Vienna Pharaon, a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist based in New York City, writes:
"You can't keep doing the same things if you want a different outcome. Your predictability keeps you in your suffering. Get ready to disrupt your patterns and programming. A new way of living is waiting for you."
Clearly, a new way of living is waiting for all of us and, in these days, there is no such thing as predictability. There is so much uncertainty and everything seems to be changing.
If we have learned anything thus far from the coronavirus pandemic, it is that we can no longer keep doing the same things in the same ways because we definitely need a different outcome. We need first to slow down and ultimately stop the spread. We need to care for those who are infected and affected. We need to help people sustain their lives and care for their families.
Those are pretty lofty goals, and the price to be paid seems to be so little - regularly wash and sanitize our hands, carefully clean and disinfect surfaces, purposefully limit unnecessary public exposure and avoid being with groups of people. While none of these is a very big challenge, and each of us can be compliant, they require a new attitude and plan of action. Failure to do these things will keep us in our suffering and hurt others.
How should we better plan for the new way of living that is waiting for us?
If your life is like mine, there's never enough time to do the things we really want to do - like enjoying hobbies, spending time with those we love, working on an at home project, and deepening our relationship with God. And while many of us may be asking the question, "When will all this be over?" perhaps we can ask a different question, "How can I best use this 'pause' to life to prepare for a better future?"
Many people have created and shared a "daily schedule" for their days that allot specific times not only for work that needs to be done, but for the things they've always wanted to do. Some have noted they'd like to:
- Pray a bit more
- Read that book sitting on the table
- Clean or re-arrange the storage closet
- Play that board game with their kids
- Send that note to parents
- Email an old friend
None of us knows how long this will last, but everyone knows that it will ultimately end. Use the time well, carefully, creatively - because the different outcome we seek requires seizing the opportunities today. And one final note - when fear and anxiety seems to be in control, reach out, do not carry it alone. There are so many ready and willing to listen, guide and be with you on this journey!