The last year has been challenging for all of us. But it was challenging in different ways. For those of us leaning into fear, it created more fear. For those of use trying to live life mostly with courage, it generated frustration (because we had to obey to a fear-leaning majority) and it fueled change.
I’m not part of the fear-leaning current – but I’m not making a big fuss about it. I don’t believe that fear, as the primary reaction to the challenges that the world is creating for us, is inherently flawed. I also don’t think courage is the only way to approach life, every single time. It all has to be decided based on the context – when you choose fear, and when you choose courage – and it just so happen that in this specific situation – and I’m talking about the planetary masquerade called “Covid” – the most rewarding way is to not give in to fear.
So, if during last year you’ve been part of the courage-leaning current, you’ve probably experienced frustration and, as a result, you started some big changes in your life. Being confined at home or denied the right to travel, you probably had to make some hard choices and moved forward. Watching how people around you did not only accept inconceivable limitations of their rights in the name of an illusory safety (in front of a real, but very elusive, danger), but even begged for an Orwellian surveillance state, must have driven you crazy. And you reacted. I know I did. I decided to move in a different country and I’m in the middle of this process.
Some parts of this process are easier than others – to put it mildly. On top of the current state-enforced restrictions, there is also people’s reluctance and fear, and all processes are slowed down because of that. Nothing works as expected, from traveling from one country to another, up to finding a new apartment.
But today, something good happened. After a day filled with challenges, friction and stress, I had an unexpectedly good evening. Nothing spectacular, just a couple of craft beers on a secluded esplanada in Lisbon, meeting a couple of new people, connecting without effort and without expectations, and, overall, just feeling ok. That feeling of familiarity, of trust, of cohesion. Small talk. Jokes. Laughs. Connection.
And that’s what I call “the center”. The space in which you feel balanced. In which you feel accepted. In which you don’t fear challenges, not because you’re in a safe place, shielded and convinced they won’t occur, but because you know you’ll find a way through if they will arise.
Like anyone else, I sometimes lose this center. I sometimes follow the tides, just because I don’t have other option. But I always yearn to go back, to reconnect to that area inside me in which everything falls into places. Every time the wave of change pushes me around, I am craving this space in which I trust every outcome. Not because I’m omnipotent, but because I know I’ll be ok even if I lose.
Sometimes, finding your center is just a question of sitting still. Of not giving in to any stimuli. Of just watching the storm passing by, even if the storm lasts a year, or more. Let the wind blow, let the hurricane play its game, let the tornadoes clean everything, and then start rebuilding. With calm, with trust, with acceptance.