The New Normal

For more than a year the new normal was wearing masks, social distancing, staying in our homes maybe working from there and of course Zoom, Zoom and more Zoom. Here in Minnesota many restrictions have been lifted. The rules changed quickly and were confusing. Going to a recent outdoor music event, it was like the pandemic had been a bad dream. Well really a nightmare and I was now awake. At some of the events people like me were reuniting with friends after more than a year of absence. I’m vaccinated and enjoying hugs again. I hope we don’t ever lose this appreciation for the sweetness of hugging a friend. Many people are talking about getting back to normal. Do you really want to get back to exactly the way ALL things were in your life? Perhaps as I do, you see this as an example of creating some better new habits for yourself. I’m taking some time to review my patterns.

With a bit of trepidation, I went on a hike right after the outdoor mask requirement was lifted. Due to moving mania, then the pandemic, I had not been on a hike with this group for two years. I knew no one and I was able to see these strangers faces. What a a weird feeling. They started out at warp speed down a loose gravel covered super steep hill. I walked down like a turtle, I have an old runner’s knee injury. I did not want it to reoccur. So I ended up with the slow group. Waiting around for the hike to start I mentioned I teach fitness. My mind immediately went to the unfounded thought what are people going to think of me? Someone who teaches fitness can’t keep up with the fast group there must be something wrong with her! I thought about running to catch up to the speedsters. I was brought with the saying What will the neighbors think? I’ve been working very hard on letting that fear of what others think of me go. The slow group were lovely interesting people, we joked, laughed and enjoyed the scenery. I would have missed their wonderful conversation if I had “run with the fast crowd”.

The virus has highlighted how we are all connected across the planet. What one person does can impact many. Perhaps you, like me, want to see less blame, more working together in a more tolerant and just post pandemic world. In terms of the bigger picture, the pandemic pointed out some large on going issues. Our lower paid front line workers were often the most vulnerable to the virus and yet often not supported by employers. The inequity of treatment and lack of justice for people based on color, age or gender was pointed out this last year and a half. I was in a Me and White Supremacy discussion group. My church had a Spirit Walk discussion group focusing on wrongs the church has done to indigenous people. My employer is just starting a How To Be An Anti Racist book discussion group. During our talks we are contemplating how to make lasting change. In every group we were working through specific ways in how we can help and were often left with more questions than answers. I know want to support the companies that value their employees and businesses run by minorities. Awareness is a good first step to start visioning on how we want the world to be.

The secret to change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.”

– Dan Millman