A blank page or canvas doesn’t always feels so good. It could be exciting if you were already itching for a fresh start and knew exactly what you wanted to place upon it, but when you have fear – about where to begin, about not being good enough, about the future – a large blank space can appear to be a frightening void. Instead of seeing all the possibilities, you see all that could go wrong. Quarantine can feel that way as we navigate uncertainty and try to plan for the future.
I was recently reminded me that we all have false illusions of security. There are times when we feel more secure and imagine we know what to expect. But in fact we don’t actually know what’s to come. At any time, anything could happen and change our plans.
This is a very real experience lately, as we don’t know what to expect in the world around us. I feel this way when I think ahead to future art festivals. I spend my year making art and preparing that artwork to be shown and sold at shows. I create deadlines for completion based on when I need to be at a certain festival. Without the certainty of when future shows will be or even IF they will happen, I have been at a loss for how to plan.
Something I learned from working with those in recovery from addictions is to focus on doing things one day at a time. I find this approach especially helpful when I don’t know what’s next for me. What can I do today that I know will be good for my business and myself? I can paint (I know that will be a part of me, no matter what). I can eat well and exercise – I know this keeps me healthy and I need my health to accomplish anything. I can remember my most basic needs that need to be met – am I hungry? Am I sad? Do I need to talk to a friend? And then there is faith. Faith that you do your part and the rest will follow – good things will come and you will be provided for. But there’s work – always – to be done. Even self-care takes work. And right now, I feel like my work – our work, is changing.
As we go through this uncertain time, we have to change our approach. There is an adjustment period that comes with all change, so it’s understandable that some days we feel low and in a funk. But I believe in order to successfully get through this we have to change how we live a little. This situation has changed how we live, so we have to change too! Those changes will look different for everyone, but I know we will all probably have to feel some sort of acceptance of our current situation before we can begin to think about how we will choose to continue. We may have to change how we earn income, how we socialize, how we grieve and care for those who are sick, how we plan and how we find peace.
A lot of good can come from change.
A lot of stress can come from change.
We need each other.
We need distance.
We must keep going.
We can’t keep going the same way.
We have to let go of some plans.
We have to hold onto hope.
How we see ourselves, each other, and the world around us will change how we react to what’s happening. Let us all take a moment and think about how we want to live now. How we’ll treat each other, how we’ll take care of ourselves and families, how we’ll take care of our need for friendship and community, how we’ll keep hoping for good things in the future and gratitude for the good things we have in our hands right now.
Stay well friends and do something today to remember the beauty and goodness that exists in your life.