most of every day" might mean doing a simple job that you do very well and enjoy deeply, or being the person who peels your friends off their screens and gets them together to play board games on the weekends.
In other words, we are human beings, we are not just one thing. We are so many things, all bundled together and exploring ourselves in so many different ways all the time. I believe we need to create a society where this is OK again, we need to create a country where making mistakes, exploring, and taking our time is allowed. We need a society in which we are allowed to be human beings again, not human doings.
I believe this is a time when we must deeply reevaluate our lives and choices, and that from it we're all going to emerge happier, less distracted, and with more purpose. I believe that our collective subconscious is pushing us in this direction, and that a great deal of us are reaching our limit with a results and consuming-oriented society and we will collectively make choices for big changes in the future. It's not going to be easy, I'm not saying that. The running narrative of our society is strong and it will take a lot of change to modify it, but we can start by taking a deep breath and some much-needed time to think about our lives.
But please, make sure that whatever new direction you're exploring in, that you're loving the process, the every day, the glamorous and the unglamorous aspects of it NOW, not later.