As I'm writing, we are experiencing a mid-March snowstorm, which means the lion is still hanging on. It's been a heckuva start to March - war in Ukraine, gas price spikes, and perhaps a Great Kerfuffle shift from pandemic to endemic. Oh, and there's more, like the future of work debate.
In a LinkedIn poll from last week, I asked what holds people back from being kind? It wasn't surprising that the top two answers were stress and feeling overwhelmed. We are feeling the feels, folks.
As is March. But unlike its equinox partner, it seems to struggle with its identity. October, however, knows it's about vibrant colors, sweater weather, and gently easing into winter. Who doesn't love October? It is so cozy.
But I also love March. I love it for its messiness, uncertainty, and possibilities. It's complicated, like us humans, and throws everything at us.
Stress has many chefs, but a common cause is our inability to hold space for the pleasant and unwanted at the same time. Instead, we tend to lock into one perspective - the one we think is right or desirable. We strive for enjoyment and often numb ourselves to get through the unpleasant or over-index on what we believe to be wrong, which prevents us from seeing what's right.
As Rumi writes,
This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.
Welcome and entertain them all...
March, like life, is like a guest house - especially this one and March 2020.
We are now halfway between lion and lamb, and it's easy to see what's wrong in the world, but through mindfulness and a Pause Breathe Reflect moment, we can create space for what's right, as well.
As Margaret Renkl wrote this week,
The world is burning, and there is no time to put down the water buckets. For just an hour, put down the water buckets anyway. Take your cue from the bluebirds who have no faith in the future but who build the future nevertheless, leaf by leaf and straw by straw, shaping them and turning them into a sheltering roundness perfectly fitted to the contours of the future they are making. Turn your face up to the sky. Listen. The world is shivering into possibilities. The world is reminding us that this is what the world does best. New life. Rebirth. The greenness that rises out of the ashes.
I still believe, as I did back in April '20, that this very extended moment is happening for us, not to us. It's our rebirthing process - it's joyous and crazy. Of course, we could all wish to go back to how it used to be, but there's no growth in yesterday's normal. Change happens when we meet all our visitors at the door and discover how to ease our stress and overwhelm. Then, maybe, just maybe, we can find a way to create a new normal where we are kinder to each other.