My last blog post was from February 17th, 2020.
Today is April 1st, 2020.
If you are reading this on or near this date, you know as well as I how much the world has changed in that month-and-a-half. I don’t think I really need to go into details. After all, you are living it. We all are.
Yet generally speaking, it’s probably fair to say that it has been easier than ever to see what is unpleasing, what is stressful or scary. So much is happening seemingly all at once all around the world which we do not want. If we watch the news, if we follow the chatter, if we even reflect on the changes around us, it can be easy to become negative and fearful.
After all, our collective sense of normalcy and safety has been turned on its head, and replacing it is a future that is as-yet completely uncertain (and the only thing certain about this uncertainty is that it is going to be bad, right?). We have entered the unknown on a massive, global scale, putting the survival brain of the human being on red alert.
The month that has just passed, March 2020, will no doubt be considered in the history books as a time of unprecedented global disruption occurring simultaneously all over the planet.
And yet the sun shone. The birds sang. The sunlight through the trees was beautiful.
Personally, I enjoyed nature in my city like never before. I took beautiful jogs and delighted in the river, the parks, the shade, the trees. I drank in the beauty and well-being of nature. I even appreciated the grass through the window next to our dining table. Beyond that, I appreciated loved ones, and good movies, and good food, and many other delights.
Didn’t you? Didn’t you enjoy good food, some good times with loved ones, some good entertainment, maybe some nice walks or exercise, or the satisfaction of accomplishing something that mattered to you?
One day a few weeks ago, I stood outside our flat talking to a friend about that day’s precipitous stock market drop. We were reflecting on how crazy things were getting. At the same time, we were appreciating the fine white blossoms on the tree next to us.
It occurred to me that there are two narratives going on here, two very different ways of viewing things. The one you read in the news seems to suggest that the world is in the midst of a global catastrophe that jeopardizes civilization as we know it. The other narrative–the one I see in the sunlight basking down through the trees, or the moon at night, or in the squirrels running along the fence, or even reading a good book, watching a good movie, or hearing an inspirational recording–suggests that an infinite supply of well-being is as available today as it has ever been.
Which one is right?
Scratch that question from existence. Which one feels better?
My favorite inspiration these days continues to be Abraham-Hicks. They speak continually about being unconditional in your focus on feeling good. That means, doing all that you can to choosing what you will focus on, how how you will feel, what your mood will be, and how you will spend your moments.
No matter what conditions you are in.
It means focusing on things to appreciate it. It means saying “No thanks” to things that don’t feel good. It means delighting in delightful things.
I think of Thoreau, and how he learned to tune out the noise of the man-made world of his day. He tuned into the rhythm of nature while he conducted his experiment by the pond.
I feel, more than ever, that I am conducting my own experiment of similar quality, if not kind. I am choosing to keep my thoughts focused on delightful things.
Like the squirrels. Like the trees. Like the ability to write this post. Like the love in my life, and food I enjoyed today, and the blessings of being alive.
That’s what I choose to focus on.
Look at your pets. Look at how calm and happy they are. Are they crazy? Don’t they know that the world is coming apart!? Maybe their happy, peaceful nature expresses a greater truth. Maybe the babies and the pets and squirrels have it right.
Maybe these circumstances are the perfect opportunity to let go of our insane need to think that we control anything at all outside of ourselves and instead focus on the amazing power we have to focus on things that brings us peace, joy, and satisfaction.
Maybe the most sane choice we can make, in this moment of where everything seems uncertain, is to believe that all is well despite how conditions appear.
Because if we can do that, we harness a truly remarkable power that puts our experience of life fully in our hands.