Back to whose normal?

Our Real Work 
It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled
is not employed.
The impeded stream
is the one that sings.

Wendell Berry

Most of us are trying to avoid the phrase, “return to normal”. Even newscasters, pundits, leaders of all types are making awkward statements about “a partial, a semblance, a return to some normalcy….”

Part of this recognizes the mountain ranges of reality that now exist between the valleys of our ignorance. 

Our collective awakening, our shared despair, guilt and confusion make a return to “normal” impossible. 

These powerful forces and circumstances have brought us to this moment, to this place, and we can never go back.

The real question is: Where are we?
Not our zipcode. But our state of mind. 
What space do we occupy? What forces are pulling and pushing us? What is our real work?

This pandemic has forced all of us into isolation tanks, into deep meditative states, into existential moments, into solitary confinement. I have spoken to people who have voluntarily or involuntarily been isolated from the world. They had to confront themselves. Who they were and who they weren’t. It is no picnic. But they come out the other side with perspective, with gratitude, and with the value of their remaining time and potential. They go in to get out. 

But most of us want the bad part of the film to end. It is easier to focus on the external world, what we want, what we don’t have—we crave distraction from the inner journey.

You cannot un-see or un-feel what we have experienced —about the world but mostly about ourselves. The past offers us little. No time machine can take us to a better place only you can. We are here and it is from this point that our real journey begins.

We are definitely going back to “normal” but whose? One thing is certain it will not be yours. Normal is what is and what has become. So stand still and let life catch up with us. Sit quietly and hear our breath fall into the rhythm of the planet and the universe. Listen to the beautiful sound of the impeded stream—and realize that this moment is the bridge to take us where we need to go. 

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