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What are you doing to deal with the complete shift in your norm?

How are you managing the spread of fear in your house?  And who are you connecting with that you normally don't?

I am now going into the second week of having everyone in my family at home together in the house.  We have started homeschooling David with morning online course work from the school and afternoon course work from workbooks purchased at Barnes & Noble.  Nearly daily Stefania and I have started running and/or going on walks in the park to get outside.  I have called, text, and emailed more people more often than I have in years.  I started to be more forgiving of people and recognize how fragile life is.  And I have started to formulate new plans for our future that include complete shifts in the direction of our path.  All this has been inspired by a global pandemic that's changing our lives as we know it.

*Speaking of walks in the park and going outside, I made this video with the family and talked about this virus with David.  We remained quarantined in our car and isolated from others, but we feel more connected than ever (watch here).

Now I will admit that it's not all roses around here.  I have gotten generally stir crazy on several occasions.  The number of random conspiracies on this stuff that my brain has been running through has been much higher than usual.  Is this a bio-engineered weapon?  Are we moving closer to a global government?  Are they going to ever let us out of this quarantine without chips in our hands and vaccine tattoos on our arms?  All thoughts that I have had to talk myself down from.  Literally, I have had to use the techniques of A) turning off the TV and B) calling rational friends that know how to speak common sense and turn down the fear factor.  And, in some cases, I have asked people to put a pause on the entertaining anxiety fuel paranoid theories because, in all truth, they don't help us get through what's happening now.  What helps is taking it one day at a time, focusing on what you can control and letting go of the rest. In closing, a couple of things that I think can help us connect, reduce fear, and unite:

  • Empathy ~ we are more aware of the suffering of the world now, but there is always suffering just under the surface of any human and empathy is a powerful tool to help reduce some of that suffering.  It also does wonders for developing a deeper connection with people.  It basically is reflecting back at people their emotions.  Simple statements like, "it seems like you are feeling [add observed emotion here]" then listen for a response.  This can do wonders for helping people feel heard and building a safe environment to share more.

  • Respect ~ A wise man once said, we seldom understand those whom we don't understand. The challenge we have is wanting to understand.  It is far easier, and far more destructive, to just be a cynical judge of other people's opinions rather than an objective listener.  However, if you apply the tool of empathy above to any conversation with someone you don't understand, you will by default show respect and more often than not begin to understand them better as they share more.

  • Be Positive ~ Be positive about all this stuff.  We're in it together and what better thing to remember and be reminded of than knowing you are not alone. 

Let's not be separate in our separation, instead, let us congregate in our isolation.

Thanks for reading!

Barry Walton


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