The beginning of our Coronavirus Quarantine was like any beginning—new, fresh and kind of exciting. The actual threat level was not certain and most were equating the Coronavirus to the flu and thus nothing to really worry about. Everyone was setting out to be very productive and use this time under quarantine wisely. Once the death rate began to rise rapidly and our quarantine was extended, we then journeyed past the ‘new’ phase and entered into a transitional phase—a transition towards a new normal where we all figure out how to live life, but confined to our homes. The transition phase is where I felt a collective wave of fear and sadness creep in as we all attempted—however awkwardly—to posture ourselves inside of the unknown. I’m sure it was a different experience for us all. For me, it was that I had enough time on my hands to allow painful memories to resurface. I think generally we all just had a lot of time on our hands to live in our head and get into our feelings. As our lives slowed down our truths finally had time to catch up with us.
Who knows where we are now on the Coronavirus timeline, but notably, Easter Sunday passed and there were earthquakes, storms and tornado’s all over the US. For me, that was a signal that we still, collectively, need to pay attention and listen because whatever is baking hasn’t finished cooking yet.
Starting is easy, but finishing is hard. This quarantine is done being new, but the current events signal that there is still more to lean into and now is not the time to stop leaning in.
here are a few things that I am leaning into:
Be a Leader
Last week I was working as an essential worker with the local school district. We were handing out food to families in need in three teams on one school campus, as were thousands of other volunteer-employees at schools all over Los Angeles County. In these types of settings there’s always room for work environments to become tense and for personalities to clash, just like many everyday working environments, but this wasn’t the case. My team in particular was effective, efficient, trusting of one another, great communicators, hard working and even funny at times. There were very strong leaders in my group that set the tone for everyone who entered into our workspace to meet us at the same level or transition into the culture we’d created. And because we did periodically receive new workers throughout the week I did witness individuals transition into our team culture, some initially being guarded and eventually getting involved and being a team player.
When the culture is elevated, it is easy to be elevated ones self because elevated is the status quo, its ‘IN’, its hip, but what about when the culture of an environment is not elevated? Do you sink low like everyone else? Being in this environment made this question come to mind: Are you a good leader or do you just go with the flow? In either direction?
There’s a shadow self that shows up in us, that lacks compassion for others in ways that we feel it was not given to us in the past. We withhold love from one another—yes out of hurt or a fear of not getting it back in return but mostly because even before that we weren’t completely happy to begin with. We lack regard for others in ways that doing so in the past left us burned. And in a nutshell you end up choosing who you will be based on the behaviors of others.
We cant allow our past hurts or the brokenness of others determine who we will be. If we do, we loose ourselves and our true essence—we have to choose to be who we really are regardless.
To be sure, who you are is not a people pleaser, or a door mat. In addition, being a good and influential leader is not a matter appearances, is not motivated by ego or a matter of getting a particular response in return, this is not leadership but manipulation.
I would never encourage that we rise above at the expense of our own self-respect, but a ton of this is a matter of perspective. The higher you elevate, the more you are capable of overlooking grievances and/or handling them with love. Rising above and setting the standard is a matter of standing up and expressing how you feel about yourself.
The shadow self is the remnants of broken pieces that we never cleaned up from past conflict and pain and is ultimately unforgiveness.
Forgiveness sets you free emotionally;
When people show us who they truly are, we should believe them and not distort the truth to our own disdain.
Forgiveness, however, allows us to do so with love in mind—so that we don’t have any negative feelings harboring inside of us directed towards another, and have the capacity to wish others well and even help them progress if it fits, while they simultaneously remain outside of our lives maintained by firm boundaries.
Because nobody is perfect and we are all worthy of forgiveness, but that doesn’t mean that we are to be foolish and ignore the facts.
How we get rid of this negative energy field of unforgiveness is through prayer. Praying for an enemy or someone you don’t like sounds counter intuitive, but praying brings closure, revelation and healing. Pray for the person that hurt your or any relationship you need insight and closure for and do so intentionally, not for revelation as much as to draw close to God and become more like Him/Her, which will result in more peace + alignment in life. The revelation will come too.
A pathway towards forgiveness is empathy. Empathy is putting ones self in the shoes of another. The story of Christ is a story of empathy. That He put himself in our human shoes, and suffered in a human body on behalf of us, so that we did not have to suffer anymore through a relationship with him.
When we empathize with others, we are putting ourselves in their shoes so that they do not have to suffer, had we not. Erring on the side of empathy is in our own benefit as well, because there is always room to misinterpret others based on our own biases or insecurity.
His mercies never come to an end, they are new each morningLamentations 22-23
This week while working, we had more new staff join us. One staff member, I had a tense interaction with on a campus site a couple of years ago. During this interaction they were in a position of power and I was a subordinate. When I saw them on this day, it was the opposite, I was in a position of power and they were the subordinate. They noticed me before I noticed them, but I didn’t even indulge the experience we had years ago, once I remembered them I treated them as if it was our first meeting and set the tone for the day in my position as a leader.
Just as His mercies are new each morning, we have a new opportunity to be new ourselves each day and to give others the opportunity to be new and give our relationships opportunities to be new.
There’s no need to draw anything out either, or wait for the perfect moment to be new, once you receive a new revelation, act on it, change in a moment. Just like that quote that you see all over social media says ‘You are under no obligation to be the same person you were 30 minutes ago’
I’ve been moving away from categorizing achieving certain goals and miles stones as some sort of miracle and I have been moving towards inviting this word and what it insinuates, into my everyday life; which is far more challenging truly. Instead of tossing away personal responsibility for creating our own joy and placing that expectation on a dream to attain someday in the future–on your behalf, you have to change your life today. Turning on an inspirational podcast or stepping into a church is one thing, but hearing from God yourself means changing your life.
While we have the ability to invite miracles into our lives everyday through our own habits and a renewed perspective, we also have the ability to create miracles in our own lives by being a miracle to someone else. That’s doesn’t have to mean giving someone a mansion or a million dollars, giving someone empathy or forgiveness is to be a miracle in the life of another. People are so grateful when you give them the room they need to be a new person or to be the new person that they are becoming.
Arise , shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon youIsaiah 60:1
May the light that Christ can shine within your soul allow you to be a miracle in the life of others and perceive miracles in the day to day.