How the Covid19 experience can reactivate human potential
One of the most striking and common consequences of isolation, working from home and the constant atmosphere of fear of Covid19 is that people are beginning to consciously understand the value of deep human connection.
We used to go to work as if it was a grind, and we would complain and say ‘thank god it’s Friday’ so the ‘torture’ was over and we could have ‘fun’. Now, we are beginning to realize how wonderful work was in so many ways.
Not only did it give us something worthwhile to do, but it gave us a rhythm, a reason to wake up and get going, and most importantly, the most significant gift of work was and is working with others – WITH OTHER HUMANS. It allowed us to form connections – deep or otherwise and those heart to heart connections matter – life and death matter.
There is no question that humans are social animals and literally need other human interaction. Premmie babies thrive when they are touched; very ill people can be healed with love, connection and true caring; love makes us all feel alive; laughing with others lifts our spirit; feeling the energy of another person is integral for deep communication; seeing them matters.
As a result of the isolation, counselling services are rapidly expanding; domestic violence is up; loneliness is a pandemic; people feel lost; many are feeling like it’s Groundhog Day all over again and again and again. There are jokes being sent around the internet about how people have given up calling it Monday, Tuesday – now it’s just ‘day’.
People’s mental health is declining on many different fronts.
I am used to working from home – I have for 35 years. But in between I have been flying around the world that whole time. This is the longest straight period of time I have had at home literally in 35 years. And fortunately, I have a house mate without whom I would have been in a very different mental place!
She went away this Easter so I have had 5 days with no one else physically present. Luckily, I have a friend locally who dropped in (shhhh!) and I have a very small number of friends who have called – but I reached out to all but two! They are all so used to me being away that I am not part of their ‘remember to call’ circle! I take responsibility for that because I am usually too ‘busy’ to make the effort when I can actually get out and see people.
So with all this potential harm to our mental health from the impositions of the pandemic of fear, how can this possibly activate our human potential?
At the same time we are seeing all sorts of crises in mental health, there are as many, if not more examples of true humanity emerging. People helping others; consciously choosing to be of service to others; health workers showing dedication beyond anything seen before; neighbors looking after each other; families re- establishing relationships; parents reconnecting with children; people choosing to focus on what is good and what is right in the world – changing their perceptions!
THE most important thing is life is how we feel about ourselves – and that is determined by the stories we tell ourselves, as well as the people with whom we connect. And be honest – for most of us the vast majority of people we meet and interact with are from our workplace in one way or another.
“Difficult’ people at work are amazing opportunities to work on ourselves. Great leaders inspire us and help us believe in ourselves. Organizations give us a chance to align our values with something we believe in, they give us a purpose. They are places that give us the opportunity to grow and develop ourselves. To earn an income and live the life we want…….
Ahhhh….but that life we THINK we want to live – is it really? Does the money matter so much – is it necessary to have all the material things, many of which serve to disconnect us even more? Of course we need enough money to eat and pay expenses – my income dried up overnight as well so I understand for those of you who have bills to pay. What really matters is our hearts – and how we feel and how much love we have in our lives – be it of ourselves, our families, friends or another human we have helped.
I am using this time to check out my old patterns of thinking and of doing things and make the changes I believe will help me be even more employable than before!
I truly believe this whole COVID19 episode can be a phenomenal opportunity to literally re-evaluate all aspects of your life. To work ON not just IN your life. And to make changes that will last and bring you more joy.
I have had the great fortune to have a mentor and another wonderful friend who have helped me get to a point where I can honestly say for the first time in my life, I experience real joy.
My Mentor David Martin (www.davidmartin.world Visit his youtube channel – it’s awesome) said:
“You cannot be joyful if you are escaping. You can distract yourself but not be joyful.”
Most of us are escaping. Escaping ourselves and/or a life we don’t like. We are not looking honestly at ourselves and our circumstances. We make and find excuses for not looking at the real causes of most of our distress – ourselves! I know I wasn’t until I met him. The scary part was that BD – before David – I truly believed I was facing the issues I needed to face!
He is also the one who taught me about re-activating human potential.
My other very wise friend and brilliant CEO, Craig Bingham whom I have known and deeply respected for many years, said to me that for him the most important thing being highlighted by all the current ‘stuff’ is the critical value of deep, meaningful relationships and connection. Much of this blog is based on discussions I had with both these extraordinary men to whom I am deeply grateful.
And remember – for some of us the deep connections we feel can be with animals. Sometimes our pets or other animals can touch our hearts in ways that we are not able to let humans yet. Watch this youtube clip about an amazing stallion that went into nursing homes and connected at a profound level to change the lives of everyone that experienced or witnessed it. This is the sort of deep connection that conscious humans can do with each other as well.
