Embracing the Obstacle

The strength of a tree lies in its ability to bend.” – Zen Proverb

The other day my two-year-old found a Q-tip and he picked it up and started to swab the inside of his nostril. I know that kids frequently put things up their noses. After all, I wrote about the funny time my daughter put popcorn up her nose and I had to lay her on the floor, plug her other nostril and blow into her mouth. And then my toddler thought it looked like so much fun, he lined up next to her for his turn. 😊

But back to the nose swab, I’m sure it isn’t just a kid putting things up his nose – it’s all about COVID. As I was telling him not to do that, it reminded me of all that is driving me crazy. And also of the wisdom of embracing the obstacles in front our of ourselves that are our teachers.

I think the last two weeks might have been the most uncomfortable weeks of this pandemic for me. With the surging numbers that are off the charts, the constancy of COVID on the news, and with everything open so we are trying to live more or less as if its business as usual, it has brought so many decisions to my door. Trying to make friends with my experience, I am attempting to lean in to listen to all the things my discomfort is teaching me.

Uncertainty. Right now, when I am incredibly uncertain if I can schedule meetings and work because school or daycare could be cancelled, I accept that certainty has always been a mirage.  Uncertainty makes me feel disoriented but I’m coming to realize that the cure is not grabbing for more certainty but instead bending my knees as if I’m learning to surf.

Responsibility. My awareness of my responsibility to fellow humans has never been so heightened. In this era of contagion, it’s so obvious that we can spread love and light as well as disease. Smiling, laughing and joy are so infectious, especially when we are in the throes of a major surge. And learning the integrity of keeping my kids home from school, testing them, cancelling things myself when needed has been a huge takeaway for me.

Flexibility. This coming weekend we had two big things planned – a kids birthday party and a sleepover at Nana. Both had to be changed because of COVID and then all the other plans we had for the holiday weekend rearranged around them.  And it worked because everyone else is flexible too. I’m learning to accept that if they have to shift again, that too will also be fine.

 I look at what I’ve written and it’s a lot of “trying” and “accepting” and “learning.” It’s all so uncomfortable – kinda like putting a swab up your nose. Which, unlike my toddler and regardless of this attempt to embrace the obstacle, I will never do for fun!

Photo of the week: Nov 13

Covid has brought us closer together with our neighbors. There are 10 kids on the block under age 8, median age 4-years-old and they’ve found a rhythm of playing in each others yards or in this case, when it was raining, in my garage. I know that the lasting effects of this pandemic have yet to be seen in full but locally, I love how these kids have bonded. When everything shut down, they all become less “scheduled” and have learned the art of old-fashioned play.