Give Yourself Space
The other night, I met with my book club. As we sat around the fire pit, watching the sunset, we reflected on our experiences during the last year and talked about how our lives have changed. Each one of us had experienced some sort of loss, but also some sort of personal transformation. This juxtaposition of emotions is not unique to us, of course. It’s something that everyone is talking about right now.
As we move officially into “year 2”, most of us have felt the crush of the pandemic in some way-- some of us haven’t hugged family members in well over a year, some of us have lost businesses or jobs to it, while others of us simply haven’t been able to enjoy the little things in life, like meeting a friend for coffee. Whatever the level of grief and sacrifice, it’s there.
It’s easy to focus only on the negative of all of this (there are days when I can’t see anything but). These days, it takes a lot of effort to stay in- or briefly glimpse- a positive frame of mind. If we can, however, there are many rewards for us.
I mentioned my friends’ personal transformations: We learned how adaptable we can be, we rediscovered the necessity of friendship and connection, we dug deep into ourselves and came up with a strength we didn’t even know we were missing. It’s like we stared into the abyss so long and hard that when we finally turned around, the light shining in our eyes was brighter than we ever could have imagined. For me, this light took the form of something I’ve talked about here before: space. It’s something I didn’t know I was missing until it appeared.
Every time I think about this idea of space, a small part of my brain opens up and I can feel the fresh air flowing in.
Space usually implies the need to be filled. But for me, it’s less about what will go into that space, and more just that the space exists-- the space to really examine myself and see what’s in there. This is a chance to evaluate what I want to preserve and what I want to slough off and leave behind.
As I sat around that fire with my friends, we all wondered aloud what moving forward into this next chapter of our lives will look like. There will definitely be ups and downs, loss and grief, happiness and healing. None of us know what will happen or how things will turn out. But what is certain is that we all get to choose how we view this life and what we carry with us from this experience. And also we get to choose which side of it to stare harder into: the abyss or the light. And as long as I can, I will try to choose the light.