And my experiences of activating my own human potential (with their help!) is that it is beyond rewarding and fills my heart with a joy I didn’t know was possible. And I teach about how to be joyful! Obviously, I teach it very differently and way more effectively now LOL!
Things will probably never be the same again – but that can be a really good thing! It means you can create more of what you want.
So – here is a list of some ways in which this whole isolation experience can activate your human potential and bring you more joy than you imagined.
You have the time now. Make wise use of it!
- Notice how you feel. Most of us are numb – we shut down our feelings a long time ago. When you don’t feel good, ask yourself ‘what story am I telling myself right now?’ – it will be the source of your discomfort. Check in every 30 minutes to see what you are feeling and observe your stories.
- Explore the origins of your stories. Most stories we tell ourselves are lies. You ARE worth loving and you ARE good enough! Life is an opportunity to continually re-activate and develop our humanity. You are safe – you may need caution, the be responsible but you are mostly safe. You are never separate. You are always connected to others and nature energetically. Find out when the disrupted stories started and challenge them. Replace them with more truthful stories of who you really are. Repeat those new stories. They will lead to behaviors that will reinforce them.
- Examine your human relationships. How deep are they and with whom. Are these people the best for you – do they have the same values as you? Do they lift you up and do you reciprocate? Do they help you laugh and bring out the best in you? How deep are your connections with them? What effort do you consciously put in to connect and stay connected and show them you care.
- Ask the ones you love ‘what do I do that makes you feel I love you?’. You might assume you know – but maybe you don’t! Or maybe things changed. Ask and deeply listen – and then do what they say! Whether you feel comfortable doing it or not! (as long as it is not harming you!)
- Understand your values. Take time now to explore what really matters to you. What you truly value in life (hint: part of it will be deep meaningful human relationships!). I love learning and feeling that I am growing; I value honesty and integrity; I value love and being of service. These are just a few of my values and it took me a long time to work them out – and I am still working on it – so give yourself time and continually re-evaluate. Are living in accordance with your values?
- Be really authentic – but first you have to know who you really are! So allocate some of the time you have now to be an inner travel agent as Michael Crichton, the author, wrote. I didn’t know I was living my entire life as a persona – I had lost me along the way from early childhood. David’s courses helped me find that out – truly I had not idea. All I knew was that I felt a fake and I wasn’t happy – and no matter what I did until his course, I could not find the cause – or myself. Oh and if you don’t like what you find – you can choose to do the work to change. Or not. I chose to do it and am so deeply grateful I did.
- What do you focus on? Everything that is wrong or what is going right? David taught me about monotonous goodness. The ‘goodness’ that happens every second of every day inside your body. We don’t thank or think about our kidneys filtering constantly; our livers detoxing; our lungs breathing – until they stop working. Focus on appreciating the goodness that occurs inside you and outside every day. Actively look for the goodness that has emerged from isolation. People’s creativity and humor has skyrocketed; people are sharing more and reaching out to each other more than they have in years; people are rethinking their relationships and making changes for the better; some humans are remembering their humanity. It’s the great gift of isolation. Be one of them. Choose to focus on the good.
- Gratitude is the master reframer. Consciously choose gratitude every second of every day. It changes your chemistry. It lifts your spirit. It lifts others up. There are a million things for which to be grateful – your breathing is one of them. Be a gratitude finder – be monotonous with your expression of gratitude for people and things. I am so deeply grateful for everything that happens to me – no matter how tough – because I choose to make it valuable. And I had some shitty things happen along the way – but I played a part in all of it. Even though it may not seem like it from the outside. Create a new ritual – every night before you go to sleep – write 3 things for which you are grateful in a journal (a joy-urnal as I like to call it!) you keep beside your bed. It will change your life.
- G.R.I.E.F. David Martin taught me this mnemonic for grief – gratitude reminder in emotional form. There is a lot of grief being experienced right now and maybe not recognized (Thank you Craig for the article you shared) and for many different reasons. Loss of loved ones (from any cause), loss of a livelihood, a business, a job, a reason to get up in the morning, financial security and much more. Refer back to point 1 – recognize your feelings and you now have strategies that will help you feel more positive or calm. And if you feel any sort of grief or sadness or loss remember…
Find something for which to be grateful about what you perceive as lost.
So… how can you activate your own and others human potential at this time?
Work ON yourself and your life. Focus on the goodness in your life. Be grateful for everything. Love yourself (or work towards it). Connect deeply and meaningfully with other living beings. Know how you feel. Know your stories and change those that are not true. Serve others – be of value and know your values. Be you….know you…and perhaps that is the key – the real source of JOY.
Reactivate the astonishing being of light that only you are – and shine that light on everyone. Each of us has a unique and special energy we bring to the world – we can consciously choose to activate it and now is the perfect time to step into your beautiful humanity and bring your JOY to the world.