During this past year, in which so much has changed for me and for all of us on the outside, much has changed for me on the inside also.
While some are waiting for things to go back to “normal” I trust that most have begun to ponder that if a “going back” is possible and if it is, is the old “normal” really what I want? At the beginning of this change, with the first lock downs and outer distractions being limited to a minimum, I enjoyed the slower pace of things, the finding my own rhythm again and the sense of stillness that settled in within. There was time available all of a sudden, time to paint, to write, to think, to sit, to feel. All the attention that had been going out, was now going in. I began to feel rested and very much in touch with myself.
After this long time of continuous adaptation to the new normal I have witnessed within me and others a growing longing to connect and be with others and at the same time a sense of reluctance to actually do it. Many by now prefer to work from home rather than go to the office to be amongst their co-workers. When being offered the opportunity to hold a seminar online or live, I have opted for zoom. Something has become very comfortable with the reduction of exposure to larger groups of people.
I feel this is a very natural reaction to a sense of safety and comfort that isolation can bring, there is simply no one around to disturb me in my me-ness. The situation is more controllable and I can avoid tension, triggers and conflict. Yet we are not islands, we are social beings and we need each other to evolve, to be disturbed in our ways, to be confronted with otherness, inspired by it. So many varieties of ways to walk this life, we see it in witnessing one another.
Being that which we are, we are united in a longing for connection and for growth. Both we acquire through relating. From my experience, only through relating.
It is in relating that we become alive, in interacting, in connecting. In this field we open when we meet other people, we may be bothered and triggered, we may be inspired, charmed and uplifted. It is in community that we feel the many facets of our humanness and maybe even the realization that we are in fact all One. Exposing ourselves to others, to our communities, we enter a space that is not controllable and the illusion of safety is challenged. For me this is a good thing.
To accept the invitation to listen, to keep listening and to watch what it moves in me when confronted with an irritation. To remember that there is no ultimate truth in this life, as each is on their own path, in their own experience. It is not only the agreeing that keeps us connected, it is also the tension and the not agreeing that keeps us alive and excited about learning from and experiencing with one another.
It is a time to take especially good care of one another and nurture ourselves as well as the community, to maintain it so it maintains us. It is also a time to pay especially close attention to the needs of the community, making sure that each one is met, that no one is ignored. To allow fear as well as the celebration. To accept that the experience is different for each individual and yet we are in the same storm.
To find the courage and the heart to remain open and aware, to accept all for what it is rather than getting too caught up in ideas of right and wrong. Finding ways and angles to connect, ideas that we share rather than feed into thoughts and feelings of separation and judgement.
This can be a time to connect more consciously to the communities you are a part of and feel and celebrate the disturbance as well as the sense of belonging, to celebrate the connection as well as the growth.
Our communities are our training ground to stay flexible and open to the future, a future that we cannot foresee and cannot control but one which we can intend to co-create together.
Charu Eliza Hermsdorf
Co-founder of DIMA Mallorca, A Centre for Conscious Living
Mediator and Conflict counselor at MediateBerlin