“We are indeed ‘saved’ by knowing and surrendering to this universal pattern of reality. Knowing the full pattern allows us to let go of our first order, trust the disorder, and, sometimes even hardest of all—to trust the new reorder. Three big leaps of faith for all of us, and each of a different character.” — The Wisdom Pattern: Order, Disorder, Reorder, Richard Rohr, O.F.M.
As the Covid-19 crisis begins to decline, we can start to see the silver lining on the very dark and heavy storm clouds that have lingered overhead for more than a year. This pandemic has exposed inconsistencies, inadequacies and contradictions of our healthcare, financial, educational, and energy systems. We also got to see the inherent frailty of those systems, the frailty of agencies that regulate those systems, the frailty of the officials who govern their citizens, and the frailty of the bodies of the citizens themselves as the death toll continued to climb in dramatic proportions daily. And, we ALL carried the weight globally for lives, livelihoods, and the planet.
As the “order” of our lives was suddenly spun into chaos, we scrambled to find the “new normal”. We all struggled to find meaning, purpose, and peace among all of the racial, political, economic, and social unrest, and then there was the pandemic, too.
I mentioned a silver lining, right? Well, the silver lining is that there was a global shift in consciousness towards connection and compassion. How many times in the beginning of this crisis did you hear and even say the phrase, “We’re all in this together”? It is a great mantra, really. And now think about how often you’ve heard or thought about that idea in the last few months.
As you and I move out of the chaos (or “disorder”) and into the new way (or “reorder”), we are given an opportunity to RESET.
What are we going to carry from the worst part of the pandemic and all of the unrest from the past year into the best part of who we are?
Wait, what? If you are skimming this, then STOP and reread that last sentence.
The worst part of what we experienced over the past year CAN BE transformed into the best parts of ourselves. How?
Before I get to that, let’s talk about why we must transform. Simply going back to the way things used to be is actually, in many ways, taking a huge step backwards. It would be a denial of our own evolution. Not only that, but trying to return to the status quo will actually lead to more personal pain and suffering because we have seen the mountaintop. We have seen the best in society and ourselves when our world was brought to its knees. And to go back is to deny the transformation that had naturally begun to take place, the inner calling toward meaning and purpose. It is a transformation that we are all making together. And any pain and suffering not transformed in you, will inevitably get transmitted from you, usually to the ones you love the most or to those who are most vulnerable.
Just think about how amazing your post-2020 life will be with a renewed sense of meaning and purpose. You’ll have a clear way to present that mission, and you’ll no longer be wasting your valuable resources on ideas and activities that wind up not having much significance. This will open up pathways to greater joy, more confidence, better sleep, more ease, and healthier relationships. You will be a beacon of understanding and endless optimism as you inspire everyone around you. Yes, this can be your reality.
One of the most powerful ways I have found to tap into this transformative process is through journaling. Ok, ok, I know that you’re probably thinking, “Really? I kept reading all of this to be told to journal?” But, hold on. Stay with me, I promise this is different.
The journaling I am talking about comes from The Progoff Intensive Journal Method, developed in his (Ira Progoff) best-known book, At a Journal Workshop (1975). Keeping a journal about ideas, feelings and experiences is almost always useful, “but an unstructured journal usually just goes around in circles,” Progoff said. “To become a valuable tool of psychological self-care, a journal needs a design that will help a human being answer the question ‘What is my life trying to become?’ “
Over the next few weeks, I invite you to set some time aside to follow along in your journal with the prompts that will be given. The focus of these prompts will be to answer the question “What is my life trying to become now that the pandemic threat is coming to a close?”
So, it’s time to begin. Start by taking a notebook or some paper and a pen. Write the date and title the page with “Period Log”.
Think back to the beginning of 2020. Take a few deep breaths to feel the way things were for you just prior to hearing the news of the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Start your first paragraph or sentence with, “It was a time in which,” and describe inner and outer events that come to mind. This helps to place yourself within “the rhythm of time.” Then what happened next? Write out what you felt, what you did, how you coped. If you need more structure or order, maybe break it down by month, or significant events, or by topic. Or just let yourself freely associate everything that comes up for you when reflecting on the last year or so.
Here is a tip about this process. Brevity is beautiful. We are practicing “psychological self-care” not trying to completely relive every painful moment. At the same time, we need to be aware that what comes up for us is what holds power for transformation. Therefore, write only as much as needed to convey the ideas, or else it has a tendency to just go around in circles. If you get bogged down in details, just return to the prompt, “It was a time when/in which….”
And, that’s all for now. In the weeks to come, we will be adding on to this process, and by the end, you will without doubt have a deeper understanding of “what your life is trying to become.”