The Space Between Us

 

For a moment now, and I cannot offer you an exact date nor pinpoint some random day on a calendar that it happened, we became a pretty self-absorbed society.  All I can offer as part of an explanation is that technology can be a double-edged sword.  As our computers got smaller, and more mobile (laptops, phones, tablets) information as well as entertainment (Netflix – anywhere, anytime) was accessible at our fingertips.  Technology began to replace human interaction – and we allowed it to happen.

Somewhere, somehow, slowly, we lost our social graces.  How many signs have you read that say, “You will not be taken care of if you are on your phone?”  Heck, I even read one in an Emergency Room.  Rudeness, lack of consideration for each other, became the norm.

Pre-virus we found ourselves with figurative space between us – distraction of social media, electronics, t.v. with 600 channels, sports, movies, took us away from family and friends.  Distance existed although we were in close proximity to each other.  Partners, parents, kids - we were all not fully present – whatever was happening on the phone, tablet, computer was way more important then what was happening right beside us.

We became more interested in taking a selfie then enjoying the moment of a sunset, family picnic, concert.  We became encumbered by technology and the sharing an Instagram worthy pic.

Seriously, in the last five years I have seen tons of pics of food (breakfast, lunch and dinner) being shared … were those meals enjoyed or just photographed? (and as the perfect shot was staged – how mindful were we of the person we were dining with?)

Mindfulness became a buzz word and a full-fledged movement because we, as a society, were always searching for the next ‘something’.  Being fully present, mindful, was viewed as a novel idea.

Now, quite literally, we find ourselves with space between us. “Social distancing” is in our vernacular. 

I share with you this - the ‘space’ between us and another is sacred - it is the ‘place’ where we meet another, and a relationship develops – I’d like you to take a moment and remember your first encounter with your partner/husband/wife, the first time you held your child, the encounter that developed into a beautiful friendship.  Remember the space that held blossoming love, potential, something fragile that developed into shared experiences, memories and ease of acceptance.  The space between us is, indeed, a sacred space … and yet, we haven’t been the best guardians of this sacred place (we’ve been a bit busy, yes?)

As we enter unchartered territory of ‘sheltering in place’ and ‘self-quarantining’ we are being forced to interact and become re-acquainted with our partners and children and are separated from our parents, extended family and friends.

We tend to think that we will be offered a thousand tomorrows to sit and have coffee with a parent, meet for lunch with a sibling, or have dinner with a friend.  Currently that isn’t possible, we should examine how we will proceed after this crisis passes.

Today, a friend reminded me that change, true, lasting change more often comes from uncomfortable, sometimes painful, experiences then not.  True enough.  We humans get complacent.  We console ourselves with, “it may not be perfect, but it is working ok” (whether it be a job, relationship, marriage, or our health) We tend to gravitate toward a lackadaisical state of being.  Easier to remain, then to change.

It, us, society, we haven’t been ‘ok’ for awhile now.  Oh, it started slowly enough … texting took the place of phone calls, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter keep us connected from a distance, being an “Influencer” became a bona fide thing, self-worth is measured in ‘followers’ for many.  One could have a complete virtual life without ever leaving the couch.

In the age of ‘Kardashian Culture’ priorities have been upended.

We have been busy, busy people … but have we been busy with things that bring fulfillment, joy and happiness to our lives?  Have we nurtured ourselves and our relationships – relationships to a Higher Power, to our loved ones, our family and friends - OR– having we been busy for the sake of being busy?

Beyond the virus and the fear it brings, we need to recognize that an opportunity has presented itself in the form of a giant spot light shining on the glaring issues we have allowed to develop within us as well as between us. 

The world as we know it has been placed on pause … the entire world is paused … and because of being paused the canals in Venice are clear and fish can be seen for the first time in memory, the air pollution over China, Indonesia, European cities has dissipated, the Earth is healing  - we, collectively, have an opportunity to heal as well.

How we choose to proceed after this crisis has passed will speak of how well we have learned lessons – lessons of respect for ourselves, each other as well as our planet. 

I implore you to turn to your higher power (however you may define that) and cultivate that relationship so that in times of crisis, as well as peace, that remains steadfast in your life.

Decide to use this ‘pause’ to assess your life and your relationships.  The opportunity is here to change, to appreciate the small things, to find fulfillment within the ‘real’ world and to once again acknowledge that the space between us is sacred and needs to be handled with care, nourished and honored.

No longer will I hold the false belief that I will have a thousand days to make up for being distracted, for not being present for those I hold dear.  

My prayer is that we, collectively, emerge from this a kinder, gentler people.

May Blessings of Health, Peace and Safety Be Upon You and Yours -

 

 

Natalie