There is nothing in life as constant as change. We can absolutely count on things changing. Maybe not when or how we want them to, but life is full of new experiences, routines, beliefs, laws—you name it. We adapt all the time to new things.
One thing I know for sure is that you can’t step in the same stream twice, to paraphrase Heraclitus, a pre-Socratic philosopher. The river isn’t the same, and neither is the person stepping in the river.
Between Two Worlds
Right now, we are between what used to be, and what will be. Most of us are wanting to return to what used to be. But that is not likely to happen. Things are going to change. Some people who have been working from home may continue to work from home. Maybe grocery carts will continue to be cleaned—not a bad idea actually.
Being stuck in the middle during a transition is considered the most difficult time of some people’s lives, according to some psychologists. Think about it. You know something is going to change, but you don’t know what or how or when. So you are between past and future. Which, of course, we always are. But we usually have more predictability than we currently are experiencing.
Dr. James Hollis, a Jungian Psychologist says this about the idea of living between the worlds of the past and future, “We all assumed that learning, rationality, and good intentions would prove enough to bring us to the promised land. But they haven’t and won’t. Yet what we also do not recognize sufficiently is that this human animal is equipped for survival. In time, as we have seen of life’s other insolubles, we grow large enough to contain what threatened to destroy us.” (From his book, Living Between Worlds: Finding Personal Resilience in Changing Times. I highly recommend it if you are up for an academic read with practical advice. He wrote this book before CoVid, but it is very timely.)
Return? Recalibrate? Both?
So we will get through this, and we will survive, but things will be different. What are you going to make of the newness? Are you going to fight it and try to return to what was? Or are you going to recalibrate? I’m hoping for a little of both.
Here are some things I want to have return to the way it was:
- Seeing clients in person, when possible. I much prefer this and will return to this when each person is ready. Some of you already are.
- My son having college classes in person. Online school isn’t the same experience.
- Being empty nesters. I love my kids, but I also loved having them move out.
- Not wearing a mask when I go to the store.
- My husband returns to working onsite, rather than at home 100% of the time.
- Samples at the store and the Farmer’s Market so you can taste test before you buy.
- Getting to sing in the Community Choir that I joined a year ago. I miss this terribly!
Here are some things I really like that have changed and I hope they remain.
- My husband is generally always on time for dinner! (No surprise!)
- Family games almost every night.
- More conversations with the neighbors.
- My oldest son comes to visit more often.
- I get to see my son’s dog often. (She’s awesome. So is he, of course, but you know. Once he can get to concerts, he won’t be here as often.)
- Shopping carts are cleaner. Honestly, sometimes they were disgusting before now. I’m not a germaphobe, but I don’t like dirt, spilled coffee, sample cups from the store in the bottom of my cart.
It Isn’t Easy
None of this recalibration is easy. Grief arises unexpectedly. Anger rears its ugly head at a greater frequency and intensity than perhaps was normal. Maybe the anger is new.
Those of you old enough to remember the cartoon Bloom County, may remember The Anxiety Closet. The closet seems alert and active for most of us at the moment.
Let’s not forget depression. Sadness might not be about grief, but an underlying mood that comes up for many when stress increases. If this is true for you, contact Lotus Homeopathy for a constitutional consult. When things are at their worst is the best time to get help.
What’s important to realize is that many emotions need to be encountered to assimilate change. You can’t just get through this intellectually. We Americans like to think we are pretty smart, and we try to talk ourselves out of our emotions. Doesn’t work.
A well known psychiatrist I follow on Twitter, Dr. Allen Frances presented this quote one day: “The Patient, in order to be helped, must undergo a corrective emotional experience to repair the influence of previous experiences he could not handle in the past. Intellectual insight alone isn’t sufficient.” Alexander & French, 1946 (probably a text book)
When I read this, I thought, “This is homeopathy!” When you treat things homeopathically, you are giving people a little of something similar to what they already have. It is an energetic serving of a “corrective emotional experience.” Some of you who have taken homeopathic remedies may recall having an aggravation. This slight worsening of symptoms may have been physical, mental or emotional. This aggravation is a “corrective emotional experience.”
If you think of a pendulum, and it is stuck to one side, that is dis-ease. If you want to move it to the center, which one could think of as a place of ease, it must first go to the other side before it can balance out in the middle. That swing to the other side is the corrective emotional experience…the homeopathic remedy.
Be sure to read Part 2 of this post for remedy suggestions!