Are you resisting the circumstances thrust upon us by the coronavirus pandemic? Are you struggling to accept the new reality of our situation? Have you thought about why?
I realized this week I’ve been resistant to our situation. I feel like the freedom to choose my way of life was stripped away from me. As many of you know, for the last three years, I’ve been living a peripatetic lifestyle. I apologize for a word that many people won’t recognize, but it accurately describes my way of being. Or did until last month when they banned travel on a global basis.
I’ve been working lately on acceptance. Buddhists believe that’s a key to happiness. Accepting who we are, other people, our situations, and the world as it is, all leads to peace. Resistance is the stuff of conflict.
The depth psychologist Carl Jung wrote, “what you resist, not only persists but will grow in size.”
The coronavirus has placed new constraints on the way we live. Travel restrictions, social distancing, certain businesses closed, and capacity limits on others. These restrictions feel unnatural because they are new.
We’ve always had constraints. Most of us accept and innovate around them. Some are natural. Gravity is a constraint, so we invented airplanes to fly and rockets to explore. Others are humanmade. The cost of real estate in cities is skyrocketing, so people are creating tiny homes that provide the function they need in smaller, more affordable living space. Some are even moving into their vehicles, spawning the #vanlife movement. The use of Zoom for family gatherings during the pandemic is another example of innovation around constraints.
Constraints drive innovation. If you’re resisting the limitation, you are unlikely to innovate around it. Acceptance of that constraint is the first step to innovating. You don’t have to like it. You don’t have to agree with it. Reflect on why you’re resistant, and you might be able to come to peace with it. Then you can begin to innovate around it.
If you need some inspiration, check out Phil Hansen’s Ted Talk. Phil is an artist who developed a hand tremor that kept him from creating the dot point art he loved. A neurologist, who diagnosed him with permanent nerve damage, asked him why he didn’t just embrace his limitation and transcend it. The results are breathtaking.
The sooner we embrace our new constraints, the sooner we can define the new normal. There’s no reason to let others define it for us. We have the power to create our realities. If there was ever a time to use this power, it is now.