This time last week, we were living in quite a different reality. For most of us that is.

Conversations were about normal things – work, the weather, travel plans, politics. Our worries were intensely personal – how is the boy doing in school? Should we settle on vacation plans now or later? Why didn’t you fold the laundry or wash the dishes?

Just one week later, I’m trying to decide whether it’s safe to leave the house to walk the dog. What are the real risks to my aging family and neighbors? What will happen if one or all of us get sick?

It’s intense.

Every time there was an official announcement, reality shifted. There was shock, a sense of disbelief and questioning what feels crazy and over-reactive. Then the slow realization that this is real and the adjustment began to sink in. Within hours, or perhaps by the next day, It became the new norm, only to be jolted again, a day or two later. Such has been the last week.

And now, writing this from our ‘lock down’, rain pouring outside and the kids trying to adjust to what all this means, I’m conscious of two opposing and fiercely polarized thoughts.

On the one hand, it’s the discomfort of the unknown. How long will it last, who will get sick, who will not survive and what will the impact be on the economy or on our well-being.  And of course, what will the new norm look like.

On the other hand, I can’t help noticing all the amazing things that are also happening. The bravery and heroism of our helpers, the medical staff, people running delivery services and even the simple decency of people reaching out to neighbors and friends. The jokes being sent around social media to cheer people up. The virtual tours of museums and the resources for kids and their parents stuck at home.

We need to decide how we want to move through this challenging time. Do we get lost in the legitimate fear and uncertainly that we are all feeling? Or can we rise up to notice the beauty and wonder that surrounds us? And perhaps it’s not one or the other, but the awareness of the duality of this reality.  And the decision to move through the difficulty and the pain, into the light.

It occurs to me that it is now that we need storytelling more than ever. To reach out and share our experience, to connect and feel community. We have always craved it, but the noise and busyness of our lives distracts us from our basic human need. Now it’s time to reach out. To share our stories and listens to those of our friends, family and even strangers.

What’s helping you keep it all together? How are you finding the positive? What can I do to help?

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