do nothing

The world changes, we change with it

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Once again I find myself thinking about life during this pandemic and how it has changed,… and if possible, how to make those changes beneficial.
When it gets cold the people with boats pull them out of the water and put them away for the winter. When the top of the water freezes, it’s no longer a good way for people to get around. All over the world cities have grown up around ports: on oceans, lakes, and rivers because it’s a lot easier to move stuff from one place to another along the water. Winter stops that.

On the other hand, when water freezes, it gets hard and flat. People can now walk across the water whereas most of the year they’d have to find (or make) a bridge, or wade, or swim. Ice allows them to cross, facilitating rather than preventing travel. Snow lays a layer of lubricant on the ground so sleighs and sleds can slide far more easily than a sledge. People can ski on the snow, or skate on the ice. The difference is knowing that it’s possible, and learning how to take advantage of the new condition of the world.

Change can be hard. The world is not the same. We may need to learn new ways. Walking on ice is different than walking on less slippery ground, you have to learn to keep your weight over your feet, keep your knees loose, and maybe spread your arms out a bit- like a penguin. (In the world of shelter-in-place, I need to learn how to negotiate Zoom.)

We know that the world is changing. Climate Change is sometimes called “Global weirding” because it’s changing in so many ways. Those who have locked their expectations into things staying the same, like oil companies, may try to force things to stay the way that is beneficial to their interests, but they are fighting a losing battle. Some people want to do business they way they have “always done”, the way they did before we lived in a word where we don’t know if we have a virus inside us that might kill anyone we meet. The virus won’t go away because we can’t see it, and half the people who do get it can’t tell they’ve got it. The world has changed, and we need to adapt, or we could kill people accidentally. No one wants to do that.


The way to deal with change is to honestly look at what’s happening, as with boating down rapids: find a course that goes with the flow, rather than trying to make the water go your way. While the population of the world learns to live with this new virus, we have to create a new way to live. This gives us a chance to look at the lives we have considered normal without thinking about them, and create a better world, one that supports us in who we want to be. Many of us are being forced to stay home and ‘do nothing’. This gives us a chance to do more than clean out our drawers and closets. We can take the time to think about what we can do to change the world into a better place as long as it’s already changing.

Like heavy loads on ice, things move more easily when they’ve already started moving. This is an opportunity for us to steer the world into a better direction. Trying to stop change is liable to get you run over. Embrace the change. Make the world into the one you want for your descendants. Make yourself into the person you want to be. (“Be the person your dog thinks you are.”) This change has forced us to slow down, but like an iced over river, it may be what we need to move the way we want to go.

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