When I woke up after my open heart surgery I experienced a myriad of emotions. But above all the sadness and confusion, I was flat out tired. Exhausted, which one can see as odd after being in a deep, medicated sleep for over half a day. But there I was, alone in a hospital room, more spent than ever.
I needed a rest, a break from the way I was treating the vessel I had been given, and take some time to evaluate what I really wanted from this existence. Before I felt comfortable making any changes or big decisions I wanted to rest, and retreat from the merry go round of questionable choices.
I believe that right now our planet is giving every one of us what my heart gave me back in January of 2017. A chance to reset. To reorder and reestablish a baseline of what is important and how we can approach the next steps. And then the next one, the one after that, and so on and so forth.
For the first time in a century we humans have been forced to do something we have never been good at -- stop. We are always looking to advance and the mere thought of retreat is seen as giving up.
Some of us are handling this break in the action better than others. Some of us have looked inward and started focusing on not only how they want to help during this crisis, but what they want their world, and their neighborhoods to look like when this is all over.
My amazing wife Sunie is still working full-time, doubling up on courses for her MBA, taking care of a needy lunatic, not to mention the one-year old, and has started teaching yoga online to her co-workers and members of our community. I encourage you to take some time for yourself and head to facebook.com/SunieYoga for some self care.
Jimmy Spencer, a dear friend of mine, decided that in this spare time from being a husband, a dad to a pair of future San Francisco Giants draftees, and VP at Uninterrupted to build an online community dedicated to sharing simple, kind concepts with the masses. If you visit dogoodsimply.com you can get involved.
And my friend in nourishment Marissa Lippert has continued to astonish, this time putting together a weekly pickup of healthy produce and other specialty items in her Brooklyn neighborhood, they are sustaining neighbors while giving local farmers an outlet for their valuable resources. You can see more at ixvcoffee.com/ixv-x-nourish.
Those three examples are just the ones that came off the top of my bald head, I am sure there are countless more and my hope is that they continue to receive support throughout this pandemic and beyond. In this time of monumental upheaval there are people shedding preconceived notions and pushing forward with positive and practical ways to support the human race despite all the factors pushing back against them.
Hope and vision are great things, but danger exists when we allow hope and vision to get stuck running on a loop at the end of the bar or swirling around the local coffee shop. Hope and vision can change the world, but they need hands, blood, sweat, and most certainly tears.
During this forced sabbatical things are changing. People are working differently, eating differently, learning differently, and many people, for the first time in decades, are getting a break from the hamster wheel version of the American dream.
I hear people across all channels saying that they can’t wait to get back to normal. For me going back is not an option. Look around, the planet is healing, after the initial freak outs people are sharing with others and helping neighbors get access to essentials.
If you happen to be one of the many that tell me things “are what they are,” or worse, “what’s the point of doing anything because this is all one big plan anyway,” I am going to need you to continue to shelter in place when this is over, you are slowing the rest of us down.
Real conversations regarding healthcare, energy, relationships, and healthy living are being undertaken by folks that have had their focus elsewhere for far too long. We have learned that we can live without certain things that in the past we deemed essential, and that may be the biggest takeaway of this entire event.
The belief that we can do with less and to be thankful for what we have seems to be permeating our culture. The desire for the cheapest of everything at the expense of the long term health of the country and planet could finally be given the light of a smogless day.
In a similar way that my heart put me on the shelf and forced me to change the lens and choose the next steps with force and fascination, we as a group need to dig in and make the small changes locally that will reverberate for generations.
The Earth is breathing again, so should you.
Now let’s go to work.