I don’t usually feel unsettled. Yet I surprise myself feeling that sometimes these days. No particular reason that I can tell – except that I can’t go anywhere but up and down my block and to the grocery store. I was blaming it on the US election, which hadn’t yet happened. But today, I felt it again – after the election.
I’m not the only one. Friends report the same thing. Clients do too. It’s no use googling it – others are reporting it and don’t know why any more than I do. There have been no studies on this – we in the Western world have never experienced being so restricted before. Perhaps our parents, grandparents or great grandparents did, but not us.
I think it may have some link to not having our regular go-to’s. Fareed Zakaria calls this time the “Great Paralysis” (see his ted talk in my newsletter) – we aren’t only feeling it, our entire country, and every other country is feeling it. We all know, at least deep down, that life will not return to how it was pre-COVID, but have no real idea of what that will be.
It isn’t, in fact, any wonder we are feeling unsettled.
What can we do? I know that if I refocus on something I know I can do and enjoy in some way, that feeling of being unsettled dissipates. It doesn’t need to be something big, or “important”, or complicated. It might be contributing to a stray animal fund, or sorting through receipts, or finally finishing the sweater I began 2 years ago. It usually includes things on my to do list that have I’ve never got to – things I haven’t deleted because I know they’re important but really, REALLY, don’t want to do.
Now, I do these things … and feel pretty good once done.
This way of refocusing is, among the indigenous communities, the result of asking yourself “What grows corn?” What is fruitful? What will make a positive difference for me, even if it’s really small or minor, or something I don’t want to do but need to do?
It’s a useful question: for instance, I have been told that a particular application is a good thing to learn. I’ve decided that there is a very narrow sub-category of person who can handle attempting to work with that app for any length of time without giving up in frustration. I am not a member of that sub-category. And as a result, I ask myself every time I’m about to take time to “work” with it whether it’s a fruitful thing for me to do. So far, I’ve decided it is, for a certain amount of time – and no more – each week. Eventually, my hope is that I can figure it out and get it to work for me.
So far, I am still trying to get it to work for me, and I remain hopeful. But, if I get to a point where I have tried everything and still can’t get it to work, I’ll stop, because it no longer “grows corn” for me.
What grows corn for you? How can you re-focus on those things that make a positive difference for you, especially when that unsettled feeling intrudes?
How the Coronavirus epidemic is changing the world
Quote of the Week
““Corn is a necessary, silver is only a superfluity..”
– Adam Smith
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