Wednesday Wisdom: Adaptation

We are in the midst of adaptation. Depending on our location and level of risk to coronavirus, change has disrupted our lives in various degrees and durations of intensity. Urban areas are impacted much more heavily, terrifyingly so, by the virus’ ability to accelerate rapidly. But Montanans have been under official Montana shelter-in-place mandates beginning March 20th, and the number of known cases in our county indicates a much slower growth trajectory than in other areas of the state. Missoulians are luckier than most.

But I want to talk about adaptation. My two daughters, ages seventeen and nineteen, are home from school and their schoolwork is mostly done from their bedrooms behind closed doors. I trust that they are responsible humans and can navigate classwork without my assistance. They wake up at noon. It is my belief that their natural rhythms are stretching out the kinks after years of leaving the house for school at 7:30 a.m. They take solitary hikes or bike rides in the afternoon. They stay up ungodly hours, but I don’t mind. For the first time in their young lives, they have the opportunity to be accountable for their work while managing their own time.

Similar adaptations are happening within our communities and livelihoods. If you’re like me, we are connecting with friends and family, and possibly strangers, through Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook Live, and other video platforms. We are cooking at home, doing projects, finding self-gratifying activities. We are exposing our vulnerabilities to fear and grief and love through different creative means, finding a release through imperfection and not getting hooked into the belief that we’re not good enough for, well, whatever it is we usually deem ourselves not good enough for. Without realizing it, we are relaxing into our fullness of Self.

There is meaning behind this. Beyond the tragedies and fear of coronavirus, I’m seeing the breakdown of patriarchal structure. Words typically aligned with the toxic masculine, words like power, stoic, loveless, have fallen underfoot of our collective vulnerability. Fear is always present with vulnerability, but doesn’t the presence of fear also indicate an opposition to the toxic manifestations and structures which we have unwillingly prolonged through fatalistic obedience?

Nature clearly wants to shake up the system. It is a pertinent time for questions. The personal: How does my body respond throughout the day? Who determines if I’m good enough? In which areas can I embrace imperfection/loosening of judgments? And societal: Why must school/work exist on a strict clock? What might the world look like if toxic priorities of power/money were replaced by compassion/equality? How can environmental damage be minimized? Where can humanity benefit from more balance?

We are experiencing a tectonic shift of our familiar world. As with every traumatic experience, there is fear and grief and inevitable uncertainty. Change is terrifying. Change brings loss. But the breaking of structure and familiarity comes with an enormous opportunity for amelioration of everything that needs repair. It is my hope that we will have grown collectively in spirit as a compassionate whole, one that we won’t oppose through reflexive obedience to the norm, but with a brave and daring objective to heal the overlooked and neglected wounds.

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Creative Nonfiction Writer, Memoirist, Obsessed with Growth, Beauty, Courage

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