We experience changes in different ways. Over the summer, our neighbors helped us clear a lot of brush that had built up around our yard. It’s awesome to have more clarity of view down to the gorge and stream at the bottom of our backyard. But in the process, we ended up with a huge brush pile.
This is great: now, we get to invite our neighbors back for a bonfire. And we will. Sometime before the weather gets too cold to be outdoors, we’ll have a BYO party. In our large backyard, it will be easy to keep physical distance while maintaining social connections.
Human beings have to be always aware that we can shift what might be easy to label “bad” into something “good”. The real trick would be to stop this way of separating all experience into two buckets. “Dichotomous thinking” is what one of my teachers called this. The danger is that the “bad” becomes a way of separating ourselves from something. Meanwhile, we can align ourselves with whatever we’ve labeled “good”.
This polarization is rampant in our culture and our world these days. But it does nothing for the good. When we think this way we make enemies. And that leads to distress for everyone in the relationship. Yes, we have a relationship — however poor it may be — with those we’ve turned into “the other”.
Changes For Good
Alternatively, when we start from a sense of commonality and the common good, we create a sense of mutuality and solidarity. One thing about the pandemic is the way it demonstrates to us — everyone around the entire world — how much the same we are. Whether we are poor or the president, this virus can take hold.
Of course, we can use the common wisdom that comes from scientists and sociologists who provide significant data about how to stay safe in these times. We do well when we learn what they have to say and implement the best possible practices to be healthy.
I hope that this piano improvisation brings you a sense of calm. It came from that place in me.
For the days ahead, I wish you peace. I cannot remember a time more widely stressful than the one we’re living in. So many people in my life are struggling with one thing or another. I am, too.
May your loved ones and you be safe. Using the best practices we can learn and muster, may we survive until those days when we can once again hug each other without reservation.