Today is January 11, 2021. On January 11, 2020, the first death from the novel coronavirus identified in Wuhan, China, was reported to the world. In the US especially, we were ignorant of how intimately connected we would become to this story, and the growing collection of remembered lives lost to the virus, both directly and indirectly. On January 11, 2020, that story was buried under our more pressing issues. Our conflict with Iran appeared to be escalating, and domestically, we were moving impeachment from the house to the senate, another earthquake had rocked Puerto Rico, and the ousted Boeing CEO was collecting 62 million as a parting gift. It would be weeks and months before the resounding Covid alarm would be heard across the world, and as Covid-19 revealed its immense power, our concept of “the truth” began misfiring with wild abandon as fear encroached on our thoughts and plans. Understandably, our lives were being altered by something out of our control that we knew very little about, but the varied directions we took in our attempts to “handle” the situation are endless.
It’s hard to imagine a time where we weren’t keenly aware of the devastation that a pandemic could inflict on the world’s population. Remember when it seemed preposterous that most Americans would be wearing masks for protection against it? Or that schools would shut down? Or that we would personally know anyone affected? Some people were eager to abide by recommended guidelines and some people felt a more deeply-invasive issue around their personal rights and freedoms being challenged, and even stolen, from them.
What a difference a year can make, and 2020 was a doozy! As we closed the book on 2020, I could only marvel at the staggering amount of information we have collectively taken in during the past year. “Fake News” and “Truth” about everything from the origins and effects of Covid-19 to the government’s secret communications with aliens were inextricably conflated, and most of us probably feel like we are among the only ones receiving “true” information because we have vetted our sources and we trust them.
At this point in history, we can’t agree on whether this virus is mostly airborne or transferred through surfaces and attempts to put guidelines in place for everyone are met with varying reactions from compliance to being ready to tear down the existing structure and start anew. It appears that “truth” has become rooted in individual ideologies and propagated from the algorithms that “feed” our information, and while I’m sure we will never agree about exactly where and when we veered so far off course, I don’t believe it is hard to agree that we have done just that.
January 6, 2021, marked both an end and a beginning. It will be days and weeks, maybe months, before we understand the full scope of what all transpired and my heart is heavy with the anger and frustration that forged these “plans”, and even more so, the anger and frustration produced by the frenzy the “plans” stirred up. Humanity is hurting in many obvious ways in nearly every part of our globe. We also each suffer our own personal pain, no matter how incredible our lives may appear from the outside. No matter what we believe, humans are being torn apart at our very fiber, but our incredible capacity for healing remains intact, if hidden.
It’s time to dig deep, if you are able. It’s time for those who can, to find the depth of compassion for our fellow man, in order to support the shift from ego-based thinking to working conflict from a more soulful space. We will probably never agree on what is “reality” and what is “truth”, but if we can breathe around the differences, however extreme, we will find a way to transform our communication into something more productive. This will take the time and patience of people who can practice rising above the discord. Very few of us spend time recognizing that ignorance is a fantastic opportunity for teaching and learning. We are conditioned to react with shame and blame, beginning with our own. Once you recognize ignorance for what it is, “knowing better and doing better” becomes a natural process and a massive step towards healing. For the next few weeks, as the dust settles and bits of “truth” emerge, keep in mind that there is tremendous power in listening, as we transform our own ignorance into knowledge.