Updated: Apr 22, 2020
The current health crisis we are facing is only tragic, presenting loss and hardship to each of us in different ways. It may also offer opportunities we never asked for, specifically in re-evaluating our priorities and rediscovering simple joys in life. Examples of these moments can be found throughout social media in posts about friends and family activities, projects around the house and yard, or simply taking some time to rest. Children who previously followed busy activity schedules find themselves hanging out with friends online or reading more. Those of us with trips and professional projects find ourselves at home, hopefully connecting with those close to us. In times of crisis, the extraneous falls away and our focus sharpens on what we need most. Part of this functions as a subconscious survival skill (we don’t have a choice) like the tunnel vision experienced in high stress situations.
Much speculation is already being published regarding potential long-term impacts of our current crisis. These projections are also subject to change by countless variables, and too much focus on the future pulls us from our connection to the moment. This is how anxiety works when we add the context of fear. Grounding ourselves in the moment and simply appreciating time spent doing things we enjoy or connecting with people we care about offers rediscovery of simple joys that carry us from one moment to the next. For Tolkien fans, this moment was illustrated when Bilbo emerged from the tree canopy to a vision of sunlight and butterflies. My hope is that when progress and achievement are obstructed, we might adapt to focus on wholeness in ways we had not previously considered. Remember to step outside and rediscover sunshine or “come up for air” however it makes sense for you and rediscover joys you may have forgotten. Matthew Gallagher, LCPC