Taking A Moment

I forced myself to take ten minutes to think about difficult things, this morning.

On a typical day, I set aside twenty minutes for quiet, undistracted thinking. I let my mind wander and do nothing at all, usually staring at a wall or closing my eyes, occasionally turning on some kind of white noise or natural soundscape, but generally just working with whatever’s already in the aural environment.

The point of this habit, generally, is to allow my mind to untangle itself, to give underlying worries, concerns, ideas, and possibilities a chance to come to the surface; to acknowledge and brush aside the superficial stuff to make room for whatever else might be knocking around in there, obscured by static.

Today, though, I wanted to take this extra moment because I realized I’d been somewhat consciously, somewhat unconsciously, avoiding thinking about loss.

We’ve lost so much.

All of us.

Whether or not we’ve been directly, overtly impacted by this pandemic, by its many cascading consequences, or the geopolitical and economic circumstances that have allowed it to play out the way it has—we’ve still been effected.

As a species, we’ve been brutalized and we’ve been putting on a brave face and slogging through the pain, but it’s there and has been there for a long time now.

This isn’t pleasant to acknowledge, and that’s partly because it’s not over: the shared experience of pain and worry and loss continues, and will likely continue for quite a while.

I’ve written before about milestones, and how we needn’t be beholden to them—needn’t treat them with any specific meaning or reverence—but that we can utilize them if we choose, for whatever purpose we choose, because they sometimes serve as environmental landmarks that make reassessment and recalibration a little easier; they can provide us with a toehold for that kind of work.

The perspective-shift derived from flipping to a new page on the calendar, the revisitation of a familiar holiday within a new context, or the changing of the governmental guard needn’t mean anything to us. But all such moments can be catalysts for whatever meaningful motions, whatever adjustments, whatever mourning or celebratory acknowledgements we need to make.

Today I needed to mourn.

It felt like an important, absent component of the larger experience I’ve been having.

Consciously acknowledging the full, complex reality of our lived and empathized experiences can be energetically draining and emotionally expensive.

But allowing ourselves to acknowledge the uncomfortable roundness of a moment, whenever and however we choose to do so, tends to be worth the psychological sticker price.

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