5 Positive New Normals That Will Surprise You
The new normal is what we make it
I open my bedroom door and walk on my terrace with a sea view. I rub the last traces of fear and too many zoom calls from I eyes and look around. The world feels born anew.
The mental fog of 8 weeks staying at home is slowly clearing here in Spain as I notice the low hanging mist above the sea slowly dissolving in the mild morning sunlight.
Today, terraces and restaurants open, I can do sports and see friends. While businesses will try to go back to normal, everybody knows that everything has changed.
My wish for people is the ability to look into the world with new hope, fresh energy, and a mindset that is ready to adapt. To take things up from here. This vulnerable point we have reached as a society, as humanity.
First things first.
I am not prepared to propel myself in a social distancing world yet or have a very ordinary beer on a terrace watching a social structure trying to reinvent itself. Instead, I decided to drive to a beach and reconnect with the water again, the precious sea.
On the way there, a car approaches me. The driver is wearing a mouth cap, windows closed. This is such a strong image of the craziness of it all, and the fear that many people still have.
I don’t wanna go there anymore. To the frozen state of fear that makes me a victim instead of the creator of my life, in all respect. I am ready to take on any challenge required to come out of this crisis stronger, more resilient, more creative, and more compassionate and more empowered.
I realize that choice is up to me. Every.Second.Of.The.Day.
Corona or not.
9/11 or not.
Alien attacks or not.
From this first day ‘out’, smelling the fresh air around me, drying the salt water and sand from my quarantined skin, I close the front door behind me, and then suddenly it hits me.
Amazingly good things can be manifested in the new normal.
Every downside has its upside. When I feel into the 5 good outcomes that pop up in my mind, I realize stronger than ever that the new normal is, still, created by all us together.
1. We will value human connection even more
I have spent 1 day of my life in a police cell, because of a stupid mistake. This experience changed the way I look at freedom for the rest of my life.
The same with this lockdown. I truly hope it will never return, how mean and dangerous a new virus might appear. This self-isolation changed the way I look at the human connection for the rest of my life.
I value it almost as crucial as breathing. We just can’t do without. Zoom calls or 40-hour workweeks from home will never replace real-life inspiration, re-calibration, release, and joy from meeting real humans, real bodies, real smells, and bad jokes in the real.
Human connection is the glue of our society.
In fact, it is one of the main things that makes us human in the first place. Isolation leads to deprivation, loss of hope, depression, neurosis, and psychosis. Connection leads to inspiration, innovation, belonging, safety, conflict and resolution, learning, playing, and relaxing while feeling held by our family, friends, relationships, and peers.
I dearly hope we’ll never forget how important and crucial real human connection really is. Let’s celebrate it as much as we can and with many as possible.
2. We have an imprint of restored, pure and fresh nature
I park my car and walk down a rocky path to a secluded beach. Birds are singing, still no planes in the sky nor boats in the water. This is still a coming-slowly-back-to-normal phase. No full beaches with children playing, frisbee and volleyball, and the friendly noise of water splashing around and cheers and cries from children diving into the sea.
None of that yet. In fact, swimming is still not allowed when its leisure and not done as a sports activity. Hiking by myself is possible so I am having the time of my life
The small laguna appears now and then between green pine trees and bushes. I spot one fisher boat on the flat, greenish-blue still water. I am almost there.
Now I can hear the soft caress of pebbles being rocked by the waves touching the stony beach. Nobody is here. The boat looks deserted. Welcome to paradise.
I take off my clothes and look at the sea as if it were the most precious gift. Today her smooth salt invitation feels like I am going to make love with a virgin.
Suddenly I realize I am perfectly OK with a 1,5-meter distance policy on beaches. Everything that will make people realize and remember that nature had her biggest reset in history. It also will prevent beaches from being overcrowded.
Why not make going to the beach like going to church. A meditation, giving it a holy essence. In fact, why not right away make any contact with nature a respectful, humbling experience. Done in silence and prayer for all this abundant beauty that we have been neglecting and abusing for so long, in our old normal. That’s a new normal I can perfectly live with.
Just one thing. Spanish Government, please stop bleaching the beaches.
3. We will respect more and understand better where everybody is at in their process
After my (sports) swim, I relax on the beach. The man with the white mask in his car appears in my mind. He feels galaxies apart. When will he be able to relax, connect with nature and beauty without fear? When will he feel safe enough to take his protection of and smell fresh healthy air, breathing his fear out?
Whether wearing a mouth cap in your own closed car is really a wise thing to do or not doesn’t feel relevant. Many people in the shops wear them, but it’s no longer obligatory. I respect the people who do, as long they respect my way and personal belief on health and protection.
When I feel into the world of the man in the car, I sense two things. He might be still very scared of catching the virus, or he is convinced he is still saving lives. The first choice is personal, the second choice is noble. I salute him for both. I realize he is a unique human being and I respect his choices.
That feels much better than to ridicule him or making him less a human than me because he doubts what I believe is true and that’s a threat to me, so I need to defend myself by attacking his beliefs and his truth.
What I have learned from the past period in regards to the new normal is this
Regardless what I belief, regardless of my own truth, I know that millions of people have been facing their deepest fears. I will respect them where they are at in their process of coping with fundamental changes in society.
I hope the new normal will establish or can sustain that we are all in this together sentiment rather than more social, racial, political or any separation or division for that matter. I know we’ll need to stretch our compassion muscle for that:
4. We have a different outlook on mindless consuming
The other day I saw an inspiring Corona Meme.
When we are faced with things around us that are close to absurdity or unleash unbound fear, laughter is a great way of releasing that build up tension. Memes put things in perspective, how crazy they look from the outside. In fact, the crazier, the better, and the stronger the release. Remember: Laughter is the best medicine.
The meme reminded us that the Corona Crisis made us all go back to an essential economy. And because of this, apparently, the economy is crashing. The meme showed me that 80% of what is produced can be left out, and when that happens, this economy goes down the drain.
It reminds us we live in an economy with an artificially created hunger for products, for overconsuming, for overeating, for numbing ourselves out with ‘stuff’ and addictions.
Almost half of the world’s food production is thrown away. Let that sink in for a moment. In what kind of world we were actually living?
Do you like to go on with working to pay off debts and consume? What has this crisis taught you about what you really need? What are your essentials? Can you let go of a certain lifestyle that won’t be sustainable anymore?
I have gone to this process myself too, I have asked myself these questions too. I am ready to let go of my ‘stuff’ and travel light in the times ahead.
When the new normal will be a normal of essential consumption, humanity makes a huge step towards more equality, using the earth’s resources in a more sustainable way, and letting the plague of mass consumerism die with the virus altogether.
This won’t manifest directly in our new normal, I am not that naive. Many will grab on to materialistic security again, and even stronger than before. On the other hand, millions of people just had the biggest wake-up call in their lives.
We experienced en masse what it means to live an essential lifestyle, a possible blueprint for a more sustainable way of living.
Millions experienced what it means to use less, buying only essentials for 2 months, like food, water, cleaning stuff, and maybe some medicine.
This Crisis was the once in a lifetime chance for breaking the habit pattern of mindless shopping and taking care of your soul first.
5. We don’t take our securities for granted anymore
The carpet under our comfortable lives has been brutally swept away under our feet. The building of our core fundamentals and beliefs has come down. For most of us, the steady train of our careers, work, and social life has come to a sudden stop.
And I could go on.
The bottom line is this irreversible reset of our social fabric, economic securities, democratic framework, and even our approach to our own health and what is actually healthy.
The initial impulse for many, maybe for you too, will be to pick up life where you left it. But what is really left? This question will be different for each and every individual.
For a minority of us, the ones that still have their job and probably are doing essential work, nothing much has changed. Construction builders, garbage collectors, nurses and doctors, cleaners, and everybody that worked from home and still has clients. I am aware I leave many others out there.
Coaches, psychotherapists, and healers or everybody that supports the mental health of others might get busy soon. The cornerstones of many people’s lives suddenly broke apart. When people lack any social, financial, or mental safety net, they suddenly find themselves thrown out of the plane of their old life, and now they are on a crash course of hitting rock hard bottom.
Even when you have managed to open your parachute, you have savings, still a job, a great social supportive network, great health and inborn positivism, that all won’t guarantee a save soft landing in a new normal.
This is because of the massive imprint we all just got. Even the people in Sweden, Belarus, Iceland, or Taiwan, the countries that had a mild lockdown.
All of humanity.
The imprint that life as we know it, all the securities we build up, can be taken away again in an instant.
So what kind of positive new normal ever can come out of that?
The possibility to build a new normal together that is based on that new truth. Because that new reality will be more real when we accept life to be mortal, as it always has been. When we dis attach more from material security. When we learn to focus more on our own essentials, live more in the moment, do what really fulfills us, and nurtures us and others.
When we collectively embrace values that never can be taken away by any threat, any virus, anything that stops life on the outside.
Build your new normal on what you know deep in your heart, instead of what you fear.