Getting back up again

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Symbols are wonderful, they give us a way to look at a situation through a different context that may help give insight. Right now many of us are working hard on getting through the new constraints of the Covid-19 pandemic, so I thought I’d look at the feelings of being out of “in over our heads”, at risk, and helpless so many of us are feeling these days, by comparing it to the symbolism of being literally in over our heads.

I’m not sure that it’s applicable, but it may be. That’s sort of what symbols are for.
Step one is to hold your breath, and go back to where you fell in. To a certain extent I’m not sure we can return to where we were before a new virus none of our immune systems had encountered would be. But I do think that not breathing in that which will kill you is good. At this point we are using masks because we don’t really know if there’s virus in the air- so that’s not a good analogy for being underwater. Still, finding a way out, look for light. Look for what whatever “lights up your life” for you personally.
The second step is to get part of your body out, a bit at a time. I think of this would be being satisfied with small gains. Moving forward in tiny increments is still moving forward. Take the baby steps and inch your way to a better place. Take the little wins and build on them.

Third, they suggest that you get horizontal. Spread yourself out. Spread the load over as large an area as you can. Don’t try to let all the pressures push on one place, or that will tend to break whatever you are leaning on. Spread all your stresses over as many coping mechanisms and support systems as you can find. Have different friends each help you with different issues.
The rolling in the fourth step is simply one more way of saying keep your center low, and yet keep moving. Rolling is a way to move without putting pressure of your whole (or even half) body on one point. The world is fragile now, don’t add pressure anywhere because that could be a weak spot. As you use your whole body to roll, let your whole self make its way through the world. Try not to preference your mind or your emotions or your body, but let them work together.

When you think what’s supporting you is strong enough gradually start moving back toward normal. Crawl before you walk. Be aware of what’s around you, and keep your eye on the prize: safety, warmth, and a place where you can relax and shed what is sucking energy out of you and dragging you down.
OK, this is pushing an analogy pretty hard, but sometimes we can get something good out of playing with metaphors. If what was solid before no longer supports us, we have to get safe before we start trying to work out what to do after that. We aren’t in control of the weather, only what we do in response to where we are at the moment. Nothing we do will change that this virus has arrived and we can’t tell if it’s around, but we can do what we can to keep ourselves safe, and to go forward from there.

Together we’ll make it through. Stay safe, and do feel free to share any analogies or symbols you may come up with!

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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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We need Fire and Ice

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In the beginning, in most cultures, there was chaos, from which gradually life emerged. In the Norse tales, in grew from the mist that was created where the Fire from Muspellheim and the Ice from Nifflheim met, and his body was the what our world was made from.

Extremes are scary, and generally not easy to deal with, and often when they meet there is conflict and chaos which are also scary, but that’s what drives creation. Humans live in a central place where we can draw what we need from many extreme energies. We need to proceed not with fear, but with caution, as we negotiate the world between: Middle Earth.

Because we live in the middle, we can draw from the fire when we need more energy, and from the ice when we need to slow down, or chill out. We mustn’t fear these corrections, they are what allows us to live. It may seem exciting to be moving and changing things, but sometimes we need to just wait and be.

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