How simple it is for the experience of living to be overwhelming. There are twenty four hours in a day, bottomless to-do lists, repeated follow-ups on just about anything, needing to be there for others and confronting our plunging energy levels.
Sure, there are better days and days that we’d rather rip out of existence, but there are those periods of time in our life where life as a whole just feels as though it’s too much.
Society has its particular codes of ethics, even for individuals who are overwhelmed. Society’s codes don’t care much about the individual – it’s too busy protecting its own survival. It’s in denial of anything that would undermine its existence, and overwhelmed individuals pose a real threat for society’s continuity. So it just pretends that we are a negligible minority.
We live at a time where the rate of change seems to be increasing by the day. We used to live an entire lifetime in the same environment, more or less, and things were recognizable. Later, the rate of change increased, but the rate was such that it allowed us to gradually come to terms with the new.
Today, the rate of change is so fast, that as fast as something new is being introduced, so it also vanishes. We don’t even know whether or not the new trend (language, technology, education, politics, practices etc’), is here to stay for long enough, to even consider it as existing. Our society is in turmoil and we are left confused. Those of us who are not confused today, may find themselves in a state of shock tomorrow.
Nothing is wrong with us – individually or collectively. If any feelings of insufficiency or incompetency arise, it is only when we compare our life today – in terms of actions, thoughts, emotions and reactions – to what it appeared like in the past. Recorded history has no parallel anywhere in its unfolding, of such a light-speed rate of change, and there’s no one from whom we can seek advice. We are the cutting edge. Alone as a society and individually.
There is nothing wrong with us. There is nothing wrong with being confused. There is nothing wrong with being afraid or panic. But it doesn’t end here. With increasing confusion and stress on so many fronts, society’s codes and no-nos are being challenged as well. Crime, addictions, destruction of self and destruction of the other, are all part of this changing landscape. Society’s codes are being challenged. Society, as we know it, is crumbling.
Sooner or later we’ll be able to recognize the Phoenix as it will rise from the ashes, but at the moment, what we mostly see are the flames and the destruction.
Don’t judge yourself. Don’t blame yourself. Don’t expect to be the same person that you were yesterday. Don’t expect to know in advance how to act and whether or not it is right or wrong. We don’t know. But we’re going through all of this as one, perhaps more united as a society as we ever were before. That’s because the pain and fear is no longer limited to the underdog who never makes it to the news; it is now becoming a reality for those who thought that they were protected.
We live this movie as it is being written. We cannot flip a few pages forward to see what’s happening next. Once we can come to terms with such a reality, once we stop denying the fact that we really don’t know what to do next, that’s when we can take the first step: re-centering. We must take a pause. Look at the children when they play, with their arms spread sideways as they spin faster and faster and faster. At some point they can no longer continue. They lose their balance and they fall to the ground. If they stand up too early, everything will be spinning in front of their eyes. They must stay on the ground, overwhelmed for a while, before their minds can reorient and their balance resume. Only then they can get up and start a new game.
One day at a time. One crisis at a time. One breath at a time.
We can do it